What’s it like to come close to death and can you find hope afterwards? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.
Many of you liked what I said about the death of Robin Williams. Today, I’m letting my wife Allie share some of her thoughts from a personal perspective.
I’m not sure if this is appropriate timing, but I feel like it might be a good time to share this. This is my story of my brush with death.
Five years ago, I was dealing with some heavy depression. I’ve always delt with heavy depression, but it reached a peak after a failed relationship with a guy I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore. I felt like the greatest thing I could do for the world…was for me to not be in it anymore. Besides…who would care? Who would miss me? I mean sure, my family would be upset, but surely they’d move on eventually right? Everyone dies after all…just not by their own hands. Of course, this is just how I thought. I thought if I left no one would care or miss me except for my family and they’d only be sad for a little while, but would eventually get over it. But the thing with suicide that is different from any other kind of death is that the family and friends will wonder, “How could I have missed the signs? Could I have prevented them from doing this? Could I have even been the cause of them doing this?”
So I grabbed whatever medicine I could. I couldn’t grab them all because some of them were with my parents in their bathroom in the bedroom. I remember chugging all those pills. It was midnight. After I took all the medicine, I called the guy and told him what I had done…he hung up on me. I started writing out a note. As I was writing it, my vision started become a little blurred and I became dizzy. Suddenly my dad opens my bedroom door. He asks me “What are you doing still up?” It must’ve been between 1:30-2:30am at this point. I told him I was just up writing something then I’d go to sleep. I gave him one last look and told him I loved him and gave him a hug…thinking, “This is the last time I’m ever going to see my dad…he doesn’t even suspect a thing.” He said he loved me too and left my room. Even as I type this I’m getting teary-eyed. When I looked in the mirror, I saw that I had four arms. I knew this was going to be a long night. At around 3am, it started getting really bad. I couldn’t write anymore. The room was moving. The floor was moving, the walls were moving. There were different colors. I started getting a headache and there was a ringing in my ears. I had to crawl to my bed. Finally, I reached my bed. As I layed flat on my bed, as still as I could, my feet felt like they were being lifted up, yet I could see they were still on my bed. I turned off the light next to my bed. My heart was racing faster than it’s ever raced before. It literally felt like it was going to come right out of my chest! I started having mild seizures. My body would suddenly start seizing on its own every now and then, but then it would stop. I was in a constant sweat, yet I had the chills. I was cold…yet hot. I was scared…I had heard that people who end their lives by their own hands go to hell because they didn’t trust God. I don’t believe this theory today, but at the time, it was a scary thought. I was praying and asking God to forgive me and asking God to please let me be with Him instead of being in hell. I also asked God to be with my family and let them know they weren’t to blame for my death. I had talked to a friend for a few hours until she absolutely had to go. That’s when I started praying and prayed all night. Then 8am comes. I never fell asleep and I had still been praying. My mom opens the door. She says, “Allie, where is your brother’s medication?” My vision wasn’t blurry anymore but I had a hard time focusing on her when I looked at her. The first thought that came to mind was, “Why am I not dead yet?” Then the next thought was, “I’ve been caught.” I told her, “Look in my bathroom.” She goes in my bathroom and I hear her yell my dad’s name, “Allie tried to kill herself!” As I type this I feel nauseated, I can still taste the poison I put in my body. I couldn’t really get out of bed. My dad had to help me walk. I couldn’t walk on my own. The seizing had stopped. My dad drove me to the hospital. My mom told me she fainted in the bathroom. We get to the hospital, and I feel terrible for the poor lady working at the front desk. As we were talking with her, I just started vomitting. I vomitted all over her and her nice suit. My dad just barely missed my vomit. I’ve been told my eyes were darting all over the place. I was admitted into the hospital in-patient. I was poked with needles seemed like every 10-15 minutes day and night for three days straight. My heart was still racing rapidly. Every now and then parts of my body would start shaking on their own, like my arm or my hand, or even a single finger, but then it would stop. My parents would visit often. They’d bring me Wendy’s since I hated hospital food. I couldn’t sleep, partially because of the IV that was in my wrist. Every time I started to doze off the darn thing would start beeping! I had to drink this weird cranberry juice that had some medicine in it that would make me go to the bathroom and man did it make me go! Even while I was in the hospital though, I had some crazy hallucinations. The screen that monitored my heart I thought had games on it. I thought the bed was moving and I even thought there were camera’s on the bed! I thought I heard drs whispering about me behind my back. I thought I had memories of the hospital, even though I had never been there before. I thought I heard a flute being played. Then the craziest one was I thought the room I was in was infested with red ants! Red ants crawling everywhere! The walls, ceiling, furniture, everywhere! They’d bunch up in certain places and if I looked up at the ceiling, they’d fall on me! But if they fell in my mouth, they tasted like paper. I got so scared, it all seemed so real! I had to talk to a neurologist and they had to reasure me what I was seeing, hearing, feeling, and even tasting weren’t real. I heard my dad even cancelled a debate or speaking engagement he had because he wanted to stay with me during that time. I had to have help going to the bathroom since I was hooked up to an IV and so many other stuff. I was absolutely miserable. I was really mad at God too. I mean, I had no intention on surviving. I had no intention on ending up in a hospital. I also knew after doing a stunt like this, I’d end up going to another hospital I feared even more than going to hell – a mental hospital. I had to go to one years prior for self-mutilation and it was one of the worst experiences I ever had. Sure enough, a lady came in and spoke with my mom and me and said, “We have a nice hospital your daughter can be transferred at from here.” I ended up going there afterwards. As they were getting me off the hospital bed, I still had to have help because I was so weak. They loaded me into the ambulance and transferred me to what I thought was going to be my worst nightmare – the mental hospital. I was so exhausted…after having not slept for four days/nights straight. When I got to the mental hospital, I barely stayed awake until finally I asked, “Can I go to bed?” They thought it was odd of me asking, but when I told them, they were okay with it. I finally got my first night of sleep that night. They came in first thing in the morning and took some blood only one time the whole time I was there. It actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. It wasn’t like the first mental hospital I had been to prior. The staff was nice and it was kind of comfortable there. I was in-patient there for four days. I was then treated out-patient for a couple of weeks. While I was there, I was still angry with God for allowing me to live, but I tried to make the best of it. I was so hung over the guy I tried to end my life over, I thought, “If I get better, maybe he’ll take me back!” I didn’t realize at the time I had only been a guinea pig to him the whole time – he had never given a care about me. While I was being treated out-patient, I got an e-mail from someone saying, “I heard about you from (family friend) and heard you needed a friend. I’m Nick Peters. If you want to talk I’m here.” I was intrigued to say the least. So we corresponded back and forth. I’ll be the first to admit, I wasn’t the nicest to him. There were times I was pretty mean to him. But there were times where he could’ve been really mean back at me, but he wasn’t. There were times he showed he actually cared about me as a friend. At one point while we were talking online, I was really quiet about something and got upset (I don’t remember what it was about). All of a sudden I get this phone call from an unknown number. I answer it and they’re like, “Are you okay?” I ask, “Who is this?”
“How did you get my number?”
He was actually worried about me because I got quiet. I started seeing other things in Nick other than him just being nice to me. I saw a joy in him about God I wanted to have. I had drifted a bit away from God and I missed having a close relationship with him. Instead of being angry with God, I tried to be thankful to him for rescuing me from death and tried to get closer to him again. I also started developing feelings for Nick. Eventually those feelings grew into something more and now we’ve been married for 4 years!
God didn’t just save my life from death that day though. My story is truly a miraculous one. What I have failed to mention and will mention now is that the doctors thought I was going to need a new liver. My liver and my vital organs should’ve failed. All those drugs I took (and I haven’t said which ones I took on purpose – but they were some pretty hefty meds) were in my system for eight hours before anyone found me that morning. I should’ve had organ failure. My liver should’ve died…I should’ve died. God not only saved my life, he protected my liver and my vital organs. The only damage that was done to me was emotional and I have some brain damage that has a 50% chance of healing. My story is one of hope, and I hope it gives you hope. That day God showed me a portion of his power. God said, “Live!” and I lived! Today I am thankful to be alive! God continues to show me his love and grace. He had compassion on me through this difficult time in my life. He has blessed me so much. He is a God filled with compassion. He is passionate for you! Give him your burdens, for his burden is light. He will give you rest.