Everyone loves to say ‘i’m not really afraid of death’ and thats fair enough, but let’s see how confident you are when you’re lying on a hospital bed looking up at some doctors while everything you have ever known fades to black.
My first brush with death came when I was 17. My friend had invited myself and another friend of mine up to visit him at Wagga Wagga university for the weekend and stay with him on campus. The friend of mine I was going up with had always been a little reckless (like me) and we didn’t exactly have a clean slate together already. I think when you’re young you don’t really think ahead with these kinds of things anyway.
Heading off from Sydney, we stayed the night at his Dad’s place on the coast (I think it was in Nelson Bay), smoked a heap of cones and only got a few hours sleep before starting the long drive early in the morning.
As we got on the highway, his driving was already extremely lax, driving with 1 finger, with his knees, going way over the speed limit, texting on his phone etc. I didn’t really wanna say anything because I didn’t wanna be pedantic about his driving, but I did tell him to slow down at one point.
Before too long, he starts seeing how fast he can go on a straight stretch of road (was up to about 160km/s by this point) while standing up with his head out of the sunroof. It was kinda fun, but also terrifying at the same time. I told him to relax and drive normally but he didn’t want to listen and there wasn’t much I could do at this stage.
He pulls out a bong and decides to start smoking cones while he’s driving on the highway. I suggested that maybe we could at least pull over to smoke, but as you can probably guess by now he didn’t listen. I then suggested that maybe a 6th cone was a little excessive but to no avail.
Eventually we were driving through a little country town called Tarago. We were flying along at around 130 km/h and we come to a t-intersection. He suddenly realises that we need to turn right instead of going straight and cranks the wheel all the way to the right. Because of he was so high I don’t think he realised what this would actually do to the car and before you know it we’re drifting sideways around the corner. The car is going so fast it mounts the kerb and keeps skidding sideways through the grass. After about 10 metres of going sideways, the wheels dig into the grass and the car starts to roll. I remember as the car started to flip thinking ‘wow… how did we get here? We were just driving in a straight line’. I look up at my friend and he’s just as surprised as I am and we make eye contact for a split second as he’s in the air above me. Keep in mind this is all happening in a matter of seconds and to top it off i’m blazed as fuck which doesn’t help my mindset either. The car keeps rolling and all I can say is “fuck fuck fuck fuck!” with a feeling of ‘is this really happening?’. After rolling over 3 times the car stops on its side and we manage to climb out of the door. The car is completely totalled but thankfully the roof didn’t cave in. Even more luckily, there was nothing on the kerb to stop the car. If there had been anything there like a pole or a house, there wouldn’t be much left of me as I was closest to the kerb.
The car is completely fucked so we walk down to the local pub to get a beer and think about what the fuck just happened. We manage to give our totalled car to a tow truck driver in exchange for a lift to Goulburn and continue on our journey.
Don’t do any of the above… If someone is driving badly never be afraid to speak up. When you drive you have a responsibility for other people’s lives. In the back of my mind now i’m always conscious that a car crash just come out of nowhere, so i’m always a bit more cautious when I drive.
The second time I was a bit older, and only a little wiser at 24.
On Friday night I loaded myself up on ketamine and cocaine (the combination is known as CK. It feels great but puts a bit of strain on the heart, which makes sense considering one is a tranquilliser and the other a vasoconstrictor).
The following night I went to a friends house and took some GHB. I had recently discovered it and was in a phase of using it a lot. I remember feeling really disconnected from my body and I was able to sit outside and astral project really easily (another thing I had been into at the time). After doing that for a few hours I went to lie down to get some sleep. Just as I was drifting off something woke me up with a jolt. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what had woken me up but I instantly knew that something was wrong. I then realised it was my survival instinct trying to keep me alive. My heart was pumping way faster than normal and I felt disorientated and couldn’t think straight. When I tried to stand up I couldn’t really walk either and I knew shit was about to go down. I started to worry a bit and I walked outside and called the ambulance and told them I was having a drug overdose. What I didn’t realise at the time was that the ketamine and the cocaine were still in my liver from the night before and were released by the GHB (a nervous system depressant and relaxant) and had combined with the GHB to make a potent combo. This in turn combined with a different chemical I had been taking regularly at the time which put even more strain on my body and my heart was struggling to keep up.
In the ambulance I was going in and out of consciousness and my memory was not really working properly. The ambulance staff were trying to ask me questions about my address and things but I was struggling to even remember my own name. Luckily the process of trying to remember seemed to help keep me conscious somehow and I think they knew that. All I could really say by that stage was ‘what’s happening?’ and ‘where am I?’ and was just generally confused. I could tell they were trying to say positive things in soothing tones like “we’re just going to take you to the hospital to have a little look at you okay” to keep me from worrying, but their conversations in the background seemed to tell a different story.
The next moment I remember is like a scene from a movie, lying down on the hospital bed with the doctors rushing around me putting heart rate monitors on me and injecting me with something to slow my heart down. Apparently I was getting close to heart attack range. My heart was beating really fast but pumping very little blood. Everyone loves to say ‘i’m not really afraid of death’ and thats fair enough, but let’s see how confident you are when you’re suddenly lying on a hospital bed looking up at some doctors while everything you have ever known fades to black. When the time comes so unexpectedly, there’s certainly fear there. As I felt death quickly becoming a very real possibility just around the corner, I kept thinking to myself ‘how the fuck does it just end like this?’ My vision was fading and I was starting to lose sensation in my body. Everything was moving at such great speed, my thoughts, my emotions, my heart, my vibration, my breathing, I had no time to think about anything, I was just totally absorbed in the moment and just hoping that I would make it out the other side. I felt my spirit starting to vibrate faster and start to quite literally lift up and leave my body. Initially I was full of panic and fear, but eventually I crossed a threshold where I knew that there was no turning back. After I reached that point all fear subsided and a great sense of peace came over me. It was the peace that comes with the acceptance of the things you can’t change. My life was just right there hanging in the balance and I knew that whatever happened next was just the next logical step in the process and if I did die it would be the most incredible thing since being born. That was when I realised that death isn’t anything to be afraid of, it’s just different from anything you’re used to, and when it comes you just have to see what happens. You don’t even have to accept it, it will just happen to you eventually anyway. Think of it like when you’re on a rollercoaster and it just starts to move and you know there’s nothing you can do so you’ve just gotta go with it. You can rest assured knowing that when you die there is only fear and pain up until a certain point, and after that it’s actually quite peaceful. My life didn’t exactly flash before my eyes, but I do remember thinking about all of the things I had left to do on this earth and all of the people I would be leaving behind. I could almost see myself on the news the next day. People say that ultimately you are the one who decides whether you keep living and that certainly was the case for me. There’s a certain kind of willpower that you can summon to keep yourself living at that point.
Eventually my heart slowed down and my breathing returned to normal and I realised that I would live to fight another day. You can’t imagine the range of emotions you go through after you get close to death like that. Literally everything you’ve ever known is almost just taken away from you forever. I was alternating from states of complete shock, to crying, to laughing uncontrollably. At the end of the day death makes you see just how fragile life really is, and after that you can’t really be as serious about it all. But at the same time there’s sadness because everything you’ve ever been attached to could have dissapeared too and who knows what comes next. I thanked the doctors and they told me to look after myself more in the future (if only I listened). I remember walking out of the hospital and I fist pumped and shouted “FUCK YES” because I was so happy to just be alive. If there was one time that I could fully appreciate life, it was right then.
You just don’t know your limits until you cross them. Bendering a lot and not looking after yourself can have negative consequences. A drug overdose can come out of nowhere, just like a car crash, especially with things like GHB.
The third time I was at Home nightclub on my 25th birthday at Simon Lovell’s Trance Classics event.
I was having a sweet time, all my friends were around, the music was pumping and things were going smoothly. I thought hey, it’s my birthday, let’s get loose! I racked up a line of MD and was feeling buzzed and was drinking plenty of alcohol. I then had about 4 mls of GHB (sadly old Gina is a seductive mistress. Fool me twice, shame on me?).
Later on my friend hands me a red bull with some G in it and I stupidly ask if I can finish it, not even thinking about how much was left in there. I finish the can and it ends up having about 5mls in the bottom. This was not too long after I had the previous 4 mls or so, as well as plenty of drinks and other things.
Now I had ‘G dropped’ prior to this, but this was not your ordinary drop. Within minutes I got tunnel vision and I was having trouble standing up straight. I go to walk outside and before I even get there I’m out cold on the stairs of the venue.
Next thing you know I hear the voice of a woman coming through the murky depths of my consciousness. “Wake up Lorin, can you hear me? You’ve had a drug overdose Lorin”. I remember I had been somewhere far, far away, way below the level of dreaming. I was in a semi-coma by that stage. When I went to hospital previously it was such an intense and scary experience. This was a lot more peaceful, just heading deeper and deeper below consciousness. Dying in your sleep is definitely the way to go.
It was hard for me to remember everything that happened in that deep unconscious state, but I remember brief glimpses of this immense energy that gives life to everything, kind of like this one massive life force.
I woke up and saw my friends standing around me. My friend Niall told me that I had a drug overdose and I was in hospital. It had been about 6 hours since I had been at the event. Any longer and they would have put me on a breathing machine. The first thing I said was ‘fuck, again??’ I couldn’t believe what had happened once I woke up. I was then talking to the doctors about how death really isn’t anything much to worry about because it’s just the other side of the coin to life. It seemed like they’d heard it all before anyway.
That was when I realised there wouldn’t be a third time and I needed to reassess my lifestyle ASAP. It made me think about the role of drugs in my life and what a balance really is. Drugs are nowhere near as important to me as they used to be now. I used to think that I could find the answer to all of life’s problems through psychedelics and that party drugs like G and M were fine to do every weekend. These days I see drugs as something more for special occasions and I approach them with more respect. I also just listen to my body more too. As cliche as it sounds, the real goal is to find happiness without them. Save them for when you want to elevate your mood a bit and share good times with friends.
Overall we should remember that two of the most common ways for people to die are in car accidents and drug overdoses (prescription or otherwise). I’m glad that I’ve had these experiences at such a young age because it means I can now approach them with the respect that they deserve and show this to others too. As humans we are hardwired to avoid repeating painful experiences and what could be more painful then almost dying. I don’t believe in coincidences anymore.
On a more holistic level, we forget just how fragile and fleeting this life really is. You could honestly be here one moment and gone the next. It takes something like coming closer to death to remind you of that.