Many people know how the death of a loved one can be one of the most difficult experiences anyone can ever have in life. I never knew what losing a loved one meant until I my mother died in 2001. Before this time, I was focused primarily upon the ecstasy experienced by people who experienced death and the afterlife during a near-death experience (NDE). Near-death experiencers (NDErs) tell us there is nothing better on Earth than being dead. I remember one particular experiencer saying it is the living who dwell in the land of death. On the Other Side is eternal life. I heard one particular NDEr say, “You will never be more dead than you are right now.” Other NDErs have expressed a similar thought, such as, no matter how good life on Earth can be, it is a miserable cesspool compared to heaven. One experiencer, Dr. Dianne Morrissey, eloquently put it this way:
“If I lived a billion years more, in my body or yours, there’s not a single experience on Earth that could ever be as good as being dead. Nothing.” (Dr. Dianne Morrissey)
I love this quote so much, it was the inspiration for the title of my book Nothing Better Than Death. Ironically and sadly, while I was writing this book, my mother died in a car accident. My twin brother was severely injured and his wife broke her back almost killing her.
Before she died, I had never before experienced the death of someone so close to me whom I loved so much. I was confident that when the day came for me to experience such a loss, the knowledge in my head which I obtained from NDE books would protect my heart from grief. But I was wrong. When it came to death, I was an expert on the Other Side. But when my mother died, I realized how retarded I was about death on this side of life.
For a long time, I would advise grieving mothers they should try not grieve too much over their lost children because unnaturally excessive grief can hinder their child’s progression on the Other Side. (I cringe every time I think about this because I gave this advice to a great number of people). Although I believe this advice to be correct, it wasn’t until I experienced profound grief myself that I realized how cold and clinical such advice is. I viewed grief as the enemy – not death. I mistakenly believed profound grief could be avoided by becoming properly educated in NDE research. And I assumed people who were already grieving over a loss just needed some NDE education, which I believed would be enough to help them.
But when my own mother died, I eventually learned how untrue all this was. My real education concerning grief began. It would end with me still believing death is the next best thing on Earth (with love at number one.) But now I knew this holds true only for those who have died. For surviving family and friends, death can be a living hell on Earth.
My delusion of NDE education protecting people from grief vanished along with my mother. It was an education on life and death which can’t be taught in classes or learned in books. It can only be learned through the “School of Hard Knocks.” My grief over the loss of my mother was a difficult journey of self-examination which began with extreme denial. Then my denial was eventually penetrated by painful reality checks which bombarded my mind. As my delusions became dispelled, reality and grief began to set in. Grief turned into depression. Depression turned into suicidal depression. But with the help of adjustments to my antidepressant regime and stays in the psych ward, I made it through and recovered. Then, one night my mother suddenly visited me in spirit in an experience called an after-death communication.
When the car accident happened on November 24, 2001, and I learned my had mother died, I was more excited by the fact she had made the ultimate transition than I was over the fact she was gone. After all, everyone returns to “Home” to God when their time is ready, and it was her time. She had graduated. Even when my father broke the news to me about the accident, I didn’t really know at first how to react because my initial feeling was, “Wow, Mom’s in heaven! That’s great! She’s with Jesus!” All those many wonderful hours my mother and I spent watching near-death documentary videos together and now she actually made the transition herself! I was envious.
When our family gathered together to comfort one another, I was a little embarrassed about my mania. Mania is a very elevated, elated, and expansive mood which can lead to psychosis and serious hallucinations for a manic depressive such as myself. I was proud of the fact that I was happy about her death because it meant I passed the test: I really do believe there is nothing better than death. I was not devastated by death! Not even the death of my own mother! After all, what was there to be devastated about? In my mind, my mother’s death was the equivalent of her being freed from San Quentin prison after serving a lifetime of hard labor. And not only this, I believed it was the equivalent of her being transported to Hawaii where I will someday soon join her. What is there to be devastated about?
It wasn’t very long before the mania subsided, the denial faded, and the full reality of losing my mother really meant began to sink in. Ultimately, my delusions of grandeur came crashing down like the mythological Satan falling like lightning from heaven and I fell into a pit of emotional hell. The full magnitude of my loss began to sink painfully into my head and no amount of lithium was going to stop it. The reality checks entered my brain until the full realization came:
She is gone from this world forever. I am never going to see her in this world again. Life will never be the same without her. I will have to live without her for the rest of my life. Only death can reunite us. That may take a lifetime. I wish I were dead now.
My illusions of there being nothing better in this world than death began to crack. Although I was already on many medications for depression, they did not prevent the coming depression, although it may have made it less severe. The loss of my mother triggered a chemical imbalance in my brain which led to depression. The sooner a person visits their doctor at the first signs of depression, the sooner they will get relief. In my case, because I have manic depression and was in danger of psychosis, I checked myself into the psych ward. Because of my mental illness, checking myself into a psych ward was something I had done several times before in my life so it was not a big deal.
At this point, I want to emphasize how critical it is to see a doctor at the first signs of depression. You will save yourself and your family a lot of pain and suffering. Unfortunately, many people are either not aware of the signs or decide to go untreated. Based on my own experience, the highest hurdle I ever had to get myself over was to admit there is something wrong with my mind — to admit I needed to see a “psychiatrist” – to admit I may need to go to a hospital for the mind. People with other physical illnesses, such as cancer patients or heart patients, generally don’t have this hurdle.
The signs of depression are not always obvious at first. But left untreated, these signs can get much worse. They are: profound sadness and hopelessness, sleep problems (too much or too little), loss of energy (you don’t have the energy to even get out of bed), loss of concentration, loss of appetite, and loss of sex drive. In severe cases, there may be: suicidal thoughts, paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations. Seeking a doctor’s help can literally be a lifesaver at this point. The following is my description of severe depression:
Depression is so disabling, you have absolutely no energy to think, move, sleep, or take the medicine needed to get well. Depression feels like falling into a 30-foot deep grave and realizing there is no way out and that it’s never going to end. Utter darkness surrounds you as profound sadness, misery and confusion descends upon your mind like a thick fog. It is a devastating mental, emotional, and physical hell, comparable to becoming a zombie, one of the living dead. Depression feels like the death of your spirit; leaving you feeling like an empty corpse with all hope lost forever. As time drags on, you feel like you are rotting away mentally and physically. Left untreated, the illness can get progressively worse. You may begin hearing frightening voices in your head which you are convinced are not your own. If you believe in Satan, your reality might transform into what you believe is a demonic world of persecution involving self-condemnation, self-judgment, self-loathing, and self-delusion. You may feel like demons are everywhere trying to possess your corpse. Your mind can be dragged through the very gates of insanity where the voices of hell, frightening apparitions, bizarre delusions, and reality becomes an endless loony tune show playing out in your head and all around you. The mental, emotional and spiritual torment can become so overwhelming, suicide becomes like a friend and death a welcome way out. All the while, your loved ones may be wondering why you can’t get out of bed. Nobody knows or understands what’s happening to you — not even yourself. They wonder why you can’t just “snap out of it.” Even worse, if you do give in to suicide, your loved ones will die a thousand deaths wondering why. And then your living hell will probably become your after death hell as well.
The unfortunate thing about medicine for depression is that they don’t work immediately. It may take up to a month before the medicine begins to take effect. However, medications for many of the symptoms of depression work immediately: such as medicine for anxiety, insomnia and psychosis. This is why it is best to seek help right away and not wait.
Don’t Believe The Bull Crap About Shock Treatments Being Harmful
There is only one treatment for severe depression I know works within days and sometimes immediately. It is electroconvulsive therapy (or ECT or electroshock treatments or “shock treatments”). This treatment has received a very bad reputation from uninformed people in the media and politics – but especially from the movie “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.” It is very unfortunate how this movie had such a damaging effect upon the psychiatric community because of the movie’s misrepresentation of ECT. And it wasn’t like mental illness had a good reputation to begin with either. The hysteria this movie created ultimately resulted in ECT almost being eliminated entirely as a treatment during the 1970’s. The price paid to make a few Hollywood people rich was the needlessly suffering of millions of mentally ill people who couldn’t get access to ECT thanks to the tremendous falsehoods and misconceptions this movie created. The PR damage can be seen even to this day.
The Truth Is This: Electroconvulsive therapy is safer than taking aspirin. The amount of electricity used in this procedure is very tiny. Heart patients get their hearts resuscitated with a far more amount of electricity than ECT. Electroconvulsive therapy saves lives as well because it can prevent people from committing suicide instantly. The procedure is performed while the patient is asleep under anesthetic so there is absolutely no pain involved. Relief from a catatonic depression can be instantaneous using ECT. This occurred to my grandmother (who was also bipolar) after she underwent ECT after suffering catatonic depression for weeks. I cannot praise ECT enough! In fact, my psychiatrist has informed me how my bipolar disorder will likely get worse as I get older like my grandmother. I will not hesitate to have ECT treatment for myself because of the “miraculous” affect it has in immediately ending severe depression. If you have a loved one for whom ECT is recommended, do not hesitate to have it done. It is a life-saver and you’re loved one with thank you for it!