My Friend Choked Me Out. I Chose Not to Die.

If I died, his life would be in ruins because he didn’t know his own strength

Jason Henry
Oct 22, 2018 · 3 min read
Illustration: Joseph Melhuish

In 2015, a couple of my friends and I traveled to the north coast of Jamaica, just to chill for a weekend. It was a good time, considering the inner turmoil I was going through; unrequited love, limited job prospects. The sun and sea served as a nice contrast to my lopsided sanity.

We smoked some herb and I distinctly remember not feeling much of anything, until suddenly, I did. A friend of mine said something, I can’t remember what, and I made some joke that caused him to put me in a headlock. That may sound weird, but this had happened before, and everything seemed fine at first. But then I started tapping out like McGregor versus Nurmagomedov, and he wasn’t taking the hint. I would’ve loved to have told him to stop, but I simply couldn’t talk, and there was no one else there at the time to pull him off.

And that’s when it happened.

I’ve had close brushes with death before. I even remember wanting to know a near-death experience, as long as I didn’t die.

But be careful what you wish for. You might just get it and a sore neck, too.

From the outside, I saw myself slump towards the floor. Suddenly, a black screen with what appeared to be the longest serial number in life (or perhaps the serial number of my life) was typed out in orange coder font. Then, the code got deleted, as if it was all highlighted, and then deleted with one keystroke.

I had found what I was looking for and I only slightly minded that it was in death.

What followed next was akin to so many of the near-death experiences I’ve heard about before. A radiant light was around me, and for the first time, I had experiential knowledge that I was not my body. The anxiety of life and the symbols of success were obliterated.

This was the experience I had spent my life searching for.

I basked in this glow, and then a voice asked, “Do you want to go back?”

To be honest, it was a really tough decision. On the one hand, I had found what I was looking for and I only slightly minded that it was death. On the other hand, if I died, my friend’s life would be in ruins, all because he didn’t know his own strength. He’s the nicest guy I know so while I was in that space of unconditional love, I was able to carve out room for sadness.

I told the voice, “I’ll go back.” And off I went.

I woke up on the ground, taking a huge gasp of air, with my friend hovering over me, panicking. I climbed up to a standing position, ambled over to the bed and began to laugh uncontrollably. He began to laugh, too, once he saw that everything was going to be fine.

I asked him how long I was out for. To me, it felt like 10 seconds. When he told me it was closer to 30 seconds, I began screaming and laughing even more.

For a time right after the experience, I realized I had been living my life way too seriously. I wasn’t paying attention to the patterns of blessings I received. The notion that you will never have enough until what you have is enough rang more true than it ever has before or since.

But with time, I’ve started to forget. I feel like I was given the answer to life, but instead of using it, I just shoved it in a desk drawer. It’s like an affirmation card I keep in my wallet but never read and completely forget about until I clean out my wallet.

Maybe this is my new chance.

Written by

Former Edu. Psychologist | Current Writer | Constant Learner | “By your stumbling the world is perfected.”

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