I inherited horrible genes for teeth from both parents. I have a small jaw, combined with unusually large teeth. In addition, my natural jaw and tooth alignment was very crooked. Once my adult teeth came in, I needed braces and also had to have a procedure done to partially correct my misalignment of the upper and lower jaws and teeth. Prior to this treatment, I could not eat anything that involved biting into something and pulling the food away, like sandwiches, toast or bread, hot dogs, and etc. Food would slide out of my mouth because my upper teeth did not touch my lower teeth when my mouth was closed. I also had a severe overbite/underbite situation as well. I was always terrified of dentists because my small jaw size meant that many of my adult teeth had to be pulled as soon as they came in. Additionally, a couple of the dentists I went to were not fond of children and were lacking in empathy. Every single dental appointment I had prior to leaving home as an adult, involved pain, fear, and tears; often accompanied by bullying from the dentist with phrases like 'What are you crying for? That doesn't hurt!'
On the day of my NDE, I was having the jaw and tooth realignment done. I was given laughing gas at first, and then a combination pain-killers. I fell asleep.
I 'woke up' standing barefoot in a very large, bright place. I could only see clearly in my immediate vicinity; all around me was a blurred kind of mist. It was dry, but had no substance. The mist blocked my view, and was something I could not touch. It went on as far as I could see in all directions, except up. Up above was sky. I think it was blue or blue-gold. I have an 'impression' of blue in the memory but not a clear memory of seeing actual blueness. Everything was very bright white or white-gold, like blazing sunshine right in your eyes and reflecting off everything, but not at all painful or unpleasant. I was just really, really bright.
I 'felt' like I was outdoors. I think there was short, pale-green grass underfoot. I could only see a few inches to either side of my feet, as if I were standing in a column of clear air. The bright, dry mist was everywhere else and thinned-out overhead. I STRONGLY remember the smell of wildflowers blooming. There might also have been fruit-blossom scents. There were many flowers that were lightly scented; nothing heavy. They were wonderfully fresh, clean, and sweet-smelling. There was a very light breeze, and I remember being absolutely comfortable. There was no sense of hot or cold; just a sense of my surroundings being the same temperature as me.
I don't remember silence or sound; neither seemed to be present. I remember an intense feeling of peace, joy, and release. This is hard to express, because it was as if I had been really tense and now I didn't have to be that way anymore. There was no one nearby but I did not feel lonely or alone. Then I heard a internal voice in my head, telling me that I had to go back 'for now' as it wasn't time for me to be there yet. It was a soft, genderless, and kind voice. I had no sense of agreeing or disagreeing; I was just listening to the voice tell me that I had to go back.
Then I slowly became aware of someone urgently 'shouting' in the distance; I could hear them very faintly, and they kept repeating, 'Breathe, breathe! Come on, BREATHE!' I clearly remember being irritated at being told to breathe, and knowing with absolute certainty that I did NOT want to start breathing again. The yelling had gotten louder and louder, closer and closer but not as if someone were there and coming toward me, but rather as though I was being woken from a dream.
Then the bright place faded and I woke up to my dentist leaning over me. His face was pure white, and there were two to four shadowy figures around the edges of the room. It wasn't clear if they were real people or something else. There was also a big, hissing oxygen container by my head. There were at least two other 'real' people in the room who were helping to resuscitate me but I don't know if they were emergency personnel or just other nurses/doctors. I remember being confused and wondering why my dentist seemed concerned now, when my last memory was of him being crabby. I have a very vague memory of the staff smoothing over something with my mother but I do not know if this actually happened or is an implanted memory from hearing things being discussed. My mom's memory of the time is vague. She remembered slight complications and she did hear the raised voices but I don't think she heard the words or got more details. I do remember that parents were forbidden from coming into the room during the operation and were with us when we went from the waiting room back to the treatment rooms.
Date NDE Occurred: 1976?
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Drug or medication overdose. While under general anesthesia. CPR given Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function).
I was administered an overdose of the anesthesia medication. I stopped breathing for several minutes, had to be resuscitated; and was told it took several minutes for me to start breathing on my own again.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Both pleasant AND distressing
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes I wasn't breathing while they were yelling, so have to assume that portion of my experience was while I was elsewhere.
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. I felt hyperaware of things, as if I would be aware of everything around me if the mist wasn't blocking or buffering me. It was like the mist was protective; but like a wall is protective, not like a bodyguard is protective.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? At the very beginning, standing in the bright light.
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? No
Were your senses More vivid than usual? More vivid than usual
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. 'Here' seemed/seems 'dark' compared to there. As if there were always shadows here, but not there because the light was all-pervasive there. There was nowhere the light wasn't, so there weren't any shadows to be cast.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Doesn't apply; I don't remember sounds per se. Only the voice and that was in my head. I 'experienced' it, I didn't 'hear' it as an external thing.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere, as if by ESP? No
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No
Did you see any beings in your experience? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? An unusually bright light
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes It was bright, very bright, and white or whitegold, and in/around/part of everything. There were no shadows.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm. This answer doesn't fit but it fits better than 'No' or 'unfamiliar.' It didn't feel unfamiliar or familiar, it didn't feel strange, it just WAS. It had no negative connotations at all.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Great joy/peace/contentment/relief in the bright place. Irritation at being called 'back.' Disappointment at leaving the bright place. A great sense of peace and lessening of fear of and for the future. I feel like I know where I'm going and it's not scary.
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 no longer in conflict with nature
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? No
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
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? Other faiths- Unitarian and other liberal faiths. I believe in a higher power. I don't attend church but had done so as part of social functions. I don't believe in dogma. Stories about eternal damnation/hellfire etc. enrage me as utter nonsense used to control the masses. The power I believe in is there to assist, exists in everything, but has no overreaching impact upon my day to day life other than my trying to be a decent human being.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What is your religion now? Other faiths- Unitarian and other liberal faiths I believe in a higher power. I don't attend church but have done so as part of social functions. I don't believe in dogma. Stories about eternal damnation/hellfire etc. enrage me as utter nonsense used to control the masses. The power I believe in is there to assist, exists in everything, but has no overreaching impact upon my day to day life, other than my trying to be a decent human being.
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was both consistent and not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience. I hoped but was not convinced that there was a higher power outside ourselves, that life continued beyond this existence, and that there was some purpose to everything. I had a lot of fear around pain, death, and loss. I did not have a strong faith and was fairly agnostic. I was very cynical about some things . Afterward I still have a lot of uncertainty and worry, but I am absolutely convinced that this is not the 'only' life and that there is an overall purpose and value to life. Death is not to be feared.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I was agnostic and now I have a faith. It doesn't have a label but it's definitely a faith that I can lean on in times of need.
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. There was a voice telling me I had to go back because I wasn't supposed to be there yet. I did not see the source. But I remember the sense that the source was somewhere nearby. It was in the light, not part of the light exactly because it was separate from the light the way I was separate from the light. It was definitely an entity or something like that, it wasn't a disembodied voice, just a voice from someone I couldn't see.
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? Uncertain. If you are asking/referring to previous life memories, I did not have that. But it was as if I had been unaware of the continuity prior to the experience. During the experience everything always was/always had been. It is hard to express.
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes Absolutely exists. We're all connected and interconnected. You can only disconnect by choice, and that's only partially because you can always reconnect.
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Yes A feeling of an all-encompassing something. I call it a higher power. God/supreme being doesn't sound/feel right. It's close but not correct, if that makes any sense. There's almost a sense of humor. There is this thing, we are all part of it, and so it is amusing when we talk about it as separate to ourselves, when we are intrinsic to it.
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? No
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? Yes We're here to learn lessons, to experience things again or for the first time. We are here to teach others and to grow. We are to make progress towards unity and perfection. These words aren't exact but they are the closest I have to describe it. We made choices before we come to earth about what and how much we want to tackle. We keep trying over and over to make some progress each time.
During your experience, did you gain information about an afterlife? An afterlife definitely exists. Yes. Absolute conviction of the immortality of the consciousness/soul/individuality. Although the latter is problematic since I feel that the individual chooses individuality vs. unity. Absolute conviction of what we call 'life after death' except it's more like death doesn't even exist. It's just a transition from corporal to non-corporal. I didn't hold that conviction prior to the experience.
Did you gain information about how to live our lives? Uncertain Just that there really is a purpose for everything, even when we can't see it or know it.
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? Yes We need difficulties and we choose them. We just have to keep trying and not give up. Even if we don't succeed, we don't fail as long as we keep on trying.
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Uncertain It wasn't love by itself as a stand-alone clearly-defined item. It was just part of everything else. It was pervasive.
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Moderate changes in my life. I'm definitely kinder to people. It's easier to recognize struggles in others, even/especially others with whom I have conflict. It's very hard to be sarcastic now, when before I was known for being extremely sarcastic and witty; caustic, even if funny. Things I might have laughed at or felt were deserved by 'people behaving badly' now make me uncomfortable and sad. I'm still likely to gloat a little over 'karma' but it's with a guilty conscience and a sense of letting myself down because of setting a bad example.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I've lost two dear partners; one to cancer, one to a motorcycle accident. While I grieved deeply both times, there was also a sense of being outside myself and watching. I felt a calmness, knowing what I know now vs. what I didn't know as a child. I know everything will be ok. I know they aren't really 'gone'; they just aren't HERE. That somehow makes it ok. My father and grandmother's funerals, a friend from work, all of them gave me the same sensation... that I was grieving and yet disconnected, and not grieving as much as others might expect or feel appropriate. I'm more patient with people, and things that seemed big before are less important. I feel like if something doesn't happen or work out 'this time,' that it's not the end-all of everything. I'm not blase but I don't hold everything in a dramatic, critical-to-life type importance any more. Sometimes, I feel disconnected from others, not because I don't care but because I feel like I can't relate to how important the unimportant things are to them. But overall I'm just more aware of and kinder to other people than I was before. I'm much quicker to assume there's a reason behind someone doing something that I judge in a negative manner and I'm more likely to be patient or forgiving. I still get mad or sad like everybody else. Just not as bad as I did, before.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes It felt like some parts/senses/sights didn't have matching things here. I had to find the right label or symbol to explain 'there' compared to 'here.
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. I have a lot of memory 'holes' from that period of my life as a great deal of it was painful and unpleasant. Junior High and High School were torturous to me, and I also had some severe illnesses and other traumatic events. But I remember this experience almost as clearly as if it only happened a few months ago rather than years. I can't recall the faces of classmates from that time, I barely remember what my best friend or boyfriend looked like, but I can remember that place and that feeling very clearly.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain This one is weird. I don't think I am or claim to be psychic. But I do notice more now than before. I is like a kind of premonition effect. It's not strong or detailed, more like knowing when the phone is going to ring, or if someone needs me before I hear from them, or if something bad has/is about to happen. And hindsight is always 20/20, since we forget the times we think something is going to happen and it doesn't. So I don't know if this is real or imagined.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Feeling safe and loved and knowing there is somewhere I'm going and I'll be expected and that we are not alone in our struggles.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I told my mom right away. I told my sisters several years later, when they were older. They're younger than me. I've told partners and my son knows about it. My mom believed me, my sisters I don't remember, my son was skeptical but he also has had an NDE and his was drastically different from mine. I don't know what, if any, influence my experience had on them, except for one thing - I never had to go back to that dentist again.
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 It felt real then and it feels real now. It never felt like a dream or something I imagined. And I don't feel like it matches what I would have imagined, if I had been imagining it!
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. It felt real then and it feels real now. It never felt like a dream or something I imagined. And I don't feel like it matches what I would have imagined, if I had been imagining it!
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes I was in a life-threatening situation a couple years after this experience. I never lost consciousness, but I still heard the voice, telling me that I would get through it and not to give up.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? I wish everyone could experience what it felt like being there. I think a lot of conflict in the world would be eliminated if we all could feel how much we are all connected.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? Not sure, but be careful to avoid leading questions. I was always 'checking' myself to make sure I wasn't trying to match my experience to the question.
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