I did not have the full experience that others report, but it was definitely a life changing event for me. I was in grave condition. In hindsight, I know now that a ruptured cyst caused an artery or vein to rupture and that I was slowly bleeding to death. Due to the abusive living situation I was in at the time, I did not get medical treatment until about ten hours after the cyst had ruptured. By that time, the pressure of the blood was putting pressure on my lungs and I could barely breathe. I had very little blood and almost no blood pressure and they had an extremely difficult time finding my vein to get an IV going. The thing that stands out is that I was keenly aware of my grave situation and was told point-blank that I may die. While I was in the emergency room, they assumed I had an ectopic pregnancy, but later learned otherwise.
During this all, I was calm and felt very much at peace. In the elevator on the way to the operating room, a priest was saying prayers that I did not understand because I was not, and am not, religious. But I took comfort in his presence and knew that what he was doing was right and good and that I was safe. Once in the operating room, I didn't come out of my body, but I'm told that I was barely conscious. Even so, I remember the details in the minute or so in the operating room with vivid clarity. I could see the doctor on one side of me holding a knife or scalpel. I could see and hear all of the other people and all of the commotion going on around me. I'm told that I wasn't conscious during this time, but I remember it clearly. Then, the doctor/surgeon apologized to me. He said, 'I'm sorry honey, but I have to do this.' I'm told that because of my condition, they were having difficulty getting the IV for the anesthesia started and I was going into cardiac arrest. The doctor started to operate on me before I was under anesthesia. For a few seconds, I could feel the doctor cutting me. It was an incredibly hot, hot feeling. I was aware of what was going on. I could feel the doctor cutting me, but I could not communicate this with anyone. I could not speak and I could not open my eyes or move. I'm told that that probably was the anesthesia starting to work.
Anyway, the next thing I knew, I was waking up and I had this incredible need to write down all these images and voices and feelings that I had had. I spoke to the doctor and one of the nurses who were in the operating room and they confirmed some of the events that were so vivid to me. I don't believe that this was a NDE like others report, but if there is a 'pre' stage; I think I was in it. I was hyper-aware and sensitive, and just felt this overwhelming peace. For many months after this event, I felt 'different'. I felt a gratitude and 'knowing' that I cannot explain. I had a strong sense that I was spared for a purpose. Unfortunately, I was drinking heavily and after a few months, my whole life was a haze because of my drinking. I am currently sober, have been for four years, and look back at this experience and believe that it was the first of many chances I was given to make a footprint on this earth before I leave it. I no longer fear death, but I do regret that after this experience twenty years ago, I did not immediately 'get it'. But, that's what addiction does - robs you of all your best intentions - among other things.
Date NDE Occurred: March 1991
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Unusual corpus ludeum cyst on my ovary - ruptured a blood vessel and I was bleeding to death 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death'
I had bled out almost everything and was in shock. I had been asked if I wanted a priest present and said yes because I had a sense that I was dying. The priest rode in the elevator with me and the nurse when they transported me from the emergency room to the operating room.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Mixed
Did you feel separated from your body? Uncertain
How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal everyday consciousness and alertness? More consciousness and alertness than normal As above.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? At the time when I was told I was actually unconscious. When I went into cardiac arrest.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Incredibly fast
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I saw everything all at once, but with so much detail and clarity.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? Yes, and the facts have been checked out
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? A light clearly of mystical or other-worldly origin
Did you see an unearthly light? No
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Calm, at peace, no fear.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Relief or calmness
Did you have a feeling of joy? incredible joy
Did you feel a sense of harmony or unity with the universe? I felt united or one with the world
The experience included: Special Knowledge
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future
Did you come to a border or point of no return? I came to a barrier that I was not permitted to cross; or was sent back against my will
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What was your religion prior to your experience? Liberal 'No real 'religion' at the time, although I was struggling with 'is there a God?' My life at the time was particularly violent and stressful and I was struggling with addiction and physical and emotional abuse and I was wondering if there really was a God, why was there so much pain in the world and in my life.'
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Uncertain They did briefly right after the experience. My beliefs and practices remained dormant for almost twenty years after, though, as I struggled with alcoholism. I am newly 'spiritual', not religious. I believe in heaven and have faith in a higher power, but can't say exactly how I define God.
What is your religion now? Liberal 'I am still exploring. I can say that I absolutely have faith in a higher power, but I do no subscribe to a particular religion. I have a strong desire to learn more about Eastern religion and I can't say why. I feel drawn to earth and animals, and colors, and just have 'feelings' that I can't put words to. The little bit I know about Buddhism is very appealing and I am searching for more info, more answers'
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Uncertain They did briefly right after the experience. My beliefs and practices remained dormant for almost twenty years after, though, as I struggled with alcoholism. I am newly 'spiritual', not religious. I believe in heaven and have faith in a higher power, but can't say exactly how I define God.
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? I encountered a definite being, or a voice clearly of mystical or unearthly origin
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I actually saw them
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Yes Immediately upon awakening I had this urgent need to write down and share this experience and feeling with others. It was hard to put words to, but I knew that it was important. I was told that not only my recovery was remarkable, but also how quickly I 'came to' and had all my mental capacities was pretty remarkable according to the medical staff. I've had many surgeries in my life and there's usually a good half day period where you're groggy, sleepy. I woke up from this experience and was mentally sharp and focused and began writing.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Uncertain As I mentioned, I am newly sober. My whole life, relationships, has been and continues to change in sobriety.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No When I came to, I just HAD to communicate it all. I was afraid I'd forget it. My bedside table had a box of tissue and I started writing on the box. I wrote on anything I could get my hands on for the first couple hours after I came to.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? No
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Just the sense that death is not scary. I had always feared death and imagined it to be painful and traumatic. But, this experience just gave me a 'knowing' that it is peaceful, and happy, and calm and not scary at all.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I shared it with whomever would listen for several months following the event. Then, due to my decline due to alcoholism, I was ashamed to share it. It felt like I had blown the opportunity God had given me to make a difference, like I had let God down. This is the first time I've shared this again in almost twenty years.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I had read one book by John Edwards. I think it was called 'Crossing Over'.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I had no doubt that it was real. And, others collaborated the stuff that I was aware of, even though I had lost consciousness.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real It was real. As I am now twenty years older and am experiencing the death of close friends and relatives, I find comfort in my past experience. Again, I don't claim to have had a full-fledged NDE, but I was in a place that was very close, I believe.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Uncertain I can put myself into a state of 'sleep' where I'm dreaming yet still aware of what is going on in the present. It's weird and people think I'm crazy when I tell them about it.