We’ll never truly know what it’s like on the Other Side of mortality, but some people have come disturbingly close to finding out. From eerie disembodiment to meeting old friends at the cross roads, these stories leave us wondering about life after death. Here are Redditors’ most chilling near-death experiences.
1. Don’t Worry About a Thing
My heart stopped when I was in the ER, for 34 seconds. Not really a “life flash” but a very calming feeling of, as I describe it, “what was I even worried about? Everyone and everything is going to be fine.”
2. Please to Awake to Your Acquaintance
The person I knew in a coma was in it for about three weeks and had no recollection of being in a coma. The doctor was saying his name real loud, and he finally woke up one day. The doctor asked him if he was (insert real name). The patient’s response was hilarious. He said, “Yes and whom do I have the pleasure of speaking to?” back to the doctor.
3. Deja Vu
I had a near-death experience when I was ejected from an automobile. When I regained consciousness, the eeriest thing happened. A man came up to me and told me everyone survived. Somehow, he was there long before any paramedics arrived. The craziest part of it all was that looking at that man gave me the most powerful sensation of deja vu ever. Maybe I hit my head too hard, but it was as if I had seen that man before.
4. Heaven Sounds Luxe as Heck
My father-in-law was in the hospital and his heart stopped. He was dead but they revived him. Then he kept talking about a heart surgery. This seemingly innocent comment disturbed us for one eerie reason. Finally, my wife said, “Dad, you didn’t have heart surgery.” He said, “Yes I did. I remember the big diamond-encrusted scepter that was thrust into my heart to fix me.”
I don’t know what it means, and he died a few days later so I can’t get any more details.
5. Teenage Years Are the Most Awkward (and Sleepy) Time of Your Life
When I was a kid, my best friend got hit by a car at age 12. She was in a coma for I think a little over a year. She said she felt like she was asleep but was most freaked out when she woke up and saw that she had gone through puberty while in the coma.
6. No Better Deal Than Seeing the Rest of Your Life
I’m allergic to bees. One time I got stung while sitting at a red light. It was a rental and I forgot my bag. No EpiPen. I turned into a car dealership and yelled to them to call 911. Within four minutes (which felt like an eternity), my throat completely closed. Last thing I remember is the guy who was with me yelling that I was blue.
I don’t know how long I was out, but as soon as the EMTs pushed the epinephrine, I sprung back to life. Thank goodness they got there so quickly. The next day I brought the dealership and the EMTs baskets with cookies.
7. Life Imitates Coma Art
This is really bizarre, but my uncle, a very serious, strict and rather dry man had an accident and went into coma a few years back. He never believed anything he couldn’t touch, no talks about souls or anything similar. He was in a coma for a few weeks until he woke up and had this crazy story. He said he saw himself in a bubble, floating around in a white place and it was peaceful and beautiful.
But then he said about other bubbles he could see around him. All of them had other people in them. He distinctly remembered a black-haired woman singing in the bubble closest to his until one day her bubble burst and she disappeared. When he woke up, he could give a very clear description of her body, her age, and all that.
But now for the crazy part. There was a woman, one floor below him, in a coma that sadly had passed away before he woke up. You guessed it—black hair, age, body all correct. He had never met or seen this woman in his life. His whole idea of life changed after this. It still makes me think sometimes…Where was he?
He thinks all the people in bubbles around him were patients in the same hospital. Could it be? We’ll probably never know.
8. Better Watch Your Back
I remember a story from years ago about a guy who was on the brink of death and saw shadow creatures attack him, trying to tear him to pieces. Not in a lake of fire, though. The experience was so harrowing that it turned him into a believer.
9. Not Everything Is Better Under the Sea
Stepped on a stingray at the beach and the stinger went almost all the way through my foot like stepping on a nail. I got out and laid down near my family (last day of family vacation) and got my foot wrapped tight in a towel. Then everything got worse all at once. It only took a few minutes for the poison to set in and my whole leg felt like it was on fire.
Everything in my body started going numb, I had a hard time breathing, my fingers and toes curled up and my lips were tightening up. I told my wife I loved her and thought that might be it. One of my brothers was bawling like crazy thinking I was done for. Somehow, I pulled out of it and was able to get to ER and get treated.
Hot, hot water is the only thing that neutralizes stingray venom/poison. Worst pain I ever felt in my life but so glad I pulled through. Only time I’ve ever been convinced I wasn’t going to make it. And it was a couple months after Steve Irwin’s death.
10. A Spoonful of Sugar Sends You to the Emergency Room
I was nine years old when it happened. I can’t remember exactly how, but I wound up with a piece of candy lodged in my throat. My mother tried to give me the Heimlich but wasn’t able to. Then it all starts to unravel. She runs out the front door and starts screaming for help and I fall to my knees by the couch. And I don’t know why but I never once thought, oh shoot I’m dying.
I was scared but I was more bothered my mom was upset. I honestly remember trying to tell her it was okay. Anyway, as my vision goes black and I feel myself just kinda slump to the ground, I feel two arms wrap around my mid-section and yank me into the air and start squeezing and yanking and this dude telling me to spit it up and breath.
I finally spit up the candy and start breathing and as my vision comes back, I see that it’s the headbanger from next door. Dude was supposed to be at a Metallica concert, but his ride never showed, so he was home doing whatever when he heard my mother screaming for help. Was an awesome guy, taught me about comics, taught me how to growl, even influenced my musical preferences in some ways. So anyway, if you read this Trevor, thanks again for saving my life.
11. Deep Freeze
During my death, I felt like my body was as cold as it could possibly be—but in reality, I was just at room temperature.
12. Easy Come, Uneasy Go
This story is incredibly disgusting. About a year ago I woke up in the middle of the night with stomach pain. This isn’t unusual since I have colitis, so I got up, grabbed a Calvin and Hobbes anthology, and prepared to spend some time in the bathroom. Normally the pain comes and goes, and I can handle it. Unfortunately, this particular night I was horrifically backed up from nausea medication and couldn’t go.
I’d never had this happen before and suddenly the pain went from a manageable if unpleasant five to “oh no, I might actually be calling 911.” Unable to force anything out that way, I started vomiting uncontrollably. It honestly felt like my guts were being crushed by something. The only pain I can compare it to is like a Charley horse but in your entire colon.
I’ve got a high pain tolerance but at one point, the pain kept getting worse and worse until I was pouring sweat. and I had a real moment where I thought my guts might rupture or something. I panicked and things got really weird for a few minutes. My vision started going and I got really shocky. Dry mouth, more vomiting.
I almost passed out in the tub when the spasms got worse because I couldn’t keep myself upright. I couldn’t push to get my guts moving because even the slightest amount of force was enough to make me shriek in pain. Eventually, with a concentrated effort, I was able to get things moving and I unleashed hell on our toilet.
It sounds ridiculous, but I have NEVER been in that much pain. I was absolutely terrified, and that is the closest I have ever come to being like “man, I might die here.”
13. No, You’re Playing…With Mortality
It happened when I was a teenager. Two of my cousins, my mother, and I were on the way to San Francisco. I was sitting in the backseat playing on my Nintendo DS. As my cousin was making a left turn (light was green), from my peripheral vision I could see a horrific sight. An SUV was speeding towards our vehicle.
It really felt like time slowed down in the few seconds prior to the accident. I remember thinking I would feel the biggest impact and would probably die because of it since it was coming directly towards my side of the vehicle. I braced myself, said a quick prayer, thought of my father and grandmother and everyone else we would leave behind.
I remember glancing up at the point of impact and watching my DS fall from my hands. The SUV sped away. Thankfully none of us were injured, just very shocked. Hearing my mom wailing out my name thinking I was hurt or dead right after we got hit was the worst.
14. A Second Chance
My grandpa’s heart stopped beating briefly about 10 days before he died. When he came to, he still thought everything was on fire and begged my grandmother to put it out. The exact vision wasn’t passed along to the family, but from what he said to grandma—that there had been fire everywhere, she didn’t say what else—she figured he’d been to Hell and they’d thrown the cantankerous old buzzard out.
15. Comfortably Numb
This isn’t my story, but the head of my program was in a horrible car accident. She was clinically dead for a few minutes on the scene while paramedics worked on her. It wasn’t at all like you’d expect. She said it was the most amazing feeling she’s ever experienced. It was a blank, black nothing—but that was perfectly fine, and she felt a sense of comfort that she can’t even explain.
She remembers being angry at the man working on her when she finally came back to her body, because she had wanted to stay there. She told us that she can’t wait to experience this again when it really is her turn to leave this world for good. Now, she is not religious in the slightest, and she actively quashes all of our ghost stories and whatnot when anyone mentions them.
She only believes in tangible things. That’s why I’m so convinced that she is telling the truth. Also, there is one important thing to mention with regards to this story. She is always very adamant when talking about this to remind everyone that she is not advocating suicide. She stresses that she isn’t trying to tell us that she’s actively trying to reach this place again, but rather that when it is inevitably her time, she will be comfortable embracing it.
16. Almost Slipped Away From You
When I was little my family went to Mexico for a holiday vacation. I was playing in the ocean when I felt myself being pulled out to sea. My parents were distracted, but I remember looking up at my sister screaming just as my head went under the water. I’m not sure how long I was underwater, but two guys came out of nowhere, dragged me out of the water, and as quickly as they appeared, they were gone.
My parents looked all over the beach and never found them.
17. Close Encounter With a Death Drop
In the middle of a massive bout of depression, I blacked out walking to the bathroom. Seemingly came out of nowhere. Slipped, fell, knocked everything off the counter, and hit my head. Didn’t pass out but was too dizzy to try to stand. The feeling passed eventually, but when I looked at my watch, my blood ran cold. I’d lost about 10 minutes.
The doctor later speculated that I was severely dehydrated and hungry since I hadn’t eaten or drank anything that I could remember.
18. With the Snap of a Finger
My friend went hiking with his family and he fell a few feet off a cliff they were climbing and he hit the back of his head on a rock. They called an ambulance, but when they finally arrived at the hospital, it was too late. He was pronounced dead. He had no heartbeat or any brain waves. They were already unplugging everything and moving on with all the paperwork when something incredible happened.
He suddenly woke up. The nurse screamed “he’s awake!” and then chaos ensued all over again. He was dead for about 7 minutes and he says the entire time he was laying down fully conscious in a really dark room. He said he couldn’t tell how long it was but that suddenly he heard a sound like if someone snapped their fingers next to his ear and then he woke up in the hospital.
19. Young at Heart
A friend of ours fell into a coma at age 25 (~1992) and woke up at age 36 (~2002). She was a Rhodes scholar nominee (I think, second-hand information) and quite brilliant. She was still 25 mentally—as if everything was just on pause. Her body was really well preserved; She’s really fun and cool and sort of the ultimate cougar. Plus, she totally woke up to the internet.
20 Mom to the Rescue
I had a near-death experience when I was about five. I was drowning in a pool. I probably didn’t have enough memories at that point for anything to flash before my eyes, and I was also very focused on trying to get my head above the water again. I remember looking up at the sky through the water, and that the surface started to look geometric, like tessellations.
Then I experienced some sort of depersonalization. I had a distinct feeling that I was outside of my body, and I watched what happened next—my mom saving me—from a distance.
21. I Can Carry You, Mr. Frodo
I was in a coma for five weeks due to meningococcal disease. I had A LOT of “dreams”, most that I can still remember pretty clearly. You can definitely take in what is being said from the people around you. I was 12 at the time (22 now), and my mother was reading Lord of the Rings to me while I was out. I had some pretty vivid LotR related dreams.
Like eating some ice cubes under a bridge with Bilbo Baggins. When I woke up, it felt like I’d been gone a long time, but without knowing how long.
22. Don’t Move a Muscle
I suffocated during surgery due to a series of errors with the nitrous mask and monitors that had been removed and not immediately put back. As I was suffocating, I tried to signal. Then the dark truth hit me. I realized I was under so much nitrous I couldn’t move. My ears were ringing. I thought about my husband, and if my daughter would be OK.
I cursed the anesthesiologist because one of the nurses said I didn’t look good and he said no one could move until he finished this part. I remember blacking out, then watching from a corner of the OR while everyone was rushing to work on a pink blob. I could see everyone clearly, but one thing was a big blob.
I realized the blob was me, and they were trying to resuscitate me. I intentionally did not go anywhere because I wanted to be there when I was resuscitated so I could be alive again. I just existed in that corner watching the chaos. Then I woke up on the table, bruised but alive.
23. Sharing a Dream
I get teary-eyed every time I tell this story. My dad flatlined with a failing heart. When they brought him back the doctor asked where he had been. My dad said he was picking blueberries with his long-deceased mother and his sister. 1,609 km (1,000 miles) away, that sister woke up in the middle of the night, woke her husband and said something was wrong with her brother.
She had been dreaming that she was picking blueberries with my dad and their mom. He died a few months later. Miss ya, Dad.
24. When Gotta Go, You Gotta Go!
A couple of weeks ago, I had ulcers that caused internal bleeding and my hemoglobin was down 50% by the time I went to the hospital. I almost died in one of the most embarrassing ways possible: pooping to death. Pay attention to your poop, people!
25. Jesus Take the Wheel
I was a passenger in a car driving home from holiday to celebrate my high school graduation when the car swerved and the driver hit an embankment. The car flew into the air and bounced off the ground three times, and I was asleep when it happened. I should have at least been hospitalized, and when ambulances—for the driver—police and passersby stopped, everyone mentioned how its a miracle that we were alive at all.
But no one knew what I knew. When it was happening, I didn’t have time to open my eyes before I experienced a violent force I couldn’t have imagined, which kind of felt like I was put in a metal box and shaken around and my head was so weirdly clear, I just had this intense feeling of like, “God no, the car is crashing.”
This is happening, and I didn’t feel any pain—I got banged up significantly—and I had this unbelievably overwhelming feeling that I was not ready to die, I was going to get out of that car, that my life was not over, and it was like my soul just said, “No.” I’m not exactly religious, but I’ve always tried to form a relationship with at least my idea of God.
In those incredibly fast, confusing seconds, I don’t know if it was my brain doing what human brains do when they freak out, but I really felt like I was talking to God when I thought, “Not today, thank you, I’m not ready.” It was such a peaceful, intense presence, and I’ve never been the same since. I can’t ever forget that feeling, like I was not alone, and I really want to believe I’m right about that.
26. Every Inch Counts
I was crossing the street once and stepped off of the curb only to hear someone yell my name. I straighten up out of fear and see a semi blow by inches in front of me. I couldn’t believe I was still alive. That was Christmas Eve.
27. To the Great Beyond
I bled to death after a car accident. I went somewhere. I can’t say for sure if it was real or just a weird chemical trip in my brain, but the best way I can describe it was like being in a hallway made out of space. It was beautiful, and incredibly peaceful. I saw flecks of memories passing by me but I wasn’t focused on them. I’ve never been able to explain what happened next.
A woman’s voice that felt like it was everywhere told me I could wake up and suddenly I was alive again.
28. Don’t Go Into the Light
Not me, but a friend of mine overdosed one day while doing some stuff with his friend. The friend hadn’t done anything yet so he wasn’t imagining all of the signs of death on this guy: no pulse, cold skin, blue lips. Later, the guy revealed his chilling vision. In those few minutes he was considered dead, he saw nothing but white. In the distance was a dark shadowed tree.
But there was more. He then saw a woman, also dark and shadowed, so he wasn’t able to see her face. But her presence made him happy. She held out her hand to him and for a while, he debated whether or not he should go with her. He decided not to and she simply walked away. Then he woke up again. Before that event, he defined himself as a Catholic but was never really religious.
Afterward, he turned his life around and started devoting himself to helping others.
29. Soup Over Salad
My experience is different from everyone else’s. I nearly drowned in a swimming pool when I was nine years old, at a hotel, when my family was on a holiday. I remembered it like it was yesterday. At that moment, my legs and arms locked up, my lungs felt like stone, and then I slipped out of consciousness for I’m not sure how long. I woke up to the lifeguard pumping my chest.
During the time I was unconscious, I was floating—probably because I was in water—in a space filled with stars. I tried to “swim” over to one of the stars and found out they were fragments of my memories—voices, noises, smells, faces, places—all jumbled together. But a big part of those fragments were my mom, my dad, and my two younger brothers and a cousin who was also my best friend.
It wasn’t like a memory or anything. To put it into words, it was more like a soup of everything I’ve ever seen, heard, tasted, smelled, and felt all there. Then I woke up. I’ve never seen that vision again. But I still remember it clear as day. It wasn’t too complicated, as a nine-year-old there aren’t that many places I’d been to.
30. Oh, Heaven Is a Place on Earth
My dad has died twice due to heart attacks. He says he saw New Jersey. He was not in New Jersey at the time.
31. Where You Leave, I Will Follow
I spent eight days in a coma last year after a particularly traumatic surgery. My waking thoughts were wondering if I had died or made it. I couldn’t open my eyes and I was on a medical air mattress, so I felt like I was floating. This led me to think that I had died, and I remember thinking it wasn’t so bad and wondering if my dad would come to find me.
Once I realized that I was still alive, I thought I had been injured fighting in a war and worried that my wife might not know I was still alive. Trying to communicate with the nurses while intubated and drugged was very difficult. What I learned later broke my heart. My wife was there the whole time. While I was fighting against the doctors and nurses, I would immediately calm down and cooperate when she held my hand and sang to me.
It still brings tears to my eyes to think of the love and devotion she has shown to me during this time.
32. Stop, Drop, and Roll
I rolled and flipped my truck…several rolls, couple flips. I just remember looking at the direction that I was traveling through my driver’s side window. I ducked down, grabbed the bench seat and held on for dear life thinking “If I hit a tree on the door, I’m dead.” I hit a boulder that is many times bigger than a VW Bug, and blacked out.
I woke up with my friends dragging me out with gas from the ruptured gas tank pouring on me. I was so out of it, I stood there with the truck being dragged onto a flatbed and told my buddies I had a dream that I crashed my truck.
33. Who Says Hydration Is Good for You?
I fainted once while drinking a glass of water. The glass hit the table, and my chin hit the glass. It was sliced down to the bone, and when I woke up on the floor and saw blood gushing down my neck and shirt, I was convinced the glass had slit my throat. My response after was disturbing. I wasn’t scared, just mad. I remember thinking, “Out of all the dumb stuff I did in life, a glass of water was gonna take me out? What the heck?”
34. Steam in the Engine
When I was eight years old, I learned how to fix small engines. One time, it just so happened that my dad had an old flathead Briggs and Stratton 5.5hp engine that didn’t work. He also had a riding lawn mower that had no engine nor blades. He gave me the task of getting the engine running. As a reward, I would get to put it on the riding lawn mower and have fun with it whenever I wanted.
I was sooo anxious at school the next day. Well, that day, I tore apart the motor and had it running by bedtime. The next day, we had the thing mounted and riding around. Fast forward a few weeks. My older sister and I were out riding when my shoelace got caught on the back spindle. It pulled me off and began dragging me (mind you, only going as fast as the machine could go).
My sister tried to help. This was the beginning of the nightmare. She stopped the lawnmower and went in reverse, which caused her to accidentally drive right onto me. The chain and chain wheel caught my lower right back, ripping my skin open and pulling my large and small intestine out. It severed my right lung, broke my spine in two places, and shredded my right kidney.
I felt the thing roll onto me and then everything went blank. I couldn’t see, move, speak, or anything. No pain as well. All I remember is the blackness. After my father got my heart beating again, I remember just laying there in pain. I also remember feeling my back injuries and shortness of breath. I felt what I still believe to have been my stomach in my hand while I was feeling my back.
Once I was in the ambulance, everything went blank—except this time I saw myself lying there and the medics shocking me. I felt a hard pull and I was suddenly back inside myself. A few minutes later, I was on a table with strangers in white all around me. I remember being in a panic, then suddenly standing next to my grandmother who had passed away when I was only three.
She told me that she was my Nana. We were there watching them jolt my heart with tiny round paddles. She kept telling me that everything would be ok. They called my death time at 6:06 pm. Then, all of a sudden, I wake up and I’m all fixed and stapled up. My parents told me I had died three times. The first time had been for five minutes, the second for a little more than 12 minutes.
But the last time was the most astonishing to the doctors. My heart had stopped beating for 20 minutes. My parents made them continue jolting my heart even though they believed that there was no chance of reviving me at that point. They told me that the doctor kept telling them that I was going to have a 98% chance of being brain dead.
Today, I’m 25 years old and as healthy as ever. I’m fully capable of walking as well. I’m forever grateful.
35. Too Young to Die
I almost drowned as a kid. I think I was about four or five years old. I didn’t lose consciousness, but I remember extremely clearly to this day the moment I couldn’t get my head out of the water anymore and my lungs filled up with water and I just gave up. I had that moment of clarity, “That’s it, that’s death.” I don’t think a five-year-old can really grasp the concept of death, but I’m certain that I knew exactly what was happening and it was incredibly peaceful.
36. Being Overtaken by Darkness
I had my heart stopped at the hospital because it was going 150 BPM for hours. I even had the readout of me flatlining printed out. I had a heart condition and was on substances. My life did not flash before my eyes. It felt like a black cloud spreading through my body—the heart-stopping injection. Which makes no sense.
When it was over, the doctor was walking out of the room, then turned to me and said, “Better living through chemistry, huh?” Crazy experience, would not recommend. I am now completely sober.
37. Come Back Later
I had a near-death experience at a young age. I remember a black presence came to me, and I knew it was my death. I felt very strongly that it was not my time to go, that I had so much more to do.
38. An Offer They Couldn’t Refuse
Because of what happened, I am no longer afraid of death. When I died, I was surrounded by joy, and had to go back to return to pain. I had the feeling of being incomplete, as though I had something more that I still had to accomplish in this lifetime. This feeling made me choose to return to Earth. But it was a choice. They tell you that they do not force you to live, you get to choose.
And they always ask—do you want to go back? The choice is always yours to make at the end of the day. And they are pure love up there, and pure understanding. They do not judge. They understand completely and they know you completely—including your mind and heart. As I said, nothing but absolute love. In fact, some would say that I am even a little too eager to return to it.
Normally, when someone returns after the experience of dying, they do not remember the experience. I know this because I remember that moment of forgetting, where you interact with these beings, and then return as if it never happened. You go to sleep and you have a “vivid dream,” but you know that it wasn’t just a dream.
That’s why I told them that the only way I would return would be if they would agree to let me remember this experience, because I did not want to go back only to forget the entire thing. They allowed it. I woke up moments later and immediately wrote down every detail of our interaction so that I would never forget it.
39. A Good Allergic Reaction
For me, there was this feeling of death. My OD was a suicide attempt, and everything became blurry. The room was shaking. I laid down and put myself to sleep, and felt an empty feeling/presence I can’t put into words. It felt like I was losing feeling of my body and then I was asleep. I knew I was dying. And then an absolute miracle occurred.
I woke up due to the fact I was allergic to what I overdosed on, and threw up for hours. This was the worst feeling I’ve ever felt, even though it ended up being a saving grace in the end. Still, I can’t put it into words, but that feeling of total emptiness and my brain accepting my own death will forever upset me, no matter what.
40. Acceptance May Be Key
I wasn’t clinically dead or anything, but in the hospital, my brain was swelling. The doctor told everyone I might not make it, including me. I felt an unbelievable sense of calm and comfort/goodwill and was totally content. It was really weird and I haven’t felt it since, but I wish I could. If that’s what death is like I’m OK with it.
No flashbacks, but some weird sort of flashing thoughts in my mind and that all-encompassing, overwhelming sense of comfort. I survived and made (mostly) a full recovery. My memories were messed up so I forgot things around the incident, as well as other random stuff. I had concussion-like symptoms for a couple months.
41. Like Nothing Else
As you’re dying, you start feeling tired in a way that you never quite have before (or will again, until you die for real). The sheer act of staying alive becomes exhausting. But then, suddenly, it’s all a blank. After that, the next thing I remember from my own experience is waking up from a coma a couple of weeks later.
You don’t even remember the actual moment of death, and it takes weeks for your mind to remember everything leading up to it. I was in a ton of pain before and after because a couple of my organs were perforated, but dying itself wasn’t painful. I agree that I’m also not afraid of death anymore. Not even just because of the pain factor, but because it feels less unknown to me and there isn’t time for regret anyway when it actually happens.
42. To Keep You Company
A former coworker of mine died during heart surgery. I think she was out for about 90 seconds or close to it. She wasn’t religious or anything. She said that she remembers being in the room and seeing her dead uncle and cousin standing at the far end by the door, watching everything that was going on.
43. It’s the—Not Quite—Final Countdown
Heart attack. I was in the observation ward when my heart rate began to drop. Since I was being monitored, an alert was sent to the nurse’s station. All these people came rushing into my room and I could hear someone counting down my heart rate—50-40-30. At 30, I looked over and saw the crash cart sitting in my room and I asked a nurse what that was for.
She said, “Just in case.” My response was, “Just in case of what?” Suddenly it happened. My heart rate hit 20 and I passed out. I was sure I was a goner as they counted me down. Weird thing is, I didn’t feel any fear. It was almost like, “Oh well, I guess this is it.” Woke up with two stents and a pacemaker. No angels, white lights, or tunnels.
I would say nothingness, but even nothingness wasn’t there, if that makes any sense.
44. One Guy, Two Worlds
My near-death experience was weird. I left my body and moved up through the ceiling in the Intensive Care Unit. I moved through some walls and then back down under my body and reentered myself from below. When I wasn’t looking at anything in the hospital, I could also see a large, dark, black space with slivers of pulsing color that seemed to be on the edges of shapes.
So, I could see the hospital and also this dark “world” at the same time. I have no idea whether I was hallucinating or not.
45. Less Eternal Sleep, More Eternal Nap
I overdosed as we were leaving our hotel room after a weekend-long festival once. The last thing I remember is the most vivid memory of my life. I felt odd, and tried calling out to my husband as he left the room, while I tried to make it to the bed. I remember the words getting stuck in my throat and coming out weird, and a VERY brief moment of thinking “I’m about to die. Well, darn.”
And this split-second feeling of extreme guilt before I was out. Nothing flashed before my eyes or anything like that. I woke up on the floor surrounded by people and was told I’d just had a seizure that had gone on for several minutes. I was confused and didn’t understand. I didn’t get why everyone was panicking. In my mind, I’d woken up, so I must have been okay. I wasn’t.
I could barely speak or remember anything, or move. I apparently kept trying to close my eyes, kept getting shaken awake with the whole, “If you close your eyes now, you’re not going to come back” warning.
46. Near-Death During Birth
I lost 2.5 liters of blood in childbirth. Midwives hadn’t realized, despite me telling them how unwell I felt and that I was going to be sick. It wasn’t until I sort of passed out and remember them saying blood pressure was something over zero. It was the worst they’d ever seen. They hit the buzzers, a lot of people came rushing in and I just laid there for what felt like a long time.
I felt everything go quiet, but it wasn’t peaceful, just absolute sadness consumed me that my husband was about to be left without me and that my new son wouldn’t have a mummy. A lot of oxygen, drugs, and a couple packs of emergency blood transfusion later and thankfully, I was OK. Still very mentally scarred by the whole thing.
But the main moral of the story is—please give blood if you can. It’s only thanks to the kindness of strangers my baby has a mamma and bleeding out during childbirth is a lot more common than I ever realized.
47. No Use Wasting Vacation Days
I was in an alcoholic coma. When I woke up, I asked for a pen and paper and said I had to go to work.
48. Unique Vantage Point
When I was around six or seven years old, I got rushed to the hospital by my parents one day because they had heard me breathing really loud and hard. The last thing I remembered was the faces of the doctors and nurses above me while I was lying on my back. Then I flatlined. The weirdest, most inexplicable thing happened to me then and there.
I could suddenly see the whole scene as a spectator, as if I was a floating spirit in that room. I could see myself getting revived, saw my mom crying, and saw my dad comforting her. Then, I saw a white entity shaped like my body, falling through the ceiling and slowly, like a leaf on the wind, falling down to eventually land inside my body. That’s when the experience ended.
I was put into a medically induced coma, and I woke up after some days. I don’t remember any of that part. I had stuff plugged into me, including an IV and a red glowing elastic ring on my finger. Anyway, I later mentioned to the doctors that I had seen it all. I told them that I had seen them using the defibrillators, saw my parents’ reactions, etc.
No one really believed me, and they told me that I was probably just dreaming or biasing my memories due to watching TV—but I know what I saw!
49. To Be a Fly on the Wall…
My dad (an emergency room doctor) told me about this woman in a coma he saw during his residency. The experience taught him a very important lesson. You need to treat everyone like they’re a fully aware and conscious person, even people in comas. He and the other residents would all do their rounds; they had regular patients at the hospital, and they would go from room to room checking on them with the attending physician who instructed them.
One woman was in a deep coma for weeks (months? I’m a little hazy on the details, but it was a long time). Every time they’d come in, he’d say “Hi Ms. ____, I’m Dr ____ and I’m just here to check on you!”. He talked to her like she was listening to him, explaining what he was doing to her step-by-step, and a lot of the other doctors thought it was kind of silly.
I mean, she’s in a coma, so she can’t be listening, right? Well, time goes by and the woman wakes up, all of a sudden. They’re doing their rounds, and he walks in the room and says something. She immediately recognizes his voice: she came into the hospital in a coma and never saw the man, and never heard him talk while she was awake before that day.
She immediately recognizes his voice and says “Oh, I remember you! You’re the one that was so nice to me!” That makes comas seem really terrifying to me: the fact that she was conscious enough to recognize not only a voice, but how someone treated her while she was in a coma. Still, shows you that you can’t just assume someone isn’t listening, just because they aren’t talking.
50. Surf’s Down
I was surfing and wiped out. Normal occurrence. But there was suddenly a large, fast set of waves. I couldn’t get up. Every time I surfaced for air another wave crashed down on me. I became disoriented and had a moment where I couldn’t tell which way was up anymore. It looked beautiful and the panic quickly turned to resignation and peace. I was totally ok with drowning at that moment.
I relaxed enough that I was able to surface and there was a break in waves, so I managed to surface and get to shore. It was the strangest feeling.
51. Zapped Through the Heart
In the ambulance after falling on ice and “acting like more of a jerk than usual” according to a coworker. As we’re rolling along, and I went DOWN. Stopped breathing, heart into fibrillation, started Grand mal seizures, and thought “Oh my God, I’m gonna die.” It was a panic unlike anything I’ve every experienced before—and the worst was yet to come.
Because then…nothing. Then they zapped me and rebooted my heart, and the panic started all over again. Three times over four hours until they just put me in a coma.
When I died, I saw my grandpa. We talked for a while and he said that I could choose whether I wanted to go back with him or stay. I looked down and saw myself in that hospital bed with my brother holding my hand. He felt it turn cold and I never saw him cry that way before. I went back into my body and instantly felt more pain than I ever knew in my life.
I’ve been in recovery for the past year and I’ve lost most of my memory, but I’m still so happy I got to see Grandpa again.
53. What Dreams May Come
When I had sleeping paralysis for the first time. It was late and I couldn’t sleep, then a red-eyed man walked in my direction staring at me and I couldn’t breathe. I tried to scream for help or move but I couldn’t. My eyes started closing and I couldn’t stop it. He was standing by my side and that’s when I thought, “Oh, so that’s what death is like.” All I remember after that was waking up in the morning really confused.
54. Rip Van Winkle You Are Not
Being in a coma isn’t like you see in movies. Nothing happens. Your brain just shuts off. You know when you’re little and you stay the night at a friend’s house? When you wake up you can’t remember where you’re at and get nervous for a second until you remember? That’s EXACTLY what it feels like to wake up from a coma but it never finally “clicks.”
I woke up from a two-month coma after a bad wreck where I broke my neck, hip, couldn’t walk, etc. I could tell I was in the hospital but didn’t know why or what happened. For some reason, I thought I was 60 (and I had been comatose for 30 years). In fact, I had been in a coma for two whole months and was in my late 20s.
Doctors are amazed I survived a two-month coma (which is very unlikely) so this may be the longest period of time you’ll get a legit answer. But of course, people always have stories that are like, “My cousin was in a three-year coma and said…” However, it’s insanely rare that people will “wake up” after even months.
55. The Astral Plane
I floated out of my body and looked down on the room, saw the medical staff trying to revive me and just felt awesome. In a very detached way, I thought “Well, my family’s gonna be pissed.” But physically, I just felt like I was floating and very, very content. I remember being excited to see what was next. Then I was revived. It was a great experience.
56. Green Light Means Go in
I was fifteen and full of hormones and bad ideas. Those two things are notorious in being the right ingredients for the perfect disaster. My girlfriend at the time missed me in the middle of a post-St. Patrick’s Day March night and wanted to see me, so I snuck out. It was around the beginning of spring, so I underestimated how quickly the weather could change.
I dressed lightly because it was really beginning to feel like spring and my desire to lose my virginity made me suddenly oblivious to the fact that she lived on a hill 10 miles away in rural Northern Pennsylvania. As I rose in elevation, the inverse effect happened to the temperature, and I was too stubborn to turn around because I would be there “any second.”
It turns out that I took a wrong turn, so I was completely lost and alone in a snowstorm so dense that I couldn’t see in front of myself. That wasn’t even the scariest thing. The scary thing was, I was quickly dehydrating and my clothes were getting progressively more soaked, and then my phone died. I wandered for what felt like hours, screaming for someone to help to no one in particular. It was all an idiot teenager could have thought to do.
I never did get help in the way that I had wanted. Instead, I saw a bright green light in the middle of nowhere, so I stumbled toward it with the rest of my energy and found myself at a glass door with a shamrock shaped light over it. I tried the door and—it opened. So I went in and collapsed next to the wood stove inside.
I awoke to my clothes being dried and an older woman asking me if I wanted breakfast. I broke into this lady’s house and she was asking if she could do anything for me. I was so lucky, and I thanked her every second that I could that morning. To get home, I helped her relatives down the road with some early morning manual labor, as they lived on a farm.
Once I paid my way home, my mom whipped the ever-living daylight right out of me for being so stupid. I won’t deny that I deserved it, because I really could have died in that storm. Sometimes, fate just cuts us a break.
57. Say It Ain’t “O”!
I was in a coma for two weeks because of swine flu. During this time, Oprah announced she was ending The Oprah Winfrey Show. I was very upset to learn this after the fact. Mostly because the TV running in my room plus the drugs they gave me to keep me under gave the most cinematic dreams I’ve ever experienced—somehow the news of Oprah retiring filtered into my brain as dreaming about saving the whales with her in a submerged Chicago.
We had champagne brunch. It was excellent. I was also a superhero who could fly and fought my enemies on the rims of volcanoes. And then I woke up and not only could I not fly, but my buddy Oprah had betrayed me into retirement. I was crushed.
58. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Garcia
When I was maybe six or so, my friend and I thought it’d be a good idea to play in her pool without her mom there. I didn’t know how to swim and found myself slipping into the deep end. For a while, I was panicking and struggling against the water. I held my breath as long as I could and eventually started to breathe in the water, which made me panic more until eventually, I stopped resisting.
Eventually, this great sense of calm came over me. I remember pooping my pants and not caring. The last thing I remember was looking up and seeing the light dance and refract beautifully against the water with so many colors. Then it just went black. Apparently, my friend who could swim got her mom who did CPR on me long enough for an ambulance to come.
My lungs were full enough of water that I was medically drowned. My mom was at the hospital and they were scared that even if I woke up I would have brain damage. But I woke up fine. Then I told my mom the strangest thing. In my delirium, I told her that God has big hands and that I saw Jerry Garcia. I’ve kept a picture of Jerry Garcia in my room since high school to watch over me.
59. Too Young to Be Heartbroken
Had a heart attack at 34. I wasn’t feeling well when I got home from dinner and took my blood pressure to find it was 190/120. Didn’t call 911, and my SO drove me to the ER. ER took their dear sweet time admitting me. While they were putting a stent in my heart, I realized I didn’t hear the beep from the heart monitor for 4-5 seconds.
Turns out they were resetting the rhythm of my heart at the time. Most people either don’t notice or are unconscious at the time. After asking why I didn’t have a heartbeat, it left enough of an impression for the nurse to come ask about it the next day. Closest to death I’ve ever been.
60. All the Colors of the Pain-bow
When I was a kid, I was messing around in our house that was under construction. I fell through the open floor to the floor below. My brother saw me land on my head and called 9-1-1. I “woke up” the next day watching TV and eating Teddy Grahams in the hospital. Then I don’t remember anything until a few days later when I was at home. But I learned the truth.
My parents said I was never unconscious because I was complaining the entire time, and I was able to eat and use the restroom on my own, but I don’t remember a thing. I’m colorblind where I have a hard time seeing green; it comes across as blue, grey, or brown most of the time. Yellow and purple are also hard for me. I didn’t actually realize I was colorblind for a few years. I found out that the type I have can be caused by a head injury.
61. You Leave Me Breathless
Ran out of air while scuba diving. There are few accidents in diving, but this was one of them. I’m a cautious diver and have had a great teacher, so I checked my gear carefully back at the resort and again on the boat. All good, all working. When I turned on the air, the air gauge read 200. As it should be. So, we went in.
33m wreck dive. Kept close watch of the time, the depth, and the remaining air while we were down there. We were well within our time (and depth limit) when I grew a little suspicious. The air gauge had been at around 80 for a bit too long. Didn’t think much of it yet, though, so I shook it off. After a minute or two, I’m checking it again: still at 80.
Now I’m growing concerned, signaling to my buddies, but it’s still all good—we’re basically on our way back up anyways. Then I notice that my breaths are growing slower and longer and I’m finding it harder to focus—have so for a while, actually—and realize the awful truth. My air gauge must have gotten stuck and stopped counting down while I slowly ran out of air.
Here’s the thing: You don’t just suddenly breathe “against a wall,” but instead it creeps up on you while your brain slowly gets deprived of oxygen, so when you actually realize what’s going on, it’s nearly too late. So, the “this is it” moment? Actually, not that exciting; I was rather content with everything at that point, which scared me more than anything else. I didn’t feel much, I didn’t think much; I more or less had made my peace.
Then—thank God—my self-preservation drive and good training got the better of me and I managed to signal my buddies. The eejit of a diving guide wanted to check my air gauge first, so I was up and about to kill him and leave his body. I managed to wrestle the alternate air supply from him so he realized I wasn’t screwing around.
After that? Rather underwhelming, actually. You faced death and then, suddenly, you can think—and breathe—again and it’s all good. I’ve dived again, after, and would do so in a heartbeat: it actually made me feel safer, since I saw that I could handle a difficult situation and come out on top.
62. The Dark Knight
Okay, so when I was 13 or 14, my heart stopped. For no real reason, it just did. My heart’s been bad ever since. Anyway, obviously they managed to revive me but its really strange to explain that everything was just black, but not like I was sleeping and didn’t remember it. It was like a tangible black. Like I was just floating in black.
I really want to stress that it wasn’t like being in a pitch-black room. Its almost like I was the blackness. I was just this blackness, existing. I remember it so vividly, which is the strangest part.
63. Good Idea at the Time
I had a chance to see a girl I had a huge crush on. Drove two hours to have long, meaningful conversations—not a euphemism, sigh—until 2 AM. I left super exhausted and drove home. I wasn’t familiar with the area, and this was before mobile navigation. I took a wrong turn and quickly got lost. I was too tired to make coherent decisions and realized driving was a bad idea, so I looked for a place to pull off the road and take a nap.
This was winter in New Hampshire. I had dressed for freezing temperatures—from my car to her door. Fancy date shirt and a wool trench coat—it was the 90s, don’t judge. No hat, no gloves, no scarf. It was fine for 30 degrees. While I was on my date, a cold front moved through and it dropped from 30 degrees to negative 14, not counting wind chill.
As soon as I turned the car off, it got COLD, and I started shivering wildly. I knew leaving the car running while I slept was a good way to die of carbon monoxide poisoning, so I would run the heater, get the car as warm as I could, turn it off, and close my eyes to nap. When it got so cold that I started shivering, I would wake up, start the car, and turn the heater back on for a few minutes.
I had a few cycles of this, sleeping in 20-minute increments and waking up shivering. Then one time I cracked an eye open and noticed a good 40 minutes had passed. “Good!” I thought, “It must be warming up. I’m not shivering at all!” I was about to close my eyes again when I noticed frost building up on the inside of the window nearest to my head.
I thought it was funny how much warmer I felt when my breath was still freezing on the inside of the car. Then I remembered something eerie. It came to me that one of the symptoms of severe hypothermia was a lack of shivering, and not feeling cold. I started the car and drove the rest of the way home on an adrenaline burst. I’m convinced that if I’d gone back to sleep I would have died.
64. Slow Things Down
I was in a motorcycle accident when I was 18. I was going 110 km/hr (68 MPH) when I was thrown from my bike. My bike was destroyed. After the paramedics realized I was OK they told me I shouldn’t have lived through that, let alone get up and walk away afterward. I know the whole thing was over in a matter of seconds but it seemed like an hour.
There were lots of good memories going through my mind and the feeling I had was so peaceful and calming. I ended up losing consciousness but when I came to I remember being so happy I had another opportunity.
65. Save Me, Mother Nature!
I almost choked to death hanging from a tree once because my coat got caught as I was climbing down. It was scary as a kid because I didn’t know what to expect, let alone what was actually going on. It was very strange to be almost asphyxiated by a darned branch.
66. Making up for Lost Time
My girlfriend of six years was in a severe car crash when she was 16. Both of her best friends died instantly. She was the only survivor, but they didn’t think she would make it. She was in a coma for nine months. She was in what is called a waking coma. She retained normal periods of sleep and open-eyed wakefulness, but no higher brain functions.
Here are some strange things about her experience. She doesn’t have any memories of the year prior or the year-and-a-halfish after her coma and obviously no memories of the car crash. She suffered a traumatic brain injury and when she first got out of the coma, she would get naked and sexual with people and anger very easily. These are common problems of people who suffer a TBI.
She went back to school after the coma, but her brain was still healing a lot. She was held back another year because her brain was still not retaining anything. Today she is a wonderful, bright 30-year-old with a college degree. She has a slight speech impediment, gets frustrated easier than most, and it took her a while to get driving down. Honestly, she still scares the hell out of me when she drives, but there are worse drivers out there.
67. School Days
My girlfriend is anaphylactic. Her allergy is triggered by a chemical called salicylate (found in pretty much every food). When she was in high school, she had her first big reaction. Then the medics made a horrific mistake. For some inexplicable reason, the nurses at her school refused to administer her EpiPen (adrenaline shot) until the ambulance got there.
Now, obviously, having an anaphylactic reaction doesn’t give you a lot of “waiting time,” so by the time the ambulance arrived at her school she was already in pretty bad shape and barely conscious. The paramedics immediately administered one of her EpiPens, called the nurses “freaking dummies,” and loaded her into the ambulance just as her mother arrived on the scene.
She continued to fade, so they gave her a direct injection of adrenaline this time. Still nothing. They gave her a second direct injection of adrenaline, and this time it hit her about 30 seconds later all at once. Her heart suddenly began to fail. She stopped breathing and had no pulse. Nothing. She was dead to the world at that point.
For two minutes and 46 seconds, she was clinically dead. And the scariest thing is, she saw nothing. She tells me that when you are losing consciousness, you can’t tell the difference between waves of drowsiness and when your body actually shuts down. All she saw was the darkness of her eyelids, and it felt like going into an extremely calm sleep where she couldn’t hear or feel anything—and she says she didn’t mind it.
This was all despite the fact that her mother and the paramedics were screaming at her to keep her eyes open as the ambulance was flying towards the hospital. She miraculously just came back to life almost three minutes later as they were giving her chest compressions, and the cardiologist that assessed her later stated that all the adrenaline in her body was enough to not only stop her heart, but to also restart it with the little help from the paramedic team pumping it around.
Everyone was very thankful—but still to this day, she can’t differentiate between falling asleep after a long day and dying.
68. Shout out to the Mouse
I was 18 months old and was visiting family in Richmond, VA. My dad and uncle took garbage cans across the city street and I ran out after them. A car hit me, and I flew ten feet down the street and bounced. My mom screamed as she watched thinking I was dead. Then I let out a massive wail. My aunt and her were nurses, who rushed me to my Aunt’s hospital.
Much to everybody’s relief, my only injuries were scrapes and bruises. Toddler bodies are still pretty pliant. There was just one thing that saved my life. I was wearing my favorite Mickey Mouse Ears cap. The woman that hit me only saw the ears and then slammed on the brakes. Otherwise, she would have kept on trucking and mowed me down.
69. Too Little to Be Beat by the Odds
At three months old, I had a weird cough. My mom was persistent enough to get a few opinions. One doctor thought better to be safe than sorry. When the results came back, his jaw dropped. Had a cyst on my lung and went immediately to surgery. Doctor told my parents to go home and prepare my stuff because I had a 1% chance of living. To add to it, I had a sister die exactly a year before at three months old.
I have a two-year-old now and I can’t imagine how my parents got through all of it. I’ve been to my sister’s grave (never knew her obviously) many times, but the first time I went as a parent I couldn’t get within ten feet before I completely lost it. 99% chance of doubling that pain for my parents.
70. The Godfather Part 2
Can I speak for my Godfather here? He went into heart surgery to have a triple bypass done and died on the operating table (classic flatline, like you see in the movies). He told us that he went into the next life twice, and both times was given the choice to either stay with the living or come to heaven. Both times, he said, “I’ll stay.”
Once he got back, whenever he told the story, he insisted that it was very, very real. It wasn’t his brain dying, he really went somewhere. He lived for about 30 more years after that.
71. Rising to the Occasion
I was pronounced dead two times in the same night after a car accident I was in when I was 16. No one believes what happened next, but it’s true. My great-grandma pulled me out of the car and we walked through this really peaceful field of flowers together. When I woke up two weeks later, she was sitting on the edge of my bed and told me to tell my mom that everything was going to be okay.
My great-grandma had died when I was only 10. Before that, she had been bedridden for years due to a stroke. I never saw her walk or heard her talk in my entire life. It was amazing and beautiful.
72. In It for the Long Hall
When my mother was clinically dead, she says she experienced a long corridor with arched doorways. One of the doors was open, and she says she refused to go inside. She had suffered a massive stroke at the age of 27 from a spinal tap done a week earlier.
73. You’ll Know Death When You See Him
I was in an induced coma for five days after heart surgery due to a reaction to anesthesia. Don’t remember anything from the time I left my room for surgery till after waking up. When finally awake still had a breathing tube in my throat so I could not talk. With all the pain meds I really couldn’t feel anything. I wasn’t sure if I still had my heart or if I was on a machine.
The only thing I could think to write on the note pad was “Am I dying?” The doctor’s response made my blood run cold. She said, “Do you feel like you’re dying?” I wrote, “I don’t know.” She said, “Then you’re not dying.”
74. Groundhog Day
I 2014, I was hit by a car and sent flying about two meters across the road. My head hit the ground first and I slid on my face for about one meter as well. I was out cold instantly and the doctor said I was on the brink of death and if the ambulance wasn’t called sooner I would have died. I didn’t have my life flash before my eyes, but I had a dream where I relived the day.
I saw my friend run into my backyard where my parents were and get them. It was like I was invisible and was watching the whole thing out of my body. Then about give minutes after I was hit—in the out of body version—I woke up in the hospital about to have a CT scan.
75. Listen to Your Father
My dad says he had a classic near-death experience several years before I was born. It was from very severe food poisoning. He saw the blinding white light at the end of the tunnel and loved ones who had long since died. There was a barrier between him and them that he really wanted to cross, but they told him something that saved him. They said to turn back because it was not his time to go.
He says the entire time he felt an indescribable feeling of love and peace and he did not want to leave. I don’t know if what my dad experienced is anything more than a surge of chemicals in the brain as it shuts down, but I trust his feelings are genuine and that he wouldn’t make something like this up. He says it has completely removed his fear of dying.
76. Everything Went Black
I know what’s behind the veil. I died from an asthma attack after being taken off of prednisone after being on it for about 2 years or so. I remember before waking up and everything in my vision was red and black, and I was in a complete panic at that point in time so all I remember physically doing was hitting my nebulizer to starting taking an albuterol dose and at that point, it was too late.
The movement itself was completely reflexive because I’d been used to waking up struggling to breathe in the middle of the night for weeks after stopping the prednisone, including multiple ER visits and things like that. Anyway, I blacked out with the nebulizer running and fell over onto my bed and at that point, I wasn’t breathing anymore.
My neb was going and luckily, I reckon, my cord got tangled up in my arms and came off the nebulizer so it was loudly spewing out compressed air. The only thing I saw was my mother walking around the house. More specifically, I was floating in the hallway, above a bookcase that used to be there, looking down the hall.
I saw my mom walk out of her bedroom and go to the bathroom, leave the bathroom, stop in the hallway, walk down it to either go out the back door or to the kitchen, and then after what I’d reckon to be 2 minutes or less, walk into my bedroom. At that point, my dad was already in there doing CPR on me to try and get me breathing again.
She always told me how my color was ash grey, my lips were blue and my eyes were rolled back into my head. When I was watching her though, it reminds me of watching something through cloudy water, like if you take a pair of goggles and put milky water in them and then put them on, everything kind of stretches and vibrates and your perspective is different because you’re looking through the water.
I can still remember that to this day. Afterward, once she went into my room, I guess I gave up or my soul or whatever extension of my consciousness got bored and went down because I really don’t know what happened after that. All I can say is it felt like time was passing me by at a very fast speed, like nothing I’ve ever felt before.
It was like sitting in a dark room with nothing around you. You can you can start to feel time passing you, moment to moment, and then it sped up by about a million or a trillion times normal speed. Like, becoming a mass of energy and then just compressing down and riding the wave of time, still within myself but consciously aware of a void.
77. Wrong Kind of Drive-Thru
While I was checking inventory at a liquor store I worked at in college, a lady drove her car through the building in the exact spot I was standing. If I had been just five inches to the right, she could have pinned me to death between the shelving. Literally experienced one of the two fears I had about working in the store. There’s still a video of it.
78. The Ultimate Reward
My sister was shot while she was out walking her dogs one day in our small town in Alaska. The bullet ricocheted around, piercing her bowel in nine different places. Even though we had one of the best Rhodes Scholar doctors in the north at our ER, and the only flight out of town was miraculously minutes away from takeoff and held up to fly her to Anchorage.
She tragically bled out and died on the operating room table. She knows because she vividly remembers everything that the surgeons said as she lay dead on the table. What she told me later is remarkable. She recalls drifting up and into a very bright light. She was no longer in pain, and felt compelled to travel into the brilliance.
It led to an amazing river. Seriously, the look on her face when she describes this place helps me realize that radiant, endless joy is not just a possibility but an eventuality. She describes playing in a river that consisted of pure knowledge. Anything that she ever wanted to know was at her fingertips. As she played in this amazing river, she could sense figures on the distant shore.
They were our people, she explained. Our family. Our animals. All waiting patiently for her to finish playing in the river and wade towards them on the shore. Though she was not ready to leave the marvelous river, she knew without being told that they would wait patiently and joyfully. But she never made it to the shore. As she was playing an amazing thing happened.
Seriously, people, if you could see the look on her face when she describes this next part you would laugh for pure joy. A being approached her. She did not know what it was except to describe it as pure, unconditional, ebullient LOVE. It radiated love. It pulsed love. And ALL THINGS diminished before the radiance of that love.
The next part makes me chuckle a bit even though it seems out of place. She said it spoke to her and said that she had to go back, that it wasn’t her time. She said, like a little kid, “But I don’t want to.” When she recounts this experience, she emphasizes that to be in proximity of that being is ALL THERE IS. She describes it as a completion. A peace.
A welcoming. To leave was incomprehensible. But to decline was also incomprehensible. She felt infused with a purpose. Very, very, very reluctantly, she returned to life. She is amazing. They patched her femoral artery, but explained that the graft would eventually give. In all probability, she should have died within minutes.
Living with that sword of Damocles should be terrifying. No. To her, it’s a promise that she will get to return. Life is what we are here to do, she explains, but after…sweet, benevolent, and all-encompassing love awaits us. With every single breath she takes, my sister is always heartbeats away from death; yet I have never met anyone who is more alive. Fearless.
79. Have You Tried Rebooting Yourself?
I was in a motorcycle accident and was out for three weeks, woke up as the person I am today, not really as the person before (although I have a few of his memories). Found out that my hippocampus was damaged, so that accounted for the memory loss. I woke up remembering a lot of school stuff and things I read before but had a very hard time remembering/knowing people.
Didn’t totally recognize my dad, had no idea who my mom was. I was apparently dating a really pretty girl, but I have no idea who she was, no memory of her. We tried to make it work, but it was too weird; the old me was too different from the new me, and I felt no connection to her. There was one weird thing. I did become really good at philosophy and logic after I woke up, ended up going to college to study it, got a year left before I can lecture in it as well, so I guess that’s a plus.
It’s still weird sometimes people will approach me and greet me. They know so much about “me,” but I have no idea who they are. I usually have to explain to them what happened, and things get a little weird sometimes, but usually, end up making/remaking a friend.
80. The Bald Truth
Ten years ago. I was 18 years old. As I was taking a shower and washed my hair, I realized something terrible was happening. With every washing motion, I pulled out more and more of my own hair until I was bald. No reason, no warning, nothing, just the pure horror of pulling out hands full of my own hair and not knowing why.
The drain clogged with my hair as I silently stared in the mirror across the room at my own bald head. It felt like I was falling apart. Mentally and physically. I honestly thought I would die that day. It was a sudden auto-immune disease. “Alopecia overnight.” It was scary as hell. The weeks after I lost all my body hair as well.
My hair never returned, and I am very okay with it now, but I can never ever forget that moment in the shower…
81. The Cosmos
This one is a doozy. I was stabbed in the stomach with a fillet knife by my schizophrenic uncle when I was 15 years old. I remember freaking out, lying on the floor hyperventilating while I was bleeding out, I had tried to crawl up from my basement to phone 911 but I was so weak and every time I moved I started bleeding harder and making it worse.
I remember passing out and having the sensation like I was leaving a dark room and moving outside into the sun. I stopped panicking and this feeling of pure contentment settled over me. I was floating over a garden where all of the plants were giving off light, and I could see a huge amorphous shape above me that was made up of every color in existence.
The shape seemed familiar, like I was a part of it, and it was beckoning to me and filling me with pure ecstasy and understanding as I looked at it. Then a man walked over to me through the garden and told me that I couldn’t go home yet, that it wasn’t time. I started weeping but I was filled with a feeling of understanding, like I knew that I had to go back despite not wanting to.
The man had tears streaming down his face and he took my hand and led me back to my body, which was now in an ambulance. I didn’t have any religion in my upbringing, and I have never been inclined to believe in any sort of organized spirituality, but that experience was so vivid and otherworldly that it has convinced me that there are dimensions to existence that are beyond our current ability to grasp in a tangible, scientific way.
It felt like I had pressed my face up against some sort of veil and looked through a pinhole at something beyond imagining. People have told me that it was all just the simple product of brain chemistry and that there is nothing spooky about my experience, but I honestly have trouble taking them seriously because none of them had actually experienced anything like it.
82. Father Knows Best
It happened when I electrocuted myself. I had this weird hallucination where my deceased dad was next to me, and I asked him, “Am I dead?” and he calmly replied, “Nope. You can still go back. You’re way too young to die, so please don’t do something reckless like this again.” Before I could ask him anything else, I regained consciousness. I’m still glad that I had that experience.
83. Seeing Less but Hearing More
I had a seizure one time when I was younger. I couldn’t breathe as my parents hurried to call an ambulance and I was turning a deep shade of purple. While I was going through this mess, all I could see was a very foggy ceiling that felt oddly peaceful. I heard screaming in the back of my head and I felt like I would disappear.
I felt like nothing, almost like a ghost. Next thing that happened though is that I woke up in a hospital. Pretty weird, but okay.
84. Out in the Cold
I think I’ve had a near-death experience. I had a mild accident in the snow and I wasn’t getting much air into me. It was a very peaceful experience, there was little to no pain and there were bright swirls of light in the sky, similar to watching the reflections of a lake. I felt my vision go darker at the edges and a floating feeling. I just felt my limbs fall away, like when you lie in bed with everything relaxed completely. Even in the falling snow, I felt warm.
I was in a car accident when I was seven. I shattered my skull, broke my left shoulder, and had cerebral hemorrhaging. I came in and out of consciousness a few times afterward while being transported to the hospital and I specifically remember waking up in the helicopter and looking out at all of the buildings. Then things got weird.
The buildings started to change color and transformed into strange shapes. I was tripping HARD. I saw very bright lights and everything felt extremely peaceful and I didn’t question one moment of it. I’m not completely sure if my body was going through the theorized “DMT dump” or if this was some other effect caused by brain damage.
Still, if the amazing doctor who I owe my life to had not suspected hemorrhaging, I would have died that night. I only stayed in the hospital for a week after surgery, and the only remaining damage from this incident is a pretty rad “headband” scar from ear to ear and three plates in my head. The thing is, the story gets even better.
10 years later, I was out eating with my father, and he spotted the EMS workers that responded to the accident. I got to thank them! Greatest moment ever.
86. What a Wonderful Feeling
I had an experience while doing whitewater rafting training that the doctors can only explain as “a self percussive cardiac restart.” Honestly, it was such a pleasant experience, minus the broken rib. Background—I was jumping into shallow water for rescue drills—this was intended—when I landed with my entire bodyweight on a pointed rock straight to the center of my chest. If not for my PFD it would’ve caved my rib cage.
Instead, I rolled on my back and yelled, “Oh my god that hurt!” and then I wasn’t conscious for about 30 seconds. I remember SOMETHING—but I can’t express what it was. It’s not like when you go under anesthesia and just blink to the future, I just remember I felt fantastic. Like, better than a good drug high fantastic.
87. The Door’s Open
My aunt had an experience like this when she was 18. She always suffered chronic seizures that made her pass out. One day, she had one while no was around, she was later found by my grandmother. The doctors luckily arrived in time to resuscitated her. She explained her incredible experience. She said that she was in the brightest, most peaceful hallway.
She wandered aimlessly through it until she found a massive door closed on one end. She told my grandmother that she tried as hard as she could to open the door. Tapping, slamming, even kicking it would not allow the doors to break free. She looked back to see the back of the corridor gone, replaced with an emergency room.
She was lying on a stretcher while multiple nurses/doctor were frantically working to revive her. She gave up on the door, turned around and left for the surgery room. She inevitably reached the room and re-entered her body. She passed away at the age of 42, about nine months ago. Heart failure after multiple seizures. She left behind two young daughters and a husband. We like to think that the door opened for her.
88. Peace Overtakes Pain
I was hit by a car three years ago—February 11, 2016. I was walking across the road with one of my friends and they crossed the road and I waited a few seconds and then crossed but I was very short at the time and couldn’t see the car coming. I remember seeing the car coming on the right-hand side of me and the next thing I remember is being hit from the right side and flying through the air and landing with a thud on the side of the road and then hearing the tires screech.
Luckily, the only injury I sustained was a compound fracture to both the bones in my right leg, meaning the bones snapped completely in half and came out of my leg and as they snapped. When they came out of the skin, they snapped the artery in the leg and all the nerves. I went into shock from the injury so I couldn’t feel any pain besides the burning from the hot road—Australian summer weather.
I looked down at my leg and noticed the blood coming from my sock pouring all over the road and my leg bent in half and thought, “Well it’s broken alright.” Then I just remember being surrounded by people. I called my mum and since I was in shock I wasn’t distressed or crying, she didn’t believe me when I told her I was hit by a car. I was so calm she thought I was kidding.
I lost a lot of blood at this stage and had a seizure and passed out, but I didn’t think it was serious, so I kept trying to move and get up only to be held down by bystanders. I remember this white ring in my vision that kept getting bigger and bigger, blocking my eyesight. It started from the edge of my sight closing in.
Like everyone else seems to be saying, I don’t remember any “life flashing before my eyes” or anything like that, I just remember feeling extremely tired and losing vision. I felt so at peace and relaxed like it was a dream and I was ready to pass on if you will, not caring about what my death would mean to my family and all my friends.
89. Drunk but Not out
Drank way, way too much one night and started to throw up. Mid puke, my throat clamped shut and I couldn’t get the vomit out nor air in. Last thing I remembered was being on my hands and knees on my bathroom floor as everything went black. Only one thought was running through my mind. I was afraid of how my wife and kid were going to find me and that my kid was going to grow up thinking I was the biggest loser ever for dying like that.
I woke up sometime later draped over the side of the bathtub. I called my wife and had her take me to the ER to get checked out. Nothing in my lungs and nothing broken or ruptured. The doctor surmised that I’d unconsciously made one last-ditch effort to save my sorry butt and stood up and dropped down abdomen first onto the side of the tub, which forced everything out so I could breathe again.
It’s also textbook what a person alone and choking should do to clear their airway before they get to the point of passing out. I haven’t drank that much since.
90. Fighting for Her Kids
My body was completely infected with sepsis. The emergency room staff had placed me in a tub of ice to try and help fight the fever. I had two IVs pumping I don’t know what all into me. Next thing I knew, everything was dark. I could feel other people around me. I felt so happy and light. I was free. There was no fear.
Somewhere I could hear my best friend yelling at me, “Don’t die. I am NOT raising your children.” My mind snapped to. Immediately, I knew I had to go back. There was no way I was going to let her near my children. Woke up right afterward and was amazed at how heavy my limbs felt. I have no fear of dying now. I have raised my kids. And she is no longer my best friend.
91. Down by the River
I went swimming in a river with my family when I was about 12. There was a cave on the other side so my cousin, my stepbrother, and myself thought that we would swim across. We did not know that in the middle of the river was a gnarly undertow. All three of us got sucked under. I felt so helpless…water is actually really powerful I learned.
I was being bounced around on the bottom of the river and I was running out of air. I could feel myself blacking out. Then I hit this big boulder. As a last-ditch effort, I tried grabbing the boulder and was able to find a handhold, but it was too late. I blacked out. When I came to, I was flat on my back and my chest hurt.
I was on this big boulder with this dude and his girlfriend. It turns out that about the time I blacked out, the girlfriend saw me, and they worked together to grab one of my hands somehow. The dude started CPR and I woke up coughing out water. I was in tears. I hugged both of them and they helped me back to the riverbank.
And as for my cousin and stepbrother: my stepbrother ended up getting pretty hurt and need stitches in his scalp from being banged around. But my cousin…she ended up going to the hospital in an ambulance. They could not get her to start breathing at first, but then they were able to. She ended up having some brain damage, but she is fine nowadays.
92. Last Conversation
Dad was fearful in his last days. He had been to the hospital many times, and every single time he came close to death. What he remembered didn’t reconcile with what most people report when having a near-death experience. He, in fact, had a lot of bad experiences. There was one time in particular where he had to relive a day three times in a row—in which doctors sedated him, but he was still fully aware of what was happening to him.
He could hear the conversations, feel the pain, feel the choking and suffocation. When I saw him the next day following that whole ordeal, he had tears in his eyes as he tried to communicate a question on how many days he had been out. When I told him one day, he was really confused and it took him a while to wrap his head around it.
He thought he had gone to hell and that this was his eternal punishment, that this was absolutely it. He pondered for a long time on what he could have done to deserve that as a punishment. He did not ever want to be in the hospital. He had hated hospitals for his whole life, and that experience made him hate them even more.
Dad’s last trip via ambulance, he actually walked out to the ambulance willingly, and this time, it wasn’t because of the usual shortness of breath, it was because of chest pains. I was sure that this was going to be a short stay and he’d be back soon. During his last stay, he experienced more sedation, more hallucinations, and more disorientation.
I went to visit him every single day to get an update on his status. One night in particular, they had considerable trouble getting his heart rate down. It was steadily beating at about 160, then it would calm to 120 or so before going back up to 160. It wasn’t good for him. Then, the next time he was up, I walked in right around his dinner time.
He couldn’t wait to talk to me, but he could barely speak. It took all of his effort and energy, but he had some things to say.
Dad: Son, I know without a doubt that there is an afterlife.
Me: How are you so sure? You’ve been seeing guns on the ceiling and all kinds of hallucinations…
Dad: That wasn’t me, I wasn’t here.
Me: You weren’t here?
Dad: I was there.
Me: Okay well…did you see anyone you knew?
Dad: (Shaking his head no) It’s not like that. You can see souls being born into life and it’s the most beautiful thing you can see. Time doesn’t exist there. Time is here because of us and we’re here because of time. Ohhh, I should have done more. (Looking at his hands) I could have been another Jimmy Page! (referring to his skill as a guitarist). I could have done more…
Me: But you were the greatest dad!
Dad: (Smirking a little to indicate that isn’t what he meant) Do more. Do everything you can!
Me: So…like carpe diem? Like seize the day?
Dad: (Brightens up) Yes! Do everything you can. Don’t worry about the consequences. Everyone finds their way. People worry too much about the consequences. Just do good and do as much as you can. Everyone eventually gets there. Tell the family…
Me: Can I tell everyone?
Dad: Yes, tell everyone…
Me: Okay, Dad. I’ll tell everybody!
Dad: (Nods in agreement)
(I can tell he’s tired by this time)
Me: I love you Dad.
Dad: I love you too, Son.
This was the last conversation that I had with him. I miss him terribly and have been trying real hard to find myself again after his passing. It’s been a long time and I’ve been able to cope with it just enough to finally write this all out. I hope this finds someone who needs to hear it.
93. That’s What Guardian Angels Are for
This is my personal most terrifying near-death experience. I went to Tanzania a few years ago with a large group of people to do work experience in a hospital. On one of our days off, we were taken to this big waterfall. Everyone was paddling around the river/plunge pool but I was like “heck yeah, swim time baby.”
I was swimming up to the waterfall against the force of the water pushing me back. I was swimming hard against it, thinking it was like a water treadmill. Suddenly, I got too close and found myself sucked down by the falling water, maybe four meters under. I was getting rolled head over heels for about 30 seconds. Then I clocked what was happening.
I remember very clearly thinking in my head, “Swim up, you’re going to drown,” so I swam to what I thought was the surface, put my hand above me to feel around and felt the bottom of the pool. I was so disoriented from being thrown around I couldn’t work out which way was up and started to panic and thrash around with my arms.
I felt a rock wall and kicked against it as hard as I could, which managed to push me out of the water sucking me down and into water moving downriver. My head found the surface and I came up gasping for air. No one out of the maybe 15 people I was with had noticed I’d disappeared under the water for about one to two minutes.
Nothing flashed before my eyes, but it was weird how cut and dry my thoughts became. They were like a separate person giving me specific instructions to not die in my own head.
94. What Did I Miss?
I can tell you what a friend of mine told me. He went into the hospital for surgery right before Thanksgiving, and it didn’t go well. He slowly came to in the hospital and he noticed his wife beside him. He croaked something out because his voice was terrible, and his suddenly wife burst into tears. When he was able to get to the point where he could ask why, she answered, “You’ve been in a coma for over 10 weeks; it’s February.” He thought he was in the recovery room after surgery.
95. This Is Not a Drill
It happened with a shock. My roommates woke me up at 4 am screaming my name. I thought they were playing a joke on me. I laughed, rolled out of bed, walked to the stairs, looked down and they were opening the front door. Fire leapt through. That was our only door out. My roommates slammed the door and ran upstairs.
We went to a window and noxious black smoke was bellowing from below. My instinct was to get away from the smoke and wait to be saved. My roommate had the wherewithal to take the screen out and get us to climb out onto the roof anyway. My other roommate almost jumped four stories down, but thank God she didn’t.
We used another apartment’s window to get in and then down and out. We were panicked but the one roommate kept a clear head and saved our lives. Or 24-year-old neighbor wasn’t so lucky.
96. Not a Highway to Heaven Today
This last summer, I happened to run into someone I knew from school at McDonald’s. We were talking about cars and he was very excited as he had just purchased his first car from his grandparents, a 2008 Ford Taurus. We go out into the parking lot to look at his car and he is really excited to take us for a ride.
My friend and I reluctantly agree. As I’m reaching for my seat belt, I get a weird feeling in my gut. I thought that maybe I would be needing it. We get onto a busy road, and about a mile or two down the road he gets into the left turn lane. The light was a blinking yellow arrow, meaning he should yield to traffic.
My friend in the backseat and I in the front seat alert the driver that a truck is coming, but he ignores our warnings. About mid-way through the turn, I see a beautiful 1991 GMC Jimmy coming straight at my door, on a 55 mph road. I thought this was the end, that the Jimmy was going to tear right through the door.
I silently said a prayer and closed my eyes. Time seemed to slow down and eventually the impact took place. At the last minute, the Jimmy driver (God bless him) must have swerved out of the way and impacted the front fender instead of my door. Kid’s car was totaled, and the Jimmy had to be towed away as well. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured, but I thought for a brief moment that it was going to be the end of me.
97. Won’t Let It Happen Again
I had a pulmonary embolism during an emergency c-section. My husband already lost the mother of his first child and I knew I was not OK, so I forced myself to look away from him so he wouldn’t watch me die as I watched my stats drop. All I could think was “darn” and went black. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.
Pretty quickly though, I felt a burning in my arm and chest, immediately followed by such a surge of energy I felt I could run a mile, a combo of a quick-acting blood thinner—I think, I never really asked, or if I did, I was pretty out of it—and adrenaline. So no, my life didn’t flash before my eyes. I was pleading with myself to not let my husband see me die.
98. Like Something out of a Movie
My aunt died in the hospital several years ago. She was clinically dead for a few minutes. In that time, she had an unbelievable experience. She says she floated above the operating table and saw them trying to revive her. She says she felt a pull on her and flew out through the very top of the room. She remembered very clearly floating above the light fixture on the ceiling and then there being darkness.
Suddenly she found herself floating above the ground several inches just above a field of dirt. In front of her was a very large chasm, deep, very dark, she couldn’t see the bottom of it from where she was. On the other side of the chasm was a beautiful field. Green grass, flowers, trees and sunlight. On her side of the chasm it was overcast and very little light, no vegetation, just brown dirt.
She felt the same force that pulled her out through the ceiling of the hospital start pulling her across the chasm. As she started floating over the chasm these hands reached out of the blackness and started pulling at her, almost like ripping the flesh from her legs and feet. She says it was the worst feeling of pain and cold she had ever experienced and it horrified her.
After what seemed like forever she reached the other side of the chasm and the hands went away. The feeling of pain and terror was replaced with a feeling of happiness and contentment and warmth. Several family members that had been dead for some time were there and they seemed to be beckoning her over. She was going to the field when she heard the doctor say something.
It sounded like it echoed very loudly from the other side of the chasm. Suddenly that force pulled her across the chasm again only this time much faster than she had been pulled over the first time. Again the hands came and again the cold. The hands ripped at her and she felt the pain she had felt before. Finally she came to the dirt side of the chasm again.
Then blackness. Then she was on the ceiling of her room in the hospital again and she saw her body spasm violently and her arm smacked the doctor’s arm, breaking his watch. Her spirit was pulled back into her body again and she heard him say something like “She’s back” and then blackness again. Several hours later she woke up and she was PISSED OFF, at first.
Then she realized she was alive and she thanked the doctor and apologized for breaking his watch. He was surprised because when she did that she was technically dead. I don’t know what she saw but she was very descriptive of what she thinks she saw. This was very long ago and she’s now on the other side of that chasm due to lung cancer.
99. Monster Hospital
Growing up, my father used to tell me of an experience he had while having open-heart surgery. The doctors had to stop his heart for about 20 or 30 minutes while they inserted a mechanical valve into his heart. At the time, he was in his early 20s and was involved in a lot of bad activity that he says he is ashamed of now.
Anyway, while my dad was “dead” he said he was in a very dark place and as he wandered around, he started running into very scary people who were deformed and screaming at him. He ran for his life into a corner and hid. And just before the people got to him, he looked up and saw his deceased grandmother reach her hand down and grab him.
The next thing my dad remembered, he was back in the hospital. He’s convinced he was temporarily in hell. I don’t know if this was just a dream state or something but I’ve never seen my dad so convinced in his life. It was enough for him to turn his life around and turn to religion and more importantly, to come back to his family that he had left behind.
100. No Privacy When Your Memory Is an Open Door
I was in a coma for two and a half months in 2015 when I was 27, following a serious car accident. When I woke up, I still had a tracheotomy and couldn’t speak. I don’t remember a darn thing from the time I was in a coma, but when I woke up, what I saw blew my mind. My new boyfriend at the time was standing there with my parents.
They were chatting to each other like they knew each other. I am a super private and had made every effort for them to not even know of him, so I found this disturbing. I also had no recollection of the accident for months and for a week or two after waking up I had to be retold where I was and what had happened every time I dozed off and woke up.
I had no idea where I was and I thought I was 23, not 27, over a period of months. I also had a really hard time recognizing faces. Like I would see people I knew that I knew but I couldn’t remember why or their names or anything, they would just look familiar. One time, about a month after I had woken up, my parents took me in my hospital bed for a walk in the courtyard of the hospital.
We passed a large mirror in the lobby and I freaked out. I saw my reflection and I knew it was me because I recognized my parents pushing the bed, but I didn’t recognize my own face. There were no injuries to my face or anything, I just didn’t recognize myself. It also blew my mind that I had gone into the coma in late winter, and there was quite a bit of snow on the ground.
When I woke up it was spring, and there was no snow (I had a large window in my hospital room). The news that shocked me the most was the fact that my parents had gone in and packed up my entire apartment. Like I mentioned, I was super private and the idea that they went in there and boxed up all my stuff and gave up my lease was hard to grasp. Obviously, it made sense, but I was troubled by it all.
101. True Love Keeps Its Distance
After my abusive ex got out of prison the first time, he started stalking me. When I got a restraining order, he paid some people to assault me. When I pressed charges for the assault, the people he paid snitched and he’s back in prison. At the time, I thought if I didn’t get a conviction he would escalate until I ended up dead. He doesn’t know where I live or work now. I’m doing well.
102. You’re Never Alone as Long as You Have Yourself
I was in a medically induced coma (with induced, full-body paralysis) for six weeks. There were a handful of times that I distinctly remember where I “woke up” in my head. What was the experience like? It sucked. When I would wake up in my head, I had no idea as to what had happened. So, I’m fully conscious, I know that I’m me, but I can’t open my eyes, I can’t move a muscle and I can’t speak.
The first time it happened was terrifying. I started to panic and for a minute there; I thought I might be dead. Then I realized that I was thinking, so that didn’t seem right. I tried to move and couldn’t. I tried to speak and couldn’t. I tried to scream and couldn’t. I realized at that point that if I didn’t calm myself down that I would go crazy inside my own head, and no one could help me.
Though I was on a ventilator, in my head I did deep breathing exercises. At the time, I think that I thought that I was actually breathing. I listened to the clicking of machines and tried to focus on those. Then I started counting the sound of something that seemed repetitive. That gave me enough to focus on until I eventually drifted off again.
The next time it happened was when my best friend came to see me. Again, I can’t move, I can’t see, and I can’t talk. But when I “woke up” in my head, I could feel her holding my hand and asking me to squeeze if I could hear her talking. I tried as hard as I could to squeeze my hand and I could feel it doing absolutely nothing. When she let go to walk away, I was completely devastated.
I tried to scream for her to stay, but obviously, nothing happened. However, I was so glad that the people I knew were there wherever I was and that I was getting help, even though I felt completely helpless. That kind of helped. Then I had to calm myself down again so that I could drift off again. Whenever I would “wake up” in my head, it was always the same.
I was confused at first, but then remembered that this is how I was. I had no idea what had happened and really didn’t think about it too much. I have no idea how long I was “conscious” for when it happened, but I don’t think that it was for very long. The condition that I was in required as little external stimulus as possible, so most talking was forbidden unless it was absolutely necessary.
Thank goodness for my friends who believed that I might be able to hear them and talked to me anyway. There were a few times when I would have these incredibly vivid dreams. To this day, those dreams are like actual memories to me. If I think about them, I have to remind myself that they didn’t happen. When I was finally brought out of the coma, my parents were there and that didn’t make any sense because my parents lived two states away at the time.
I eventually learned that they had been there the entire time. They dropped everything in their lives and came to be with me and stayed there throughout the entire ordeal. After a couple of days (I think), some doctors came in and asked me a bunch of questions. The first question was what year it was. That I knew because I remembered getting sick on New Year’s Eve, so I knew it was 2000.
Next was who the President was. I answered Clinton, so I got that right. Then they asked if I knew where I was. I assuredly said, “Honolulu” because, in my dreams, I had been in Honolulu. When all of their faces had that confused Scooby-Doo look is when I realized that wasn’t quite right, so I figured that I must have been back in Salt Lake City (somehow). They appeared quite relieved when I came up with that.