Sunday, July 13, 2008

Unpleasant Near-Death Experiences and their After-Effects


Don’t forget, the re-issue of “Coming Back to Life” (my first major book) is now out. Transpersonal Publishing reprinted it, along with a new introduction and somewhat updated Resource Section. You should be able to order the book from any bookstore, get it from, or obtain an autographed copy from my website. Chapter Two of “Coming Back to Life” contains a brief version of my three near-death experiences, that occurred in the first three months of 1977. The following year is when I began my research of the phenomenon, work that has continued for over thirty years and is now reaching its completion. PMH


“I don’t have my medical records in front of me so I will have to wing the dates and spellings. I went to the hospital to have a scheduled C-section on Jan 21, 2002. I had complications with bleeding after they pulled my daughter out. I passed a lot of clots and was told it was normal. (I had a son who was almost 17 and I knew it wasn’t) The day I was to go home they had to open my C-section half way due to hematomas forming under the staples. This was horrible. I was also having trouble breathing due to having so much fluid and they seemed unconcerned with it. The second day home I became very nauseated and dizzy. I tried to lie down and couldn’t breathe. So I called the doctor and they said I had the stomach flue and called me in a nausea med.

“After taking the med I started to fall asleep and my son came in woke me and said my lips were turning blue so I sat up. I couldn’t get my breath so off to the hospital we went. I could hardly walk and the nurse came out to get me in a wheel chair. The breathing was even shallower and my blood pressure was going off the scale. My sugar then dropped and I became in a dream state of mind. They rushed me over to the other hospital where they had a birth center and for the next 8 hours they came up with all kinds of crap. They said I had a blood clot in my lung: I had a heart problem so on and so on. At this point I could barely get any air and they had me on oxygen and in ICU. I felt like I was going to die. A nurse walked up and poked my leg and then said MY GOD you are full of fluid. They finally did an ultrasound and could plainly see that I was drowning. My lungs were filling and my heart, kidneys, stomach, and liver were being crushed. I did suffer some damage to my lungs. They put me on Lacic’s and I went from weighing 160 to 120 in a matter of two days.

“Finally I got better and they let me go home after about a week. I was still having problems with the open incision and clotting. I am pretty sure it was about three weeks later when the next episode happened. I still was very sick but thought it was normal I had just had a baby. I got up that morning and feed my daughter. For some reason I held her extra long while sitting in the rocker in her room. I got up and it was exactly 8 o’clock when I laid her back in her crib. As soon as I took my hand off her I felt a rush of heat run down my leg. I looked and saw blood running as if someone had turned on a faucet. I ran down stairs to our bathroom in disbelief to clean up and looked behind me to see a line of red following me. I ran back upstairs to tell my husband I was in trouble (ex now) and he didn’t believe me until he looked and saw the floor getting red. To make a long story short I laid in the bed on my side while he franticly tried to get an ambulance. We lived 45 minutes form a hospital and it took the ambulance 40 minutes to get there. I was in and out of shock and begging God not to take me because my daughter needed a mother. I could feel the bed getting cold and wet under me. My ex husband ran in and out of the room checking on me and telling me your not gonna die, knowing all along how bad it was because he was an EMT. I remember feeling as if there were a struggle in my soul not to shut my eyes, but I had made my piece by then.

“The ride in the ambulance still rings in my head. They couldn’t get an IV in me because there were no veins. I was in and out still and when they got me to the hospital they put me in labor to try and stop the bleeding. This was in sane!!! They gave me nothing for pain and left me alone, bleeding, crying, dieing. Finally the doctor came in checked me and said they would have to do a DNC and I would be fine. Somehow I wanted to believe it but I didn’t. They sent me up to prep and my pastor came in. I remember trying to recite the 23 Psalm but couldn’t think straight enough. He stood there and cried. Then I just felt cold and was alone behind a curtain that was drawn around me. Then it was if I was seeing in a tunnel vision and everything began to have a glowing affect. This is when I saw what I like to call an angel. I don’t know if it was the shock or the fear but she was there. It was a little old lady with white hair and the bluest eyes I have ever seen. She ask me if I was scared and I said yes, I think I mouthed it in my head instead of saying it out loud. She reached her hand over mine and it was so warm. At that moment I felt a peace come over me and she said it’s going to be alright honey. Then she was gone and they came in to take me to surgery. I talked to them a little while they were cleaning me up and ask that they please not catherrize me again until I was out as it had been done twice before and they said they would wait. Then a woman came over and said that it was time for me to go to sleep. She ask me to tell her when I stated to feel like I was going out. I tried to keep my eyes open and was praying. I saw the blackness coming in like a circle closing around my eyes and then it was all black.

“Then it happened, I thought I was waking but I wasn’t. I felt alone, deaf and blind. It felt as if I were in a black void. It felt like wind blowing my hair and my thoughts were running so fast I couldn’t make since of them. My emotion was of fear and it was like I didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t. There was no time and I felt like I was drifting in this black, silent, void in slow motion. I remember feeling like something pulled me back wards almost like I was pushed from the front by a puff of air. That’s all. I woke up in ICU again and I knew it wasn’t good. They said I stopped breathing twice and my heart stopped once for only a brief minute. They had to bag me and put an IV in my neck that lead to my heart. It had three needles, one for blood, one for fluid, one for medication. I don’t remember how much blood they had to give me but I was told I was running on empty. They had to do a partial hysterectomy because I would have died other wise. When I woke up I was running a temp of 103 for three days.

“I could go on and on about the rest of my health and mental health issues after the surgery but I don’t think you need that. My life has changed so much since then. My faith, what I believe, and what matters. I do struggle with a lot of confusion because sometimes I don’t know what I believe. Am I afraid to die…….no. There are a lot worst things in this life than dieing and I have been there. Do I want to die…..not today. I wish I could understand what happened to me and why. I’ve heard of others seeing lights, family, love, happiness, and it scares me to think I was at my strongest in my faith, doing everything right and wonder was I on my way to hell anyway!!! If I was sent back for that reason to get it right I don’t even know where to go from what I was living. It been almost been 6 years where do I go from here?”….Lisa


Lisa, no one can say what really happened to you, but I can venture an idea based on the thousands of cases I have participated in. See how this feels to you.

Not everyone has a pleasant or a loving near-death episode. In my research base, the stats are one out of seven; other researchers claim one out of five. I honestly believe the figures on unpleasant or hellish cases are closer to one third; but I have no way to verify that. I believe the under-reporting of such cases are either because people are ashamed or embarrassed to talk about them or they just plain do not want to discuss them at all – for any reason. Some express guilt, like, here’s all these people who talk about angels and beautiful landscapes and bright light, yet nothing like that happened to them. Does that mean they are bad? Did they do something that they need to be punished for? Why the darkness or gloom? What does it mean? People who experience such episodes often go through years of doubt and confusion, and fear - especially fear of death.

It is true that in my findings I noted that those in my research base who had this type of near-death experience were those who had deeply suppressed/repressed guilts, fear, or angers, or whose belief system said they would be punished after death for deeds undone or done in ways that discounted their belief. I said that because that is what I found with all the people I worked with who had this type of experience.

Now, just “hang here” for awhile, think about this, and then ask yourself: did you have deeply repressed feelings of any kind, things inside of you that you did not allow to come out, unhappiness/regrets of a substantial nature ( perhaps from childhood or as a young woman, or in your marriage that you now say ended in divorce)? Think about this. Did the darkness and gloom you went through on the Other Side, that sense of abandonment, match in any way what you were feeling at the time – not because of all the medical foul-ups, but because of the emotional state you were in regarding your life and the way it was going?

If you look at things this way, noticing whatever deeply-held thoughts and emotions were within you, you may be able to make some sense of what happened to you during those critical moments near and at the brink of death. Just relax into this thought and see what surfaces for you.

Let me make something very clear to you: the type of near-death scenario experiencers have usually has very little to do with what they did or did not do with their life! I know this is contrary to what all the various religious doctrines teach throughout the world, but, just continue to “hang” with me. What I found in my research is: the type of near-death scenario experiencers have usually matches or nearly so the state of their inner life – by that I mean, what they have deeply integrated into their fullest self. Very few of us have explored or developed our inner self; nor do we know what we really believe. We know what we claim, but not necessarily what is really there, deep down inside of us, in our heart of hearts. In this deepest self are tucked away all our hangups, anything we have suppressed or repressed, unfinished business of various sorts, what we have missed in life or ignored, what and who we really love, our deepest core beliefs and feelings and emotions and truths. This deeper self is our real self, and that deeper self is what invariably surfaces during near-death experiences. It’s the self we really are. And it’s the self we really need to take a look at, for good or ill. That self resides/straddles our soul, our purpose in life, what we are here to do. If a “house cleaning” is needed to find out what’s there, we best be about doing it. This can be done with good counseling/therapy (with those who practice transpersonal counseling or something else akin to that), with a good program of prayer and spiritual growth, by volunteering (helping others), through creative endeavors that bare the soul (which includes things like trance dancing), and so forth. In my various books, I recommend a number of methods of “where you begin,” and urge that you do indeed “begin.” I know of no one who has successfully dealt with their near-death experience (whether frightening or lovely) without some help. We now have a plethora of books, tapes, DVDs, and other such resources one can take advantage of that are extremely helpful with this. The organization of IANDS (International Association For Near-Death Studies) has many of these services available to experiencers. There are such recommendations in “The Big Book of Near-Death Experiences,” as well. The organization of IANDS does indeed welcome the reporting of unpleasant experiences; their door is also open to the confused or frightened people who have them. We have much to draw from. I urge you to begin poking around and seeing what fits, or at least inspires you to ask more questions.

What happened to you, Lisa, was a gift, a gift in the sense of how the episode can inspire you to see things differently and consider other points of view. Every near-death experience carries with it a message of growth, understanding, and the willingness to see “beyond the view.” That’s what vision is, you know – the ability to see beyond the view.

I urge you to reconsider your experience and what it might teach you about yourself, and how you may benefit by embracing, forgiving, and loving what it illuminates for you. Blessings, PMH

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