I had been depressed most of my life, but my parents did not recognize it. They had three other children besides myself to take care of and they themselves were depressed and sad people. A dearly loved boyfriend had just broken up with me. I was hundreds of miles from any family and felt more alone and desperate than I had ever felt in my life. I felt like I had nowhere to go and no one to turn to. I had always been a loner and did not cultivate friendships easily. I decided that suicide was the only way out of my pain. I stole a full bottle of pills out of an acquaintance's medicine cabinet and checked into a motel. I paid for a three days stay and asked not to be disturbed while I was there. I remember going to the room, getting undressed, taking the whole bottle of pills, and lying down on the bed. The next thing I remember is that the phone rang. I answered it and it was the hotel desk asking if I wanted to stay longer. I said I'd paid and asked not to be disturbed for three days. The clerk said it had been three days. I said okay and that I would stay another day. I hung up the phone, sat back, and the NDE experience came flooding back to me.
The NDE experience was this:
My first experience was that I was traveling at a very, very high speed through a narrow, dark tunnel. Somehow, I knew that I was free of my body. I was also free of the crushing depression and sadness I had always felt. It felt so wonderful! As I'm traveling through the tunnel, I became aware of a tiny bright spot ahead in the distance and slightly above me. The light got bigger and bigger, and I felt myself getting warmer and warmer. At some point, I became aware of an intense feeling of being loved. It was a feeling I had never, ever felt before. I was loved, adored, and cherished. As I continue down the tunnel, I feel like I am part of this love myself, like it is me and I am it. Then I was told or I had the very clear thought, "And it is ALWAYS there, it is ALWAYS there." I also distinctly remember having the thought that no one religion on earth could possibly encompass this. The Love was so much bigger than anything humans could invent. Then I was told that I had to go back, so I turned around very reluctantly. I do remember not wanting to leave The Love. That was when I heard the phone rang from the motel office.
Moments after hanging up the phone, I realized that I had changed profoundly from this experience. I had no idea what had happened to me and I had never heard of an NDE. I just knew that I needed to pull myself together and live my life. In the years since then, I did just that. I joined the Navy, got an education, had a very fulfilling 32-year career as a court reporter, and recently retired. Although I always assumed that I'd marry and have a family, I remained a loner. I never did meet the right person to share my life with, although I have had several fulfilling romantic relationships; at this point I have lived alone for the past 23 years.
I voraciously look for books of other peoples' NDEs. I am amazed and validated by the basic similarities of our experiences. I am so grateful for my experience. The experience saved my life, and it made me understand that there is a specific and important reason that we come to be human. Whether we incarnate on earth just once or, as I have come to believe, many, many times. I have never felt The Love since my NDE, but intellectually I know it's there ALWAYS. That is enough for me. I have never been as depressed and sad in my life as before the NDE. I feel that my NDE has been the sole reason I have gone on to live a happy, fulfilling life with loving family and friends.
Date NDE Occurred: 4-20-1974 approximately
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Uncertain Suicide attempt. Other Took overdose of pills, checked into hotel with instructions not to disturb for 3 days. I assume that this was a life-threatening overdose.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? No.
I clearly left my body and existed outside it
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. No sensation of body or emotional weight, freedom, greater understanding of The Whole.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Traveling through the tunnel
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning.
I was not aware of any passage of time at all
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. With shedding the body, I felt that EVERYTHING was clearer.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I don't remember hearing anything, just knowing.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
The experience included: Tunnel
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Yes
Did you see any beings in your experience? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
The experience included: Darkness
The experience included: Unearthly light
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? Yes The light I saw started out like a pinprick and got to a point where it was all I saw, along with the feeling of being incredibly loved.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? LoveloveloveloveLOVELOVELOVE
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
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
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe. When I was fully in The Love, I had the feeling of understanding everything and our individual part of the Whole and that the Whole was bigger than humans can grasp and no religion can encompass.
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Yes At some point when I was totally in The Love, I knew I couldn't go any further. But it was a thought, not a thing or a command.
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 importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Not important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Unaffiliated- Agnostic. I had been raised loosely Christian but had never really believed in it literally and had not been to a church since childhood.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Unaffiliated- Nothing in particular- Secular unaffiliated. Since my NDE, I have come to understand that there is a bit of truth in all faiths to the extent that religions are an attempt to know and understand and feel connected to a higher power. I am frustrated and stay away from organized religion altogether because they all seem so controlling and restrictive and insist that theirs is the whole and only truth, which I know is untrue.
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was entirely not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience. Previous to the NDE, I had only been exposed to traditional Christian beliefs, which I had rejected the literal truth of but had not replaced with any other spiritual beliefs; in other words, I rejected the belief in the need for humankind to be 'saved,' that Jesus was that savior, and that the person Jesus was literally the Son of God, virgin birth, etc.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? No
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any beings who previously lived on earth who are described by name in religions (for example: Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, etc.)? No
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? No
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes Don't know how I knew, but it was very clear to me that EVERYTHING, not just EVERYONE, is related somehow and that everything is necessarily part of the Whole.
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? I was uncertain if God exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Yes I definitely knew that The Love is God.
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God definitely exists
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Yes I have explained this the best I could through this questionnaire elsewhere.
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are not meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? No
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? I was uncertain if an afterlife exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists. Don't know how I knew, but I was definitely aware that I couldn't go further YET.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I greatly feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Slightly fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Not fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are not meaningful and significant
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Are meaningful and significant
Did you gain information about how to live our lives? No
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? Yes That everything is related, necessary, and part of the Whole.
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Slightly compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes. The experience was love. I don't know how else to describe or elaborate. It was like nothing I've experienced before or since.
Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Large changes in my life. There is a specific and unutterably, important reason I am here living this life right now and because I am still here, my purpose has not been fulfilled yet. When it has, I will leave. Suicide is not an option.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I was twenty years old, so it's hard to quantify whether maturity and/or life experience in general have changed my relationships. I am still far more comfortable alone. But I think I am a far less self-centered, and more loving, giving, and tolerant person than I was then. I attribute this change to experiencing being in The Love.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes It's impossible to express the unity I felt in The Love.
How accurately do you remember the experience in comparison to other life events that occurred around the time of the experience? I remember the experience more accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of the experience The quality of my NDE is unlike anything I have ever experienced before. It was NOT a dream or daydream. I remember it as vividly today, nearly 43 years later, as I did on the day it happened. And am extremely grateful for the gift even though I do not understand why I got that gift.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? No
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Many years, probably 25 years after was the first time I voiced it to my mother. I think she believed that I believed it but she was skeptical.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? No
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind of the reality of my experience to me! It was profound and changed me forever.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. It was the single most important thing that's ever happened to me.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? Don't think so. Thank you for the opportunity to document this. I am hopeful I can print this questionnaire and my answers out to keep with my important papers for my siblings and other relatives because they have no idea of my experience.