I had recently lost my best friend to suicide and felt so incredibly guilty for having discussions with him about suicide prior to his death regarding how I was planning to kill myself, I felt his death was my fault. I felt I did little to discourage him from taking his own life when he echoed my ideas.I spent almost two days in my room crying, praying and asking forgiveness for my part in his death broken only by short spells of sleep. I was so overcome with guilt that I felt as though I had to give back the gift of life given to me, that I did not deserve it. I spent hour upon hour kneeling at the side of my bed begging forgiveness from God for every little transgression I could think of that I had ever committed against another person. Upon realizing that God was not going to oblige me and take away my gift, I calmly went upstairs to my grandfather's medicine cabinet and took the unopened one of two bottles of Coumadin. I went to the kitchen, got a glass of water, and went back downstairs to my bedroom. It took me three hours to muster up the courage to open the bottle and swallow the entire contents, five or so pills at a time. After I consumed them I changed into my favorite sweater and jeans, put on a new pair of socks, then turned out the lights, lay down in my bed, and waited.I laid there for about thirty minutes and then quickly became very drowsy and cold and tried to pull the comforter over me. I felt myself falling asleep though I cannot say how long I slept; I know I did lose consciousness at some point.Suddenly I awoke and looked down at my feet and realized that I had only managed to put the comforter over one foot. I felt cold and numb over my entire body and I tried to move my arm in order to pull the blanket over my body when I suddenly realized that I was completely incapable of moving my arm. My arm was not responding to my will to move it. My arm felt as if it was a cold slab of meat that had been set beside me and was not connected to my sense of 'me'. I started to feel scared and disoriented. I tried to move my legs to get out of bed and go to my father for help. My legs felt as if they were made of lead. They would not respond to me. I knew it was my leg, but the lack of any sensation in my leg would be what I imagine a paraplegic must feel like seeing his lifeless body but not being able to command it to move or to feel anything from it.It was at that moment that I realized I was 'dying' and that I had not actually moved my head to look down at my arm or my legs. My body was still lying on its back and had not moved. I felt very confused and somehow moved to the side of my bed and I realized I was completely outside of my body. I just stared at it trying to come to terms that I was looking upon myself. I knew that the body in the bed was me, but I did not look on it with the same sense of self as I was accustomed to when looking in a mirror. It was lifeless and pale. At that instant, the body ceased to be 'me' and seemed to be a broken tool that would no longer perform its task.I then looked around my room trying to get a grasp on what was happening and recall that when I laid down the room was pitch black yet I could see everything in my room as if I had never turned out the lights. Everything I looked at seemed so simple, old and archaic in nature. I recall looking at my television and thinking what a worthless thing it was and how much time I threw away that could have been better spent with the people I loved.I became aware of my senses at that moment, how much more detailed everything seemed, how it all appeared more focused, and sharper. It was like I was seeing the world for the first time with my own true eyes. It was the equivalent of taking off a pair of foggy ski-goggles or glasses. The colors seemed flat and muted but considering the lights were off in my normally pitch-black room I was astonished to be seeing everything with such clarity. I also recall hearing cars on the main road a good half mile from my house and hearing the television upstairs on the other end of the house. I could hear my father and grandfather speaking as if I were in the same room. This was abnormal in that my room was below ground in the basement and when I shut my door, the room was so quiet all I could normally hear was my own breathing. Likewise, there were no windows and the room was completely dark.I felt as though I had been liberated from my body and being outside my body freed me from the limitations imposed by a physical existence. My mind felt cleared and my thoughts seemed quick and decisive. I felt a great sense of freedom and was quite content to be rid of my body. I felt a connection with everything around me in a way that I cannot describe. I felt as if I was thinking faster or that time had slowed down considerably.I then felt a sensation of warmth behind me and simultaneously could see the room was getting brighter. I turned to see a small pinpoint of light above me floating further away than was possible considering the physical dimensions of the room. I felt drawn to the light and could not look away. As I stared at the point of light it gradually grew brighter and brighter. It filled the entire room with light so bright it filled every corner and nook until the room just faded away. I felt as if I was rushing towards a giant, intensely bright, round sphere and was overcome with a feeling of deep happiness and contentment. It felt warm, though not in a temperature sort of way that I was accustomed to feeling with my skin, but rather warmth that permeated me to the core of my perceived 'self'. It was unlike anything I have ever felt before or since, but it was definitely a feeling of love. Not love in the sexual or intimate sense, but a love filled with understanding, acceptance and happiness.The sensation was as if the most intense feeling of joy I had ever experienced had been amplified infinitely and was now a tangible thing that I was immersed in. It was so intense that the worry of the pain I knew my loved ones would feel over my departure was completely stripped away. I understood that mortal life was such a temporary and brief experience that all the pain I had ever experienced seemed so innocuous and benign, it was as if it had not ever mattered at all. The love and warmth felt so natural I felt as if I had always felt this way and it had been taken away from me while I was alive. It was if I had returned to the familiar after a long journey and was finally home at long last. Truly back home in that I knew deeply that I originated from there, I belonged there and my time on Earth suddenly felt so foreign and brief. My physical life felt like it was so long ago. I felt as if I was being showed what awaited me. I knew that it was only available to me if I was worthy and that the circumstances of my passing did not warrant it. I knew then what mattered most in my life. The love I shared, the compassion I had for others, the kindness I displayed to everyone and ultimately how much of myself I gave to those I crossed paths with in my prior life.Instantly I was in my room staring up from my bed. I felt intense pain. I felt sick. I felt cold. I was back and I did not like it one bit. I rolled over with great effort and vomited on the floor next to my bed. It seemed like only seconds after my father came into the room and turned on the lights. He stood at the door for what seemed like an hour staring at me motionless with his mouth agape. I could see in his face he thought I was dying. He looked at the bloody vomit on the floor, then at me, and then at the pill bottle on the nightstand next to my bed. He moved faster than I have ever seen him move and yelled at me 'What did you do!' and just kept repeating that.He yelled to my grandfather to call 911 several times. I started feeling dizzy and he helped me lean over the bed and vomit into my wastebasket. Nothing came up. I dry heaved. An intense wrenching pain shot through my whole body following every heave. I started drifting in and out of consciousness. The next thing I recall was opening my eyes and seeing my room full of paramedics and police as I was being lifted onto a gurney and strapped down. I recall opening my eyes again just as they were putting me in the ambulance and I saw all the neighbors standing outside in their bathrobes and pajamas in groups whispering to each other and watching me being put in the ambulance.The next time I opened my eyes I was in a hospital bed and my entire family was standing around me talking softly. I recall my mother and father who had divorced when I was ten, bickering about how it could have come to this, both laying blame on the other. All I could think of at that moment is how I wished I had not come back.As the years have passed, I have spent a great deal of time thinking about my experience and I truly believe that I was sent back for a reason. I do not know why still to this day. I do know however, what I experienced does not await me again unless I deserve it through thought and deed. Though I do not currently practice any organized religion, I do think the majority of religions teach the core values that I must live by in order to experience that love again after I 'die'. I would say that prior to my experience my faith and spirituality was not sincere and was merely echoing the rituals of the society in which I was raised. After my NDE, I truly feel that those tenets mentioned earlier are the keys to happiness and peace in the hereafter.I feel a deep spiritual connection as a result of my experience to other people, animals and even plants that I had never felt before the incident. I used to watch the news and hear stories about somebody being killed and thought nothing of it and would sometimes crack jokes. Today I feel a deep empathy for family left behind by such events and I find myself moved to tears quite often by simple acts of charity performed by others, especially towards strangers and the destitute.I also feel I am able to sense love, compassion and kindness in other people now as a result of my experience just by being near them and speaking with them. It has more often than not proved valuable in determining whether people are being honest with me.I do not fear 'death' any longer. Perhaps even more puzzling, I look forward to that day with great anticipation. Suicide however will never be an option for me again. I know that if I were to take that route, I would not be able to experience that feeling of love and happiness again.I am very much a different person as a result of my near death experience.
Date NDE Occurred: 1990
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Uncertain Suicide attempt Intentional overdose on 40 Coumadin (blood thinner). Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)
Attempted suicide by overdosing on prescription medication. The threat was self-inflicted.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
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 As above.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Just after leaving my body at the moment I realized I had 'died'.
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 seemed to completely vanish at and following the emergence of the white light portion described previously.
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. The room in which the event happened was completely unlit, yet I was able to see as if the lights were on. Everything I observed seemed very sharp and focused even though in my body I have exceptional eyesight (20/10 in both eyes around the time of the event, currently my vision is 20/15 left, 20/10 right). I did not see auras or transparency in objects. Depth perception seemed very acute.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Clarity was greatly increased. Volume seemed normal, as did pitch and tonal qualities. I was able to hear very distant sounds from outside of my parents' house (traffic about half a mile away while normally the basement room with no windows was so quiet I could quite regularly hear the blood pulsing in my ears when I laid still in my bed).
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? Uncertain My interpretation of the event felt more like I was approaching an indescribably bright source of light in a endless void of black. At no time did I feel as if I was in an enclosed space like a dark tunnel or room. I would say the analogy of approaching a star at great speed through space would better describe the event.
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
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 I saw a small speck of light and was uncontrollably fixated on that light which slowly grew brighter and brighter as if I was approaching the source of an enormously large source of light at great speed and from a very long distance away.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm Once encompassed by the brilliant white light, I was fully aware that I was no longer on Earth, but I do not recall details about the surroundings other than everything was so brilliantly white and bright that it felt as if I was blinded. I only know that it was a place that could not exist on Earth.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Brief confusion during the moments just prior to leaving my body. I tried to move my limbs in a panic realizing I was about to die. Moments after I think I died, I was looking down on my body from the side of my bed and I felt a deep disorientation before realizing I was not in my body anymore. Then shortly after a profound sense of well-being, love, warmth and peace.
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
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? Moderate 'I was raised Mormon, but had not attended for 10 years prior to the incident.'
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my life will not end with my 'death' and that a great presence exists; though I do not attempt to fit it with my previous religious beliefs as I think that religions here only have a scant few details of what really lies beyond this mortal existence. When I see and hear people speak in the name of religion, after experiencing what lies beyond, it is evident to me that in all instances thus far, people are merely reciting what they have been taught and told to believe. Very little seems to mesh with my experience outside of the feeling that life beyond will be sublimely peaceful and full of love and that a great person or being of some sort is responsible for and created what we will experience on 'the other side'. I possess a deep belief in the events and feelings that I experienced and know that that beauty only awaits me as a reward for living a life of kindness, humility and compassion towards others. In that regard I feel a very strong connection to all life, be it plants, animals and specifically humans.
What is your religion now? Liberal 'I do not subscribe to any one faith but do possess a strong belief in life beyond ''death'' and believe that as a result of my experiences most religions are flawed though they mean well and teach important spiritual values.'
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my life will not end with my 'death' and that a great presence exists; though I do not attempt to fit it with my previous religious beliefs as I think that religions here only have a scant few details of what really lies beyond this mortal existence. When I see and hear people speak in the name of religion, after experiencing what lies beyond, it is evident to me that in all instances thus far, people are merely reciting what they have been taught and told to believe. Very little seems to mesh with my experience outside of the feeling that life beyond will be sublimely peaceful and full of love and that a great person or being of some sort is responsible for and created what we will experience on 'the other side'. I possess a deep belief in the events and feelings that I experienced and know that that beauty only awaits me as a reward for living a life of kindness, humility and compassion towards others. In that regard I feel a very strong connection to all life, be it plants, animals and specifically humans.
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 I had a deep sense of familiarity with what lay beyond the white light. It felt as though I was truly home after a long journey and that feeling imbued me with a sense of purpose, logic and order to the events that transpired in my life on Earth as well as all other people that came and went before me and those that would come after me.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes My relationship with my mother changed dramatically after I relayed the details of the experience to her. We developed a very close bond that felt very 'spiritual'. I often wonder if she ever experienced an NDE as a possible explanation as to why she was so accepting of my story.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes Emotional peace and calm that was so profound I think verbal communication lacks the depth to convey just how strong the experience was.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain It is just a personal feeling and in all likelihood completely unverifiable, but I feel as if I am able to see 'into people's hearts' and judge their intentions and motivations quite easily. Most often my assessments of people in this fashion have turned out to be fairly accurate - much more so than I was ever capable of prior to the event.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Most significant is the sense of how brief this existence truly is now that I know what lies beyond 'death' as we know it. Also of great significance is the knowledge of the deep peace and love that awaits us all when our time comes.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I have shared it with a total of five people. Only one of which was truly interested and believed what I described (my mother) and would regularly ask me for clarification at various times over the years. In the months prior to her death in January of 2009, she seemed extremely interested in the details of my experience.
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 In the days after the event, normal physical life felt convoluted and imaginary, almost surreal. Normal life seemed much more like a perpetual dream-state than the time spent outside of my body. It was if I had slipped back into a dream when I returned to my body and I still recall the event so vividly that even today events in my daily life feel discombobulated, random and without purpose.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real When I think about the event I can still recall the same feeling of intense lucidity. If I close my eyes and focus on the mental imagery, it feels as if it only happened a few short weeks ago. I am able to recall every detail of the event except for the feelings of love, peace and warmth I felt as I was enveloped by the intense light.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes I was living alone and was extremely ill with pneumonia in the winter of 2002 and was unable to get out of bed for over a week other than to relieve myself or to eat a few pieces of bread and drink a few glasses of water. At the peak of the illness I felt so weak that the feeling of death seemed imminent and what immediately followed the same feelings of being disconnected with my body I experienced during the NDE event years prior, though I do not feel as if I ever left my body nor did I feel I 'died' as I described before.
© 2014 NDERF, Jody Long & Jeffrey Long, MD. All Rights Reserved.