We searched Reddit for the most incredible stories of people who’ve died, whether for six seconds or six minutes, and came back.
Here’s what it’s like:
“I had an allergic reaction to something I ate and passed out while I was splashing water on my face. At some point my heart stopped and got restarted while I was in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. I remember a feeling of being sucked backwards, extremely slowly like being pulled through water, and this blackness fading in and out. At one point, it faded back in, and I was staring out at a garden. It wasn’t filled with flowers, just dust and patchy grass. There was a playground with a merry-go-round in the middle, and two children running around it. A boy and a girl. It’s difficult to describe, but I got the feeling that I could choose if i wanted to stay or leave, but every time I tried to go back, I was held in place. I went through all the reasons I wanted to go back, and when I told the presence I didn’t want to abandon my mother, whatever held me finally let go. I snapped back into my body. My heart had stopped for six minutes.”
“I had a heart attack last year, and my heart stopped three times in the ER. Apparently, each time they shocked me back, I ‘woke up’ (how it felt) and told the staff a different knock-knock joke each time. No lights or whatever – it just felt like sleep.”
“I was 16-years-old and encountered tachycardia for the first time. I went to the ER with my mom, not really thinking it was a big deal – I hardly any symptoms aside from a high heart rate. I didn’t realize how intense the situation was until two cardiologists and several nurses rushed me to what looked like an operating room of sorts. I didn’t really know the full extent of what was happening. Fast-forward to the doctors trying to slow my heart down, but they couldn’t. Their last resort is some drug that essentially stops your heart and resets it to a normal beat. Right as they’re giving me the drug, they warn me that I might feel a heavy weight on my chest. What an understatement. I felt like someone was, bit by bit, squeezing all the air and life out of me. Eventually, the room went black, and a feeling of peace came over me, like I was going to sleep. I didn’t see anything good or bad, just emptiness. When I awoke, I assumed only a few seconds had passed. Instead, the drug caused my heart to stop for 10 minutes or so, and the doctors were trying to revive me, assuming I was dead given the flat line.
“I got sepsis from tools used over at a dentist. I went to the dentist feeling fine, and happy that I finally got the work done that I needed. I went out shopping with my mom and had a lovely time. That evening, I started feeling dizzy, and then later that night, I woke up in the middle of the night with a high fever, and I couldn’t lift my head high enough to puke on the floor. So I puked all over myself, the bed and my lovely concerned dog. I tried to yell out to my mother but I didn’t even have the strength to do that. Luckily, the sounds of me vomiting was enough to wake her up. I vomited so much I was vomiting the lining of my stomach, as I had no more food left in me. My mother carried me to the car and drove me to the emergency room. At the hospital I was put on the most uncomfortable bed ever and drifted off. I couldn’t stay awake. That’s when I saw nurses and doctors around me injecting me with things and shouting. I remember thinking that it must be serious if a doctor was shouting, as they usually don’t show panic. And then it happened; I saw my mom crying, and I thought, ‘Wow… this must be for real.’ As I thought that, I fell asleep. I say ‘asleep,’ but I died, for exactly two minutes. It really feels like falling asleep, but .. for me it was beyond peaceful. It felt like you didn’t really have to worry about anything anymore and obviously in my case – I didn’t feel sick anymore. I woke up seven days later in the hospital. Whoever is scared that their loved one felt pain in death, I can honestly say – it’s a very peaceful feeling.”
“For me, it was just a blackout. No dreams, no ‘visions,’ just nothing. I remember being very confused when I woke up, like why am I lying down on my back? Why is it so dark? Why does my body hurt all over? Apparently, I asked over ten times what happened.”
“Between my house and the hospital, I started losing consciousness. Everything I saw had a yellowy tinge, and I suddenly felt very heavy and tired. My breathing got very labored, but I sort of of didn’t care. I felt like I was slipping away into sleep. You know old TVs, when they were turned off, the screen would be basically engulfed in black and the light shrank down into a pinpoint before disappearing? My vision slowly started feeling like it was doing that. I remember arriving at the hospital, and they didn’t even bother with registration. They threw my a– on a gurney and started pushing me back. As I was going back, I remember closing my eyes and thinking, I guess whatever happens ‘ And then nothing. Just like going to sleep when you’re SUPER exhausted. I felt kind of peaceful, and I wasn’t really thinking about anything much at all and the lights just went out. Some minutes later, I opened my eyes and a very large man was staring at me, smiling, and said, ‘Well bad news, you’re gonna feel completely fine within a couple of hours. You probably won’t even get out of going to school tomorrow.’ He was right.”
“I was OD’d on anesthesia in an oral surgeon’s office. I was dead for under a minute, but it still counts. Between me going out and me waking up in the ICU, there is nothing. No black void, lost loved ones, messages from the other side. Nothing. Processing it since then, I don’t know if the nothingness is comforting or terrifying.”
“When I was 14 and at a party, I drank way too much. I woke up on the bathroom floor vomiting my guts out, in and out of consciousness. I could faintly hear my brother in the background, calling for an ambulance. I woke up in a hospital bed where the doctor said I had been dead for two minutes, but they managed to revive me. My blood alcohol count was 0.56. In my experience, being dead was like being asleep. Absolutely no difference. No flashbacks, no afterlife that I could recall… It was exactly like sleeping. Very peaceful.”
“When I was a kid, I needed eye surgery a few times. The last time, when I was 7, I told the doctor I couldn’t do it because my asthma was acting up. The doctor ignored me and put under anesthesia regardless. I had an attack, as I knew I would, while under anesthesia, and my heart stopped. I remember the anger at the doctor, and then feeling something soft on my hands upon waking up, with absolutely nothing in between. I was blind when I woke up and don’t remember when I regained the sight, maybe a day or two later. It may have also been really thick bandages with my eyes closed, I just remember not being able to see anything, thus I latched onto the stuffed animal my sister or mom handed me. It was like waking up from a deep sleep, the kind you get after a hard day at work in a nice comfy room. One moment you’re just awake like someone pressed the start button on the controller that is your mind and body. It is sad though cause it’s nothing… life is smelly and loud and busy and interesting and fun and colorful and death, death is absolute nothingness.”
“I was in a serious car accident (hit by a drunk driver) a week before my high school graduation. Without going into all the gory details, I lost so much blood that they declared me dead. Although I do not remember much, between the rescue workers extracting me from my car and a tree and waking up three weeks later, I do remember feeling very warm and seeing lights. I’ve always believed it was due to medications and moving between areas with different lighting, but I’m open to otherworldly suggestions.”
“I don’t remember much of but I was stabbed and nearly bled out. I honestly just felt really tired and wasn’t connecting the dots that I was dying. Luckily a cop happened upon me after I collapsed on the side of the road and called emergency services who then successfully revived me. I was apparently only gone for like 20-30 seconds.”
“I woke up in what looked like space, but there weren’t any stars or light. I wasn’t floating, I was just there. I wasn’t hot or cold, hungry or tired just a peaceful neutral kind of thing. I knew there was light and love somewhere nearby, but I had no urge or need to go to it right away. I remember thinking over my life, but it wasn’t like a montage. More like I was idly flipping through a book, and snippets stood out here and there. I don’t remember making a decision to stay or go back – I just woke up in the ICU two days later.”
“It was like turning off a TV. One second things were working, and the next I’m waking up surrounded by doctors and nurses with my feet in the air and a unit of blood being shot into me at high speed.”
Stories have been edited for length and clarity.