Is there life after death? What happens when we die? Many people report having experiences after being declared clinically dead. And despite scientific studies, belief in a "beyond" is still a part of our collective consciousness. While it's impossible for the mind to survive without the body, those who have died and come back share their take in this fascinating thread.
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
"Drifting away" as the brain shuts down.Giphy
Friend of mine described it as deeply relaxing and that she could feel herself drifting away, but was brought back just as she was ready to "leave".
After that, she embraced life and death. She said she doesn't fear death anymore since it was so relaxing to experience.
My girlfriend is anaphylactic, and it 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, and the school nurses 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 got to her school she was in pretty bad shape and barely conscious.
The paramedics immediately administered one of her epipens, called the nurses "f*cking tw*ts" and loaded her into the ambulance as her mother arrived. She continued to fade, so they gave her a direct injection of adrenaline this time, still nothing. They give her a second direct injection of adrenaline and this time it hits her about 30 seconds later all at once, and her heart fails. She stops breathing, no pulse, nothing. Dead to the world. For about 2 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 didn't mind it. All despite the fact her mother and the paramedics were screaming at her to keep her eyes open and the ambulance was flying towards the hospital. She miraculously just came back to life almost 3 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 pumping it around. But still do this day, she can't differentiate falling asleep after a long day, and dying.
My wife and I discussed this at length. 4 years ago, she died twice in 3 months, needing full resuscitation both times. Both were lengthy rescues (one resuscitation was off-and-on for nearly 40 minutes).
I asked her later when she had recovered if she remembered anything at all during the times she was clinically dead. She remembered nothing. Blackness. No light. No relatives and former pets waiting for her. Just...black. Thankfully, also no pain.
She finally passed 18 months ago, and I hope she felt no pain or worry the final time.
Not mine but the head of my program was in a horrible car accident. She was dead for a few minutes on the scene while paramedics worked on her. She said it was the most amazing feeling she's ever experienced. It was blank black nothing, but that was perfectly fine, and she felt a comfort 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 wanted to stay there. She told us she can't wait to experience it again when it's really her turn.
Edit: I'm really pleased this resonated so strongly with so many of you! I wanted to add some detail about her. She's not religious in the slightest, and she actively quashes our ghost stories and shit (mortuary students) because she only believes in tangible things, so she fully turned me into a believer.
Felt its important I make a distinction she was very adamant about when telling us this story- she's not advocating suicide. She stressed that she isn't telling us she's trying to reach this place again but that when it was her time she was going to be comfortable embracing it.
The feeling of being aware, but unable to do anything.Giphy
I coded after surgery. I remember being able to see and hear everything and understand what was happening, but I couldn't physically feel anything. It was deeply unsettling.
Acceptance followed by peace.Giphy
I hope this helps answer your question, for both you and /u/passtheslaw. I drowned and was resuscitated when I was a teenager.
I remember struggling mightily and then, when I was sure there wasn't any hope, a distinct Okay then. I can let go. And from that moment on, there was peace. Total peace. Nothing hurt, I didn't even feel the dying part. I would imagine, for someone who decides upon suicide, the peace started the second they made that choice. It's said that suicide victims often looked happiest/calmest in their final days.
Now that being said: there are other, better ways of obtaining peace that aren't destructive, and I urge anyone reading this who is considering suicide to talk to someone. It is entirely possible to be happy again while alive; you just can't do it without outside help.
No more pain, no more time. Hard pass on this btw.Giphy
I was electrocuted by about 13,800 volts. The doctors say it's likely the first hit stopped my heart and the second one started it (before I was pulled like a lifeless corpse to safety).
I remember experiencing the darkest dark and the most silent silence. I ceased to care that I was dying; time seemed to change, it could have been hours it seemed. It was only about 30 seconds.
I felt as though I was floating and floated toward something that I eventually realized was my body and reality. Upon joining with whatever it was I was floating towards, I became self aware in my body and heard the electricity making horrible noises and knew I was in danger.
From there it was a horribly painful experience where I lost most of my toes due to tissue death and had severe electrical burns on all four limbs. More surgeries than I care to count and seeing the round bone ends of my toes that were freshly amputated still haunts me a little.
EDIT: Thank you everyone for helping me understand something that happened over 12 years ago. I was in the hospital for about a month inpatient, and then for 10 months, daily as an outpatient (basically sent me home for my mental sanity but needed daily attention). I got addicted to pain killers, had to learn to walk again and had to see a pain management therapist. It was horrible at times but eventually the pain began to subside. I went back to school and became an engineer and I don't think I'd be where I am without this thing happening. Really strange to think that I am in some way grateful now. Also I can't watch horror anymore, Hollywood actually does a very realistic job.
Floating, comfort, and a sense of spirit.
I was on loads of morphine so it's still really hazy and the fact it happened almost 6 years ago doesn't help the memory, but I'll try to recollect, as accurately I can, what happened and what I experienced.
I had appendicitis and my foster parents at the time didn't take me to the hospital until 2, almost 3 days after it had burst. I should've been dead well before they took me, even the doctors called it a miracle. Well, I died while waiting for surgery. I had to wait for a pediatric surgeon to come in because no one else felt comfortable performing the surgery on a case this bad with a child this size (dumbasses took me to the adult hospital, not the pediatrics which was 40 mins away. I was 14, 5'3 and weighed 75 pounds soaking wet). So while I was waiting for the surgeon I was in a room with me, the doctor, my two foster parents and my grandmother who is an RN. Like I said, I was really drugged up and couldn't really focus on much and couldn't really do anything. The monitor I was hooked up to would beep really loudly from time to time and the intervals between beeps started to decrease rapidly. Turns out I wasn't breathing. I was conscious for the most part, I just kept forgetting to breathe. Doctors had to keep nudging me so I wouldn't sleep. I just remember being pissed at this loud beeping that kept me from enjoying a nice slumber. The doctor had to step out for a second and my grandmother assured him she could look after me for a second. Unfortunately for her, she was out of her mind with rage at my foster parents. She didn't hold anything back. My grandma is a sweet, Mormon Utahn without a rude bone in her body. Well, I heard quite a few fuck you's, pieces of shit, etc. My point is she didn't notice I had passed out until the monitor signaled I had flat lined.
This is the bit where I died and is by far the most vivid part of the experience. I remember being capable of thought but no thoughts were in my head. I can only describe it as being conscious of my spirit but without a body for my thoughts to be processed in. I just kind of existed without feeling, thinking or being anything. I was floating. Honestly at the time it was a great feeling. I don't remember any visions of people, family, places or anything like that. But I felt something wrap around me and comfort me. Without talking I was assured I was ok, that there was nothing to be worried about, and at that point my thoughts returned. I knew at that moment, without knowing how long I'd be able to keep thinking, that I had to go back. I didn't want to, but knowing that the last thing I'd see before I left mortal life was these two pieces of human trash who had abused me, neglected me, and treated me like a stain that they didn't want to bother trying to clean up, that did it. I wanted to get back to my body, fix my life so I could go back and live with my biological parents and feel loved again. In that moment that's all I cared about. And then I sort of willed myself back. Doctors had tried to resuscitate me but had failed. Everyone was shocked when I opened my eyes and seeing the tears in my grandma's eyes after thinking she'd lost me, that did it. I fixed my life, I reinvented myself and threw out all my anger, depression, rage and everything else that put me in Brent and Karen's home.
Honestly, the only anger I felt (the burning hatred kind that makes you want to do anything possible to release it) in the last 5ish years since I moved from their home is when I think about them and how they're still fostering youth in custody and probably pulling the same shit with those kids. I live about an hour away from where they are now and I have to restrain myself from driving up there, kidnapping those kids and taking them to the authorities with an explanation of why. The only reason I haven't done that is because I've tried telling the authorities what kind of people they are. I guess the words of a juvenile fuck up don't stack up against the lies from people who have practiced this shit for years.
Anyways, sorry for the rant at the end. I know that wasn't entirely what you'd asked, but it felt good to type out. Thanks OP for asking this question. It's been surprisingly therapeutic talking about this.
I was dead for a very short period of time, like 30 seconds to a minute. There's a big misconception about it. It's not like sleeping at all. I'll try to explain. There's always a sort of white noise in the back of my mind. It quiets down when I sleep but it's still there. I never noticed it before I died, but I do now. I don't want to romanticize death, but when I was out, it was like this perfect nothingness. And nothingness is so hard to imagine normally, but once you "experience" it, and they bring you back, part of you wishes you could have stayed. There's no positive feelings there, obviously, but it takes away everything bad too. All your stress, the nightmares, the troubles. All gone. Just nothing exists. It's beautiful in a way. But I'm very much looking forward to a lack of consciousness when I do eventually pass again, and I can honestly say I don't fear death anymore.
Send me back.Giphy
I don't know what I experienced while I was dead but when I woke back up (so to speak) I remember wanting to experience it permanently.
Looking forward to a "lack of consciousness."Giphy
I was dead for a very short period of time, like 30 seconds to a minute. There's a big misconception about it. It's not like sleeping at all. I'll try to explain. There's always a sort of white noise in the back of my mind. It quiets down when I sleep but it's still there. I never noticed it before I died, but I do now. I don't want to romanticize death, but when I was out, it was like this perfect nothingness. And nothingness is so hard to imagine normally, but once you "experience" it, and they bring you back, part of you wishes you could have stayed. There's no positive feelings there, obviously, but it takes away everything bad too. All your stress, the nightmares, the troubles. All gone. Just nothing exists. It's beautiful in a way. I'm not suicidal at all, and hope to live the rest of a long and happy life. But I'm very much looking forward to a lack of conciousness when I do eventually pass again, and I can honestly say I don't fear death anymore.
This person was "switched off."Giphy
Clinically dead on two separate occasions. I didn't experience any visions or light and I didn't feel anything at all. It was like a switch was flipped and my existence was just shut off. Coming back was another story. Slowly I was able to hear the voices of those around me fading in, and they slowly got louder until I was able to open my eyes. That's it. Nothing spectacular. One second you're here, one second you're not.
Dead relatives appearing?Giphy
Former co-worker of mine died during heart surgery. I think she was out for 90 seconds or close to it. She wasn't religious or anything. She said that she remembered being in the room and seeing her dead uncle and cousin standing at the far end of the room watching everything going on.
Edit: oh now my inbox is having an NDE. Fun fact: she shared this information during an icebreaker "give us a fun fact about yourself". She didn't remember seeing a light or anything, just seeing her dead relatives at the end of the room.
Don't go in that door...Giphy
My mother experienced a long corridor with arched door ways, one was open and she said she refused to go in.
She suffered a massive stroke at 27 to from a spinal tap done a week earlier.
Being given a choice - stay, or go back?
I saw my grandpa. We talked for a while and he said I could 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. Went back into my body and felt more pain than I knew in my life. Been a year of recovery and I lost most of my memory but I'm happy.
(Skull fracture/traumatic brain injury from heat exhaustion)
Edit: Here's a link with a pic of my brothers reaction when I woke up and when my mom played music for me trying to get me to wake up.