Jeremiah Savant’s ‘Inside the Inside’
A Parallel Companion to ‘Adventures In Mental Health‘
SIX: There and Back Again
It was dark.
I opened my eyes, and it was light.
I saw myself as if I were looking from the door of a white room, with white lights and hardly visible corners.
Myself was lying on one of three hospital trolleys curtained off from each other, wearing a gown and my underpants, flat on my back and looking upwards so that the first thing I saw when I actually opened my eyes was the fluorescent light above me. But, before I opened my eyes, the ‘I’ who was approaching the ‘me-on-the-trolley’ turned and looked at the woman in hospital scrubs, sitting at the desk by the door. This version of me then disappeared as I opened my eyes – but not before I felt as though I were in the two places at once.
Now that ‘me, myself and I’ had resolved to be in the same place at the same time, I took a moment to look around without moving; there was no pain. I felt under the gown; unsullied underpants – good. I lifted my head, and in the silence, I said,
“Excuse me, which hospital am I in?”
The woman at the desk looked up suddenly, her face was so white I could barely see it. I heard her tell me the name of the hospital, barely registering her shocked expression and her rushing to the door. I thanked her and gently put my head back down, letting my eyes close and the blackness inside envelope me with its warm blanket.
And worried-looking parents sitting by the bed in a curtained cubicle. I briefly wondered what had happened to that white room, but my head hurt too much. Things were being said, but to other people and far away and WILL SOMEONE PLEASE TURN DOWN THE BLOODY VOLUME..!? More black. No… wait, it’s light again, and I’m being asked if I know who I am and what my job is… yes, I tell them these things and I float in a seasicky sort of way on the trolley into the x-ray room, where I am pulled this way and that… turn my head? Yes, I have. It won’t go any further right now, that will have to do… my leg? Alright, but I need you to straighten it for m– YOW-OUCH! Warn me next time… can I..?
Black. Light again, the guy is saying that he does not believe what he is looking at and it is my x-ray sheets, so back in I go and the same thing… like this..? AAARGH!
THAT HURTS! and into the black I go.
Ouch, it still hurts.
A small room, with a window and a bed with me in it. Next to the bed is some furniture of a hospital-ish sort, and a couple of chairs and my parents are there. I tell them that I am basically alright, I just hurt a lot all over. After some time, they go and I am alone. I sleep. I wake, and I am bursting for a wee. I press a button and a voice from nowhere freaks me out. I tell the voice my problem, and I am brought a bottle, helped out of bed a bit and then I relax and fall asleep some more. Thirst brings me awake. I am brought water and I drink like an elephant. Sleep claims me. Full bladder wakes me… so the pattern goes on about a two-hour cycle through the night. Finally, next morning, groggy and hung-over, I awake to a knock at the door and the entry of the breakfast lady.
Would I like some tea? Yes, with sugar, please – it is lukewarm, very sweet and tastes like the Nectar of the Gods. Teacup drained, I have a refill, only not so lukewarm, not so sweet but equally pleasing. What is that? Porridge? Bring it on. Again, lukewarm and sweet, slightly lumpy but smooth, it tastes like Ambrosia – the Food of the Gods. I ask if she has any cigarettes, and she passes them to me (in these Old Days, we patients could smoke in certain places, and my room was one of them), and I sucked on the burning tobacco. All of that done, a quick wee again, and back to sleep.
Awake to a WPC ready to ask me about the accident. I tell her that I seemed to have blacked out before I got to the road and kept running for some reason, the next thing I knew I was hit by the car… she went; but that was not even half of the story.
As my parents prepared to leave to go out for lunch, and my younger sister put the fryer on for our own fish and chips, I decided to take myself off to the pub for a quick smoke and a half of lager. I ran out of the back gate and was heading down the alleyway between the suburban gardens and the last thing I remember seeing was exiting the alleyway and entering the large car park.
The access road to the car park was about 50 metres long, and I recall none of it. The next thing I remember is a noise which somehow still resonates in my soul; an echoing crunching bang of impact. Somehow, I knew what had happened.
I had run out into the road and had been hit by a car – which had been speeding; I knew this because I had fallen off the motorcycle at forty miles an hour often enough to know what such an impact felt like. There was great coldness, like entering a walk-in freezer, followed by the sensation of a heavy weight and sudden warmth. I think I surmised that the weight which had caused the warmth was a pile of coats put on me; an indeterminate time later, and I was floaty; somehow I knew I was being put into the ambulance. Blind and deaf, completely prone, I declared my name and address and phone number. Then:
“I’m a bit embarrassed about this, but I can’t see or hear, and I’m really rather frightened in here,” I said and raised my hand, bending my arm at the elbow. “Just so I know that there’s someone out there, would you please hold my hand so I can feel safe?” I felt a hand slide into mine and
It was as if he was flying through the universe. It wasn’t until years later that Jeremiah knew how to describe the memory, and the way he does this is to liken his experience to watching the Windows ‘Flying Through The Stars’ screensaver kick in. It was as if he were flying through space and time at warp speed, yet without any sensation.
At some point, he stopped, and became aware of people around him; a lot of people, and all around him – the full 360 degree sphere of around him – which didn’t particularly make any sense, as he still appeared to himself to be totally cut off from the senses of sight and sound… in fact, his body didn’t particularly appear to be connected to him in any way whatsoever. Flooding through him was an overwhelming sensation of, ‘Thank GOD that’s over.’
‘That,’ of course, being ‘life’. He no longer felt alive in the way that he’d always been used to. Sightlessly, and without sensation, he raised his hands from by his sides and inspected them, wiggling the fingers, not-seeing and not feeling them… but knowing that they were there and working perfectly. (For years, he had no particular interpretation of what he believed he was experiencing except to say that it was as if people were standing/moving around him on invisible walkways and floors and there was a lot of cloudy dry-ice mist around – but that never felt quite right.
When he first saw the X-Men movie, however, the imagery of one scene catapulted him back to that moment; it was the scene when Cerebro is turned on and ghostly images of all of Earth’s inhabitants appear within the large sphere.)
Then, from the distance Jeremiah recognised someone; his great uncle, who had died many years previously – although time didn’t seem to be relevant at that moment. Uncle arrived close by, and greeted Jeremiah – who has a memory of seeing and hearing all of this, but knows it’s impossible because either it’s a total figment of his imagination or he really was… elsewhere… and that the elsewhere was so different from the somewhere he was used to being in that his normal human senses made no sense of it. Despite having these memories, they seem diffuse and odd to Jeremiah, as if they belong to a time and place so different from human understanding that it just doesn’t fit into the imagination.
Jeremiah remembers the warm greeting, then deep sadness and
“You have to go back,” said Uncle, and Jeremiah knew immediately that this was true. He nodded sadly and cried with sadness for a millennium. “You have (work?) (a job?) to do. I have to send you back.” They mutually turned away from each other and headed back in the ‘directions’ they had come from and Jeremiah was aware he was no longer in that place. Looking around himself, he found that
It was dark.
I opened my eyes, and it was light.
I saw myself as if I were looking from the door of this white room, with white lights and hardly visible corners…
I was out of hospital a few days later with a limp and a walking stick, and it all faded into the past. I thought little of it until the 20th anniversary, when it started to play on my mind that I had had a ‘Near Death Experience’ (NDE) and decided to research it on the internet. There were some fairly serious studies about Out of Body Experiences, but I had not had an OOBE. The testimonies of that, spoke of floating near the ceiling and looking down on the activity surrounding the rapidly-deceasing. As far as I could recall, I had skipped that part and gone straight to the full-on, ‘don’t go into the light!’ scenario. Further into the depths of the internet I went, nearly giving up until then I hit upon a way of asking the search engines to get me where I wanted to go… but when I got there, I had the most almighty shock of my (2nd) life.
I was sickened by the load of sanctimonious, limp, pathetic twaddle people peddle about the NDE, balanced only by a tiny amount of scientific stuff about neurons misfiring and causing hallucinations – which is plausible no matter what the perceived experience is. The majority of it, however, was pseudo-religious wishy-washy ‘tunnel of light filled with winged angels and divine love’ type stuff which I can imagine could be envisioned by creepy American Mad Cat Ladies with luridly coloured late 1960s décor, clear plastic covers on the comfy furniture who carry excess weight in their monstrous pants-suits while revering The Holy Bible as God’s Own Truth and have a handgun within arms’ reach at all times in case the Commies came to call… God Bless America And The Kennedy Boys – Brothers In Heaven! I may be wrong, of course…
Every account I read, talked of ‘being with angels’ and ‘feeling deep love’ along with a deep sadness of being dead. Tunnels of light. Clouds… it was all there, along with beloved mother/brother/husband welcoming with open arms. Then, despite this, ‘I happily chose to come back because…’ followed by some reason. Wanting to see their children or family again was a popular one; or for the love of some pet called Mr Tiddles or somesuch… but always, some form of gorgeous glowy being makes an offer to stay which is kindly declined.
Although so many of the websites dedicated to this phenomenon are truly nauseating in their presentations, I did gather that whatever was happening seemed more measurably similar than not, once I got past all the sugary accounts fuelled by these warped and childlike imaginations. My research had shown that not only was I not the only one, but there was a definite pattern to it all – whatever it actually happened to be. If simply a hard reboot of the brain, then it shuts down ready to be restarted pretty much like a computer does; but if something else is the truth, dependent upon the life experiences and superstitions of the person involved, the pattern is mostly exactly the same but for interpretation for those who remember. Except me. Instead of feeling surrounded by love, I was so glad to be gone from Here, This Place, The World, Life (however you want to put it) that I cannot express it in words. I cannot even say that it was the most visceral relief I have ever felt, because at the time I believe I experienced it, I was not in anything that could be described as a body. The second major variation which I found myself seemingly unique in going through (assuming that the memories of the experience are accurate, true and real) is this:
I WAS SENT BACK AGAINST MY WILL.
Yes, I sort of had a sense of purpose, but I did not (still don’t) know what it was (is) – and I did not choose it. Now, this ‘job’ or ‘work’ I have to do; it might be anything. If it is a single job, it might be that I am still here simply to pass someone in the street at some point, and that particular incident has a cascade effect – or it not happening has a cascade effect which is not the outcome which is supposed to be… or something. Or maybe it is something more significant. Perhaps someone reading a tweet or a writing of mine will have a different outlook on life which then has its own cascade…
It is maddening that I do not know. For all I know, I have already done what I was sent back to do. I also know that it is not something I am supposed to know, because if I do, then the outcome will be changed (again, assuming that my memories and feelings regarding the experience are accurate, real and true). So aside from my increasing puzzlement at the world in general and people’s motivations to be it in particular, and aside from my suicidal ideation and resentment at my parents having created me in this form in the first place, I also feel the entirety of eternity rattling around in my head… and my head is not only too small to contain it, but not designed to do such a thing in the first place. All I can say on that is it is a good thing I have such a hole in my soul.
Or it could be my imagination.
So, as I said above, to get an idea of what I kind of remember seeing during this experience, look at the depictions of using Cerebro in the X-Men films… and to sort of feel what I feel about the whole thing, watch the Star Trek film, Generations; the character of Tolien Soren, as played my Malcolm McDowell, is someone I greatly identify with. The madness he is driven to is there within me…
Most of the time, I can ignore everything I have related here. Sometimes, it is almost too much to bear. Whichever way it all goes, I have fought myself long and hard to accept that I have these memories this experience… and that whether it actually happened (or cosmically speaking, still is happening) or not is irrelevant.
THIS IS WHAT I REMEMBER.
If you cannot understand or believe, that is fine; all I ask is that you respect it.
Jeremiah Savant’s ‘Inside the Inside’ is a parallel companion to ‘Adventures In Mental Health‘.
If you would like to connect with Jeremiah, or have any questions about this series, feel free to get in touch.