I'm not sure where to begin with trying to describe my experience, so I think the best place is probably from the beginning.
As a child, I was severely abused by my step-father and when I was thirteen years old; he stabbed me in the chest and left me on the side of the road to die. I was very fortunate that I was found by a passerby and taken to the hospital for treatment and recovery. I spent about six months in the hospital recovering from this attack. This attack is irrelevant to my near death experience, but I'm wanting to give some background information on myself and some of the things that took place in my life that lead up to my suicide attempt. After I recovered, my mother decided to move with my siblings and me from the small town where we had been living to the big city of Toronto. This move was quite a culture shock to me and it was made very clear to me that I was to forget about the attack and get on with my life. I was offered no counseling or support. I was unfortunately unable to do this and was forced to survive in any way I knew how.
I attempted suicide for the first time shortly after moving to Toronto when I was fourteen years old and this just started a big spiral in my life. I became very depressed after being attacked and my entire focus in life was on wanting to die. I have attempted suicide at least fifty times (all pill overdoses). Many of my suicide attempts were nearly fatal, but despite this, I never lost consciousness or clinically died until my last attempt, which took place about ten years ago. My last suicide attempt had such an impact on my life that I have never made another attempt since and I never will again.
About a month before my last suicide attempt, I suffered a great lost. My fifteen year old sister was hit and killed by a drunk driver. After my sister died, I totally gave up and absolutely nothing in my life mattered anymore. My sister was the only person in this world who I was close to or who mattered to me. I felt that I had spent the best part of my life struggling with depression and questioning my existence and that she was the only reason I was fighting so hard to live. I totally gave up and this time I vowed that I was going to be successful with ending my life.
I knew I was in serious trouble, so I signed myself into the psychiatric unit of a hospital, hoping that they might be able to protect me from myself or help me to find a reason to keep on living. Three days after I signed myself in the hospital, I approached my nurse telling her that I needed to talk because I wanted to die right at that moment. She told me that she was going on supper break and would speak to me later. I then became very angry and started thinking that I would show her. I than proceeded to sign out on a temporary pass. I was allowed to sign out of the hospital for two hours at a time because I was voluntary. Despite me just stating that I wanted to die right at that moment, I was allowed to sign out.
I left the hospital and stopped at the first drug store I found where I purchased a bunch of pain relievers. I then went to the closest hotel and checked myself into a room. Once inside the room, I swallowed the pills and drank tons of alcohol, which I purchased from the fridge in my room. This was more pills that I ever took before in my life, so I was certain this should do the trick.
I never really gave much thought to the actual process of dying or what would happen. I just thought that death would be the end all and that I would just peacefully go to sleep, never wake up and the rest of eternity would just be a blank and non-existent. I didn't really have any beliefs. I wouldn't go as far as to say I was an atheist, but I also wasn't sure if I believed in God either. I didn't really care one way or the other about this aspect of dying and never really gave it much thought.
A couple of hours after taking all the pills and alcohol, I decided I had better get back to the hospital because I was past the two hours I was allowed to be out. I was afraid that they would call the police, so I decided to go back and not tell them that I took the pills. It took me about an hour to walk three blocks back to the hospital because I was quite inebriated from the mixture of pills and alcohol, so I had to stop several times to rest. When I finally arrived, I was greeted by two security guards on the main floor, because of the late hour. It was very obvious that I was intoxicated as I could not walk a straight line and I'm sure I must have reeked of booze. They escorted me back to the psychiatric unit. The nurse then shined a flashlight in my eyes to check my pupils and then told me to go to bed and sleep it off. I did not breathe a word about taking the pills. I went to bed as requested assuming that I would die through the night.
I woke up the next morning, very nauseous and I was sick as a dog for lack of a better description. I was shocked and very confused on why I was still alive. I spent the entire day on the psychiatric unit running to the washroom every fifteen minutes to vomit. I felt very sick, dizzy and deathly ill, but I was still very much alive which was very confusing to me because of the number of pills I took the night before. I started to believe that I wasn't going to die after all and that the pills just had to run their course in my system. It was very obvious to everyone around me that I was extremely ill, but because I had been drunk the night before, the nurses just assumed I had a major hang over. I wanted to tell the nurses about the pills because I no longer believed I was going to die and in hopes that they would be able to do something for me to help make me feel better because I felt sooooo sick, but I was afraid that I would be certified or locked up because of the suicide attempt. As a result, I decided to keep quite.
By nighttime, I could no longer handle how dizzy, nauseous and ill I felt. I finally gave in and told the nurse about the pills I had taken the night before. The nurse sounded very skeptical and like she didn't believe me, but she told me that she would run it by the doctor on call. The doctor immediately ordered blood work. I was told that the blood work showed that I had taken some pills, but it didn't look that bad so there was no way I could have taken the amount of pills that I was saying. I was very confused because I knew what I took, so I didn't understand why my blood work was saying different. This just reinforced the notion to me that the pills were just running their course and that I wasn't going to die. The doctor decided that they would just hook me up to an IV for precautionary measures and that they would do blood work every three hours to make sure everything was okay.
I remained on the psychiatric unit for two days with an IV hooked up to me and than all of a sudden, my blood work started showing liver damage. It was then decided to transfer me to a medical floor for closer observation. Blood work was continuing to be done on me and each blood test was showing more and more liver damage. After two days on the medical floor (four days after taking the pill over dosage), my liver deteriorated to the point where I was told I needed a liver transplant and I was transferred into the Intensive Care Unit. I was told that because I had willfully destroyed my own liver, I was considered lowest priority for a new liver, but without a new liver, I was certain to die. At this point, I started embracing myself with the thoughts that I might die. However, I was also in denial because it had been four days since I had attempted suicide and I was now having second thoughts and no longer wanted to die. I was very conscious and alert at this time and did not feel I was deathly ill. I had a hard time accepting and comprehending what the doctors were telling me. My parents who lived in New Brunswick at this time were contacted and told to get to the hospital as soon as possible because I was extremely ill.
I left my body before my parents arrived. I was floating up in the air by the ceiling and could see myself lying on the bed. I saw eight bags of IV fluids going into the large vein in my neck. One of the bags had a brownish color liquid in it. I heard the nurse yelling that I was going into cardiac and respiratory arrest. I then found myself falling in this dark tunnel. It was pitch dark and I couldn't see anything. All of a sudden, I saw a bright lizard-like snake jump out at me and I became terrified. The next thing I knew there were these snake-like creatures all around me. They were lunging out at me as I kept falling. I was petrified beyond what I could ever express. I really felt that I was headed for some sort of hell and so I started thinking that there really must be some sort of a God.
Then for some strange reason, I started thinking of a prayer my grandmother use to say with me when I was a little child, which I had totally forgotten about until now. It went, 'I pray to the Lord to forgive my wrongs. If I should die before I wake. I pray the Lord my soul to take.' I started praying this over and over. The next thing I knew, I saw my sister who had just recently been hit and killed by a drunk driver. She had a light glowing around her and there was a peace about her that was indescribable. She started to guide me and the next thing I knew I was in another tunnel to the right that was going upwards. This tunnel was very bright with many indescribable colors and tons of little white lights. I was moving extremely fast and there was a big white illuminating light at the end.
I felt more serenity, peace and love than I could ever express in words. I felt totally mesmerized and in complete awe. I was very much drawn to this light and wanted to keep going toward it, but when I started getting close, I heard a male voice tell me I had to go back. It was not yet my time. This voice continued to tell me that I was going to help educate and teach many people. I then became aware of being back in my body, but I could not move or open my eyes. I remember telling my hand to move and trying to open my eyes but I couldn't no matter how hard I tried. I didn't understand why I couldn't do this at the time, but I'm now thinking that it's probably because I left my body when I was in cardiac and respiratory arrest and then I re-entered my body after being revived. However, after being revived I was in a coma, so to me that would explain why I couldn't move or open my eyes.
Date NDE Occurred: April to October 1994
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Suicide attempt Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function) I had attempted suicide by taking a massive pill overdose. I went into cardiac and respiratory arrest three times and was in a coma for six months.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Mixed
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes 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 It just seemed so much more real than anything I had ever experienced in my entire life.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I was unconscious but I felt very aware, alert and lucid.
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 Time was not a focus and didn't really seem to exist. I am very hazy about time. This experience seemed to last for hours but my feeling is that my NDE probably took place when I was clinically dead, so in reality that was only a couple of minutes. Also, I was in a coma for eight months following the cardiac arrest and when I woke up, I was in complete shock. I had no idea that so much time had passed. I thought maybe one day, but eight months (what a shock).
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Did your vision differ in any way from normal? Everything seemed so much more colorful and brighter than normal.
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? Yes I passed through two tunnels which I described above.
The experience included: Presence of deceased persons
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes I saw my deceased sister and a male voice which I sensed was God which I have described above.
The experience included: Darkness
The experience included: 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
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? At first I was petrified. I than started to feel very calm, serene and indescribable amount of love.
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
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control I saw my life flash before me shortly after I left my body and was still in the hospital room. I was told that I was going to help educate and teach many people and that is exactly what I am doing now.
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Yes I sensed that if I went into the big light at the end of the tunnel, I would not have been able to return to my body.
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? Moderate None
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I am now a born again Christian.
What is your religion now? Moderate Christian
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I am now a born again Christian.
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? Uncertain At the time everything seemed to make sense, but I can't remember now.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes I have never shared or spoken about my NDE until now, so it is quite difficult trying to formulate it in a way that makes sense. Also it is very difficult to find the proper words to describe what I've experienced because there is nothing in my life or this world that can even compare to it, so it is extremely difficult to find the proper words and descriptions.
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? I now believe without a doubt that God exists and that He is full of more love than words of the English language could ever explain. I have become a Christian since the NDE and have an unquenchable love and desire to help others. I have become a motivational speaker and share my story with numerous people, agencies and organizations. I have been in the media quite a bit because of my story and have just recently received a provincial award called 'The Courage to Come Back'. I share the physical aspects with people. The suicide attempts, being depressed, abused as a child, etc. However, I have never shared with anyone my experience of what happened when I actually died or was in the coma. I figured if anyone wanted to know they would ask and no one has ever asked.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? No
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 probably real. It seemed real, but after waking up from the long coma I was initially quite disoriented, so I started convincing myself that it was probably drugs the hospital gave me or I must have hallucinated because of how ill I was. However, it felt very real.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. This experience is more real than anything I have ever experience in my entire life and I feel like it just happened yesterday. It was definitely real.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No