Two days ago, I overdosed. From what I was told later, my supposed “friends” pulled up in front of the hospital, threw me out of the car onto the pavement, and took off.
I was pronounced dead for almost a minute. I need to share what I saw with anyone willing to listen. So here goes my best possible explanation of something I can hardly explain to myself.
I woke up in a void of total blackness. Darker than any moonless night I had ever experienced. I tried to scream for help, but no sound came out. I continued at the top of my lungs, but nothing. There was literally nothing. No sense of time, space, or sound. I have no idea how long I wandered through that void with no destination or even the slightest hope I might find one.
After what felt like an eternity, I saw it. I saw a bright light at the end of a tunnel. Just like I had heard described before. I ran towards that light faster than I thought possible. Then suddenly the sensation of “ground” was just gone. The tunnel no longer appeared in front of me but above. I was floating towards the light. I could feel the warmth and peace emanating through the darkness.
The closer I got to the top the more narrow the tunnel seemed to be getting. I was so focused on that brilliant light I hadn’t even stopped to look around me until something grabbed me by the ankle.
A hand, reaching out from inside the wall of the tunnel, then another, and another. Hands from all sides, below me, above me surrounding me. Trying to push or pull me down.
“Nooooo!!” I screamed. This time my voice made a sound.
“Please God help me!! Make them stop! Please stop!!” I pleaded with the hands as they continued to reach out for me.
That’s when I finally looked down. I saw the hands were attached to the naked bodies of gray, emancipated desperate faces. They began screeching and wailing.
“Let me go, please!” I begged.
I could see now that the tunnel looked like a cave. Carved into the cave were deep groves circling the entire place. Each groove contained thousands of cages trapping the desperate decrepit things that were once human, reaching out to push and pull me down.
I kicked and failed and screamed. But there were too many of them. I was so close to the light, so close to what I knew was salvation but I couldn’t reach it as the mass of hands continued to grab onto me.
I grabbed the sides of the wall, kicking and biting at the hands I pushed myself upwards as hard as I could.
Almost to the top now, I heard a young girl crying. Despite all the hands reaching out, trying to drag me down with them. This girl sat in her cage with her back to me.
I realized I would never make it to the top. There were too many desperate, hopeless, pleading hands. But maybe I could save her. Maybe while the hands were distracted from me I could push her towards the light.
I clung to her cage to steady myself. I felt like the hands would tear me limb from limb, I could feel my skin, muscles, and tendons stretching beyond their limits.
Crying out in pain, I opened the girl’s cage and begged her to take my hand. She turned and looked at me with desperate eyes and grabbed onto me. With all the strength left within my spirit, I shoved the girl as hard as I could toward the light. I watched her cling to the edge, kicking desperately at the hands that tried to pull her back down until she disappeared over the edge.
I laughed joyously. The pain in my limbs was immediately forgotten as I saw that girl disappear into the light. But only for a brief moment as I realized I would very soon find myself in one of these very same cages like a feral animal damned to be trapped in this place.
As I felt myself being pushed and pulled down, I suddenly saw the girl. I saw her little face peering into the hole. She reached out to me, telling me to take her hand. Her hand reached further than what should have been possible. She pulled me free from the awful hands with more strength than what also should have been possible. Nothing made sense in this place.
The light was so bright I couldn’t see anything at first. As my eyes adjusted I found myself in the most beautiful field of flowers. Flowing water, trees, mountains. More beautiful than anything I’d ever seen. The plants seemed to dance to the musical sound of the wind.
“Thank you,” the young girl said to me. Her eyes showed deep gratitude. I watched the color come back to her face. She smiled brightly at me. Then I noticed the scars on her wrists. She had killed herself, and in doing so had damned herself to that awful place.
That’s when it hit me. The sudden realization of what that place really was. It wasn’t hell. Not in the biblical sense. It was the place those poor souls damned themselves to be trapped in, those who hated themselves so much they ended up right where they believed they belonged. Completely unaware that no devil or creature doomed them to this place, they trapped themselves in death the way they trapped themselves in life.
They kept desperately pulling people down with them when all they had to do was push the person up instead. If every hand that reached out, helped to propel that person towards the light, they themselves could be saved.
I ran back to the hole, resolved to try to save as many of them as I could … but before I made it back I heard a strange rhythmic beeping sound.
“She has a pulse!! Doctor, her vital signs are coming back!” I heard someone shouting.
The next few days were a blur. The few people I told my story to told me that it’s common for people to have vivid hallucinations during near-death experiences. This wasn’t a near-death experience. I was clinically dead. I know what I experienced was real. I know that place exists somewhere out there in a world vastly different from our own.
I dream of it every night. Remembering those tortured souls. Desperately sad at the knowledge that they could free themselves one by one if they would only help each other, instead of dragging each other down in their own panic.
To anyone reading this… take my words as a warning. So many of us humans are self-loathing. So much crueler to ourselves than anyone else. Sometimes we take that cruelty out on others. But you do not deserve to lock yourself away in a cage. You deserve forgiveness. We all do.
One day I hope we all find ourselves in that field. Where the flowers dance and the wind sings. Please heed my warning. Put down the knife, put down the pills, step off the scale, and stop fighting with your husband. Go look yourself in the mirror and decide today that you don’t deserve to be treated the way you’ve treated yourself, that you deserve peace.
Because if you don’t, you will find yourself staring up at the most brilliant light, forever just barely out of your reach.