At a party, we joked that if anyone overdosed that they would get thrown in the back yard. Prior to inhaling the nitrous, we had also taken other drugs, though I felt like the effects had worn off. I had been inhaling nitrous from balloons and despite warnings. My judgment was a bit off from the previous highs I had been experiencing. I began to inhale the cold nitrous directly from the tank. I do not recall the moment I asphyxiated.
I only remember the tank then being in a very dark place. I immediately recognized that I ‘killed myself’. I felt terrible. My being did not seem to exist except what I could think. What I previously knew as my physical body felt like balls repelling each other. It felt like I hated myself so much that I was attempting to burst apart. The repelling feeling in my body felt like fire. Not because it was fire, but because of the pieces trying to come apart. All I could think about was exactly that. How it felt to hate myself. It seemed that I was completely alone. I concluded that this horrible experience was my eternal punishment.
I thought that I would have to stay in this lonely place for eternity and think constantly about how I was wrong to inhale the nitrous. I let my child and my family down. I was sad, but I accepted what I had done wrong and wished that I could have done better. It felt like I was there an eternity. Once I began to feel remorse, I heard a voice speak to me. I can't recall it sounding like it had a specific gender, nor was it a voice I recognized. I never saw anything as it spoke. I remained in this darkness while it spoke to me. It said, ‘You don't belong here. You need to find something in life that you love, and get out.’
I immediately thought of my daughter. I said her name. I said, ‘Spirah! I love Spirah!’ My eyes were open and I was gasping for air. I was on the floor with a party acquaintance on top of me. His hands were pushing on my chest. He looked directly at my face and said, ‘I felt the flames.’ We did not call 911; the people present said I wasn't breathing for what seemed like a couple of minutes. I tried to rest after that incident but I was still very shaken. I do not remember much else of that day.
Date NDE Occurred: I think it was June of 1998
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Drug or medication overdose. CPR given. Life threatening event, but not clinical death
I'm assuming this questions means was there something that physically endangered my life? I say yes because I had endangered my life by attempting to breathe in nitrous without oxygen and I asphyxiated.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Both pleasant AND distressing
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 Whatever high I had been experiencing that caused me to get where I was: it was gone. It was me, bombarding myself with very logical clear thoughts about what actually happened. I was able to separate the illusions I was having from the nitrous with this particular place that I found myself. I seemed very aware of the way I conducted my life. It seemed I was able to look on my life with a separate conscious. My normal life looked like I was not even aware of myself or anything around me. The perception of me in this darkness heightened my awareness of how my life interconnected and affected others.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? During the darkness of the experience I seemed the most alert.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Faster than usual
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
It felt like I was there for a very long time. I attempted to settle in for an eternity.
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. My vision was only of darkness.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I could only hear myself and then the voice that spoke out to me.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? 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
The experience included: Void
The experience included: Darkness
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? No
Did you see an unearthly light? No
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? Some unfamiliar and strange place Yes, a place with nothing: Pure empty darkness. I could only sense myself in the darkness. I felt that the particles I was made of could burst apart and become part of this darkness.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Disbelief, sadness, despair, grief, acceptance, love
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? No
The experience included: Special knowledge or purpose
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about myself or others I became aware of a superficial facade I was living in. I realized I needed to get beyond a self-destructive barrier that nearly ended my life. I perceived how that would have affected everyone in my life.
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? I remembered many past events
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 I think when I was instructed to find something in life that I loved; doing so was my ticket to return. The realization was immediate and the return was also what seemed instantaneous.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Slightly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Other or several faiths I had been raised in a Christian environment that was not very fervent. I became less understanding of the Christian religion and had been researching others including Buddhism, Native American, I had already been exposed to many new age ideas.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I returned to claiming myself as a Christian because, shortly after the experience, Christ came to me in a dream, and several significant spiritual signs led me to understand who Christ was and what it means to have him as a role model in my life. I continued to read and appreciate other religions centered around lessons in divine love as well.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Other or several faiths After my NDE, I had several experiences that pointed me back to Christianity, but gave me an understanding that connected all religion together. My understanding helped me to not so harshly criticize the Christianity I had perceived before. I claim that I am a non denominational Christian, while embracing everything else that embraces divine love.
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 The feeling that my body was on fire reminded me of what I was taught about hell, but I did not encounter other beings or evil torture. I was taught that when people commit suicide they go to hell. When this incident happened, I realized I had participated in suicide though it was probably more stupidity. I never knew much about purgatory as a void. I had seen comic strips that depicted it that way. The void seemed somewhat pleasant in those depictions. I had not really gotten to the point in my life spiritually where love was the answer. I perhaps had seen movies and read about it but I never had a full grasp on what it was and where it fit I to beliefs and religion.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I think these changes occurred slowly. I went through periods of confusion in deciphering what was important to me I altered my path greatly but then returning to a similar path with significant changes in my reasons and behaviors.
The experience included: Presence of unearthly beings
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 The voice I heard was not identifiable as male or female. The voice sounded like no one I knew. I heard the exact words ‘You don't belong here. You need to find something in life you love and get out.’
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? Uncertain During my pondering I was made aware of how my choices had or would affect others in my life.
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God definitely exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Uncertain The voice that guided me out seemed further advanced than myself though I can not say that I thought it was God, but felt it was certainly connected to 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 It seemed very clear that I had made a bad decision and it was important for me to return.
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are probably meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? Uncertain It seemed that love was the answer. Simply finding love pulled me back into my body.
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife definitely exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Uncertain It seemed going to a place where I could ponder my wrongs was proof, as well as encountering a being there that could also direct my consciousness while I was there.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I greatly feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I moderately 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? Moderately fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are probably 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? Uncertain I recollect seeing origins of humanity coming to the earth from the stars, but can not place if it was while I was trying to find my place and purpose while pondering all I had done wrong in my life.
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? Uncertain The challenges that I had perceived were fleeting. I was made aware that how I perceived my life was kind of an illusion I had created and had to change how I dealt with it.
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes Love would save me from the lonely darkness. Real love.
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 Large changes in my life. I am more aware of trying to do things that will not do harm. I attempt to have a better understanding of each individual’s experience so that I can be more compassionate. I became aware of how important it is to learn simple life-saving measures. I quit ‘partying’, tapered down to a stop. Over the next month, significant spiritual symbols were presented to me.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes Yes I have slowly begun to let go of judgments, I have become more reverent and forgiving.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Uncertain I feel like I can explain it in a way people can understand, but sometimes I think I have forgotten some of it. Although every time I explain the voice and the recognition of love for Spirah, I still cry.
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 Everything else around that time seems very foggy but I specifically remember how I felt like I was burning, exactly how that voice instructed me, and how the love I felt for my daughter saved me.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain I have always had some psychic abilities but they do seem stronger. I did start to feel physical pains that people around me feel.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The part with the voice and realization of the love I have for my child always makes me cry. No matter how many times I tell the story or if I think I can compose myself for just those few sentences, I always become very emotional and feel an amazing connection to this life through that moment.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I told people right away and still do, from time to time, when the time seems to need it being told. Some have heard it more than once because they ask me to repeat it, at a later time. My children, who have questioned life, its purpose, the existence of God get to hear it and discuss it. My daughter’s high school age friends are told when we are in bizarre story telling mode. Some of the nurses and other emergency personnel I have worked with have heard this from me. Most people react by saying ‘Wow.’ It's hard for me to gauge if and how it influences, but I hope they can find it helpful as some juncture for themselves or another if things get to that. I think they see the lesson in being careless with drugs and alcohol and the need to find higher purpose beyond that.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I had read a book that was on the best seller list. I think her name was Betty Eadie. I watched a movie when I was younger called ‘Flatliners’. I had always had a curiosity about death. My dad passed away when I was 21 and I felt him come to tell me good-bye. My mom explained how she had seen a lightness exit his body when it happened. While he was dying, he would wake up from his morphine and try to tell us the spiritual things he was experiencing.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I could only remember it so vividly, everything but that part seemed like a dream. I knew that the only way I could have been guided to love so quickly was through this harsh exercise. The Internet was not readily available for me to search experiences similar to mine. I held on to how real it was for me, and just within the past 5 years, I have begun to see similar accounts of this void-like place.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I still tell the story; I still feel it is real. I think it is a necessary part of my life that I am supposed to share and continue to strive to be a better person because of it. There were time periods where I became more fearful of death, not wanting to return to that place. These times of fear, I had to really evaluate myself to make sure I was living up to the gift this life is and experiencing love.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No