Last month I was clinically dead

Age of Awareness
Published in
7 min readNov 9, 2023

Ever wonder what happens to you when you die? Well, wonder no more.

Fair warning: This story is horrible. It’s not uplifting, it’s not inspiring, it doesn’t have a positive message and it’s absolutely nothing like the films. In fact, I’d say there’s a 50/50 chance this is just a thinly veiled suicide letter. I haven’t decided yet.

Cards on the table. My name is Vince, and my life is empty and completely inconsequential.

Truth is, a long time ago I lost my will to live. This is because, like a lot of people with autism, I’m nearing my thirties and I’m still being abused by my mother. Because of how I was trapped in an extremely oppressive social security system that’s given her control of every faucet of my life.

That’s because I don’t have a social security number. She decided to not give me one in my childhood and then moved me to a place where I can barely speak the language. I’m trapped, I’m constantly isolated, and she regularly extorts me for money and unpaid labour by threatening me with eviction.

I basically work for her business in exchange for room and board, my existence is threadbare at best. I have some cash, but the moment a landlord asks for references or proof of income then I’m out of luck. All my mother has to do is to tell them I’m a foreign national with autism and they refuse to rent.

And since my labour is completely untaxed and illegal (and not to mention involuntary) I’m stuck here. Completely trapped. I have absolutely no way out. For most of my childhood she would regularly demean me. Tell me that I didn’t deserve happiness, that if it wasn’t for her I would grow up and be raped in prison. That I’m worthless and stupid. That if my father was alive today he would be ashamed of me. Just the most unspeakable things you’ve ever heard.

And I just have to take it. I just have to put up with it. Day in and day out. Over and over and over again.

My family is comprised of 4 living relatives. I have absolutely no friends since it’s hard enough for people on the spectrum to communicate when you actually speak the language. I just wake up every morning and look myself in the mirror and see how I get older and older and older and there’s just more and more pain and it never ends.

And as a cherry on top, on my last birthday my granddad decided to have lunch with me, and on my way home I was sexually assaulted by a creepy antique dealer.

(And many mooooore)

When other kids went to school, I was locked inside a dark room. Sometimes I didn’t see sunlight for months.

I lost my will to live a long time ago, but I was at least able to live for others. I’d play the stock market, get cash, give it to someone who needed it. I’ve paid for people’s heart surgery, chemotherapy, I’ve gotten homeless people off the streets, I’ve helped refugees, political prisoners, bought people food and medicine, and just made every effort I could to make myself useful to others.

Since my life was worthless and I had no purpose, I figured I may as well do something for others. It seemed selfish to waste a perfectly good pair of hands when there’s so much suffering in the world.

But now that’s all gone. All I have left now is a future of complete isolation, routine abuse, prescription drugs and pure nothingness. When I speak, no one understands me, when people look at me they see a freak. A couple of weeks back I spoke to this girl at a war protest. She had very kind eyes, and it turns out she was a psych student. She asked me if I was okay because I looked like I was constantly terrified.

First stranger in my life who didn’t see me as some kind of jittering psychopath. Who actually understood that my nervous responses was the result of years and years of neverending pain. Only person who ever successfully identified me as something other than a monster.

I can’t wait another 29 years for that to happen again.

This is because I was on holiday. When I actually speak the language, turns out I’m quite popular. Turns out I can make friends, even impress people. Turns out I’m actually valued. You’d figure that would give me hope, right?

It doesn’t. It makes it worse. Because I had to go back, and now I’m trapped again being fully aware of how I have all the potential in the world, and that it’s completely wasted. That if it wasn’t for the fucked up bureaucracy that turns people into second class citizens I could’ve been a real human being.

It makes my current existence twice as painful, twice as miserable, twice as humiliating. I’m a fully capable adult. But the government treats me like a child. And I’m not alone in this. There’s millions of people on the spectrum that live in the exact same situation, I’ve known several of them myself.

I can perform complex mathematics, I have an encyclopaedic knowledge of history, philosophy, art, technology and the hard sciences. I don’t know everything, but you’d be surprised how much a person can learn when they try to fill the void of their painful reality with compulsive studies of just about every topic under the sun.

I can draw pictures, I can play at least 3 instruments, I write poetry and whenever I put my mind to learning something I usually succeed with enough effort.

But because I don’t have a slip of paper from a school that says “I’m a middle class asshole, please give me special treatment.” all of that is useless.

I’ve started to abuse lorazepam to try and stave off my suicidal impulses, but even that’s beginning to wear thin.

Point is: I have a worthless existence, I have no hope, and I have to work to sustain a child abuser who has stolen decades of my life and tortured me throughout my formative years.

I have flashbacks, ptsd episodes, night terrors, eating disorder, I self-harm, I just keep developing worse and worse symptoms as the pain gets worse with no end in sight.

So is it really that surprising then that during my holiday I OD’d. I knew the risks, but so what? What am I risking? Death isn’t that scary to me.

Since this story involves an illegal activity wherein I wasn’t the only participant, I’m going to leave out the where, what and when.

So what happens when you die?

You hear about how people’s lives change because of near death experiences, how it gives you clarity of mind and how it gives you new hope and a bunch of other self-help bullshit.

And it’s part of America’s long running cultural campaign of getting downtrodden people to blame themselves for all the miserable shit they have to put up with.

I felt like I was in two places at once. It was very disorienting, made me seasick. I lost sense of time. It was only for a few minutes, but it felt both longer and shorter at the same time. All I could see was a blue sky full of stars. I was able to sort of swim through it and navigate myself. Sometimes I’d get these intrusive sounds of people trying to talk to me, and I remember it made me feel horrible. Like sandpaper grating itself on the surface of my brain.

But it also made me feel dysmorphic, like I was listening to words not meant for me. Like I was someone else, selfishly trespassing in a body that didn’t belong to me.

And yet it was liberating. Tempting even. For a moment, I felt ethereal. I even felt safe. Since I had no body, no time, and no location, that meant that for the first time in my life nobody could hurt me. It was a wonderful feeling. The most dangerous situation I’ve ever been in, and for the first time in my life I felt safe.

My experience wasn’t life-affirming, it was the opposite. I miss being dead. I miss existing without fear, or hopelessness, or abuse. It was very nice.

And now I’m back here. I don’t feel hopeful, and I don’t know what to do. All I know is that the next time I die, nobody will notice or even care.

But that I really want to highlight is how this is normal. Lots of autistic people experience this, as well as people with other developmental disabilities. If you live in an apartment building, probability is that someone is being routinely abused as you’re reading this, they just have no ability to communicate it or access to any help.

Each day you’re walking past people whose lives are complete nightmares, and if they do anything besides staring at their shoes and blending into the background they’re usually greeted with a friendly “What the fuck are you looking at, creep?”

I would say my mother is the only bad guy in this story, but that’s not true. I’ve saved people from abusive households, I know that’s possible and surprisingly easy. It’s also your fault. All of you. Everyone reading this who thinks they have no responsibility to humanity. Between all the platitudes, the positivity bullshit, the self-help culture, the “inspirational stories” and your dumbass stereotypes about mentally ill people.

I remember when I was a kid, I would scream and call for help for hours, I’d try calling social services, I tried to get any help possible and it all fell on deaf ears.

I’m no longer afraid of hell, because at least you all won’t be there.