On the 11th of November 1993 in Zurich, Switzerland I was poisoned with Strychnine. This substance is mainly used to kill rats and it can be lethal even when inhaled in small amounts. I was 17 when an "emotionally challenged man" decided to kill me and gave me something that contained rat poison and sugar so that I would die faster. Unaware of what I had just been given, I went to school and started to feel sick. The teacher told me that I was green in the face and that it would be best if I go home.

On my way out I set up a meeting with my boyfriend, telling him that I would meet him at 2 o'clock at the bridge by Zurich's Limmat River. I had to pass by the river on my way home and felt so sick that I could no longer walk. I didn't understand what was going on. There were stone benches along the river and I lied down on one. It slowly dawned on me that something was terribly wrong. I watched the ducks swimming in the water... that was the last thing I saw, before I died.

Suddenly I woke up. It was like waking up from a nightmare. I was terrified and disoriented. Everything looked the same as before. I saw the river, the benches, and the bridge but it seemed as if a veil was hanging over the world. I remembered that I had been lying on the stone bench and realized that I was no longer lying there. I was afraid. I thought completely clear: “I'm not sitting. I'm not standing. I'm not lying down. Nothing on my body touches the ground. How am I existing?” I could not figure it out. My feelings of fear were expanding. It was as if my soul was completely consumed by fear and remorse, guilt and despair and that was all that I existed of.

I realized that it was 2 o'clock in the afternoon. I remembered my date at 2 on the bridge with my boyfriend. I wanted to go there and floated through the air. I didn't have to go very far because I could see what was happening on the bridge, even though I was not on it. I saw that my boyfriend was not there yet (which he later confirmed). Even though I was not on the bridge I could see what was happening there. It was as if I could see anything I wanted to see. There were no limitations. I was still in the air and full of fear. The fear was so strong that I started to scream. I did not know that I was dead. I did not know what was happening. I screamed but I could not hear my voice. I could not use my vocal cords. Instead, I heard my voice as if someone would think a loud cry. That upset me even more. It was so terrifying. I was all alone. No one else was there in that place, but then I heard voices that sounded like they were under water and I turned around.

Paramedics were in a panic. They were working hastily on someone lying on one of the benches. It did not occur to me to look at the person lying there, which was I of course. I went close to them and looked at one of them. It was as if a glass wall was between us. I went straight up to his face but he ignored me. I got upset. I tried to speak to him but he didn't listen to me. I was just ignored by all of them. I started yelling at them without my voice. Only my thoughts screamed: “I cannot go. I cannot go. Don't you hear me? I still have to meet my boyfriend.” I screamed and got right into their faces and then it hit me that they could neither see nor hear me. I was horribly frightened.

I went up, flew upwards to the crowns of the trees and I started to cry but I had no tears. I was so lonely and I felt like this was all a terrible mistake. Not me. Why me? I missed everyone that I loved, thinking that I would never see them again. Like everyone that I loved died at once because I died. But I was not aware that I had died - it was as if death doesn't exist, because it is just a different type of existence - like you are going to another dimension but continue to exist. I felt like I was separated from everyone in the world but was still trapped in the world. My surroundings were the same as before but I could fly and everything was drenched in a bit of a gray tone.

Everything seemed really gray. Then I heard someone calling a name. It was not my name. The name was Michele. They kept on calling it and calling it. I all of a sudden remembered that my ID used my second name instead of my first. My second name is Michele even though nobody ever called me by that name. I just knew in that instance what had happened; they had looked at my ID, got the name from it and were now calling me by it to try to get me to come to them. I flew toward the voices until the paramedics surrounded me and it was like I was sucked into something. I was back in my body and it was overwhelming. It was so tight. I shook uncontrollably and had severe, painful muscle spasms. I had no control over my body. I had such violent convulsions that the paramedics had to tie me down. I just screamed and cried and tried to kick them. I was so upset and shocked about what had happened to me.

One of the paramedics leaned over and I recognized him from before. I tried to speak to him but it was almost impossible because my voice was shaking so much. It was so extreme to have my voice back. I asked him: “Why did you not answer me? Why did you not listen to me?” He was puzzled and asked me: “When?” And I said: “Just now, at 2 o'clock.” He told me: “You never spoke to me. You have just had a cardiac and respiratory arrest. At 2 o'clock you were dead! You cannot fall asleep again. You have to stay awake. If you fall asleep again you might not come back. You have to be strong.” I told him: “I am as strong as a horse.”

Because I was mistaken for a drug addict, I was not taken to a hospital but rather to a police station where I had to undergo an intensive interrogation. As a direct result of the lack of medical treatment, I collapsed a second time and had another cardiac and respiratory arrest. Only after I died the second time was I finally given the proper medical care I needed and was taken to the emergency room and later handed over to the intensive care unit. There they made an analysis and that's how I found out that I had been poisoned.

The second time I died, I did not experience anything except for complete darkness, nothing else. Just darkness. Ever since, I cannot be in the dark. I can only sleep with the lights on. Even though my experience was terrifying I am grateful that I got to die to know that we live on. I, however, felt for a long time that I had to atone for my actions that day. That it was my fault that I had died and that it was God's way of sending me to hell to punish me. I found a lot of comfort in religions. I became Jewish, then Buddhist, then Mormon and now I am just spiritual.

I am not afraid of death anymore. I sometimes still have a lot of jealous feelings toward people who have had a nice NDE because it hurts to have been left alone. I would have liked to feel loved and see angels but I just didn't. Often people judge me and tell me that I had such a bad NDE because of being a bad person. So I stopped sharing my experience - until today.