Author Kelly Walsh took an overdose to escape her living hell, but a spiritual encounter while recuperating in hospital had a life-changing effect on her world
The day I lost hope was 5 October 2009. On that day, I took a huge overdose – in excess of 20,000 milligrams of paracetamol, and waited to die. Some may say it was a cry for help. I can assure you it wasn’t. I was tired, weary and in deep emotional pain. Death seemed like the only option to put an end to the perceived hell I was living in.
You may be wondering how I ended up in such a dark, dismal place. It didn’t happen overnight. It was the result of years of not feeling worthy or good enough. Like a lot of children, I felt different. Like I didn’t quite fit.
On reflection, I realise I grew up with deep-rooted emotional issues that affected my ability to truly love and accept myself. Outwardly, I appeared happy, but that was a mask I often wore to conceal the pain of my breaking heart. Plagued with insecurity, and a deep, unfulfilled need to be loved and accepted, I developed an eating disorder at 16. I dabbled in recreational drugs and, in my 20s, suffered with periods of severe fight-or-flight anxiety and depression. It got so bad that I couldn’t sleep. It would literally feel like sheer torture. I remember just wanting to shut my eyes and to never wake up.
On 9 October 2009, four days following my overdose, I woke up in a hospital bed with my arms across my chest. I opened them in slow motion, like a re-birth and shouted out that I had met God and the angels. I had had a profound and life-changing near-death experience (NDE).
How can this be? Well, the reality is I experienced the feelings of oneness with the universe and Divine Love. I was shown that it wasn’t my time; I still had important work to carry out. The message I was given? That love will heal and transform the world. Self-love being most important of all.
The following evening, I had a vision and shouted: “Like-minded souls will collaborate to change the world.” I was so euphoric and shared my experience with anyone who would listen, but I don’t think I was taken too seriously as I was on a [psychiatric ward.
A week later I miraculously walked out of hospital, fully healed physically, but with emotional and spiritual healing to do.
I know my experience may sound crazy. It does to me at times! But this is what happened. Fortunately, sharing my experience in hospital didn’t result in me being sectioned, as it does for some. I believe far more needs to be done within the healthcare system to understand spiritual-awakening symptoms. Based on my personal experience, a more person-centred, holistic-approach should be considered. Patients would benefit if healthcare workers focused on the collective healing of mind, body and soul.
My anxiety and depression felt like sheer torture. I remember just wanting to shut my eyes and to never wake up
It has taken me seven years to fully process and integrate my experience, but my life since my NDE hasn’t all been plain sailing. Like most people, it’s been a journey of highs and lows. I’ve had to endure the loss of my dearly loved dad to suicide in 2015, and the blame from my mum’s side of the family for his death. The pain I felt on receiving the call that he’d hanged himself is indescribable. However, I truly believe the wisdom I gained during my NDE helped me to deal with his passing in a far more peaceful way than I would have done otherwise. I know life is eternal and we will one day be reunited.
I realised I have been seeking external love and acceptance my whole life, but the person I really needed to seek it from was myself. My life experiences have made me who I am, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m now in a position to help others with their own healing journey to self-love and acceptance.
Ultimately, I believe we are spiritual beings having an earthly experience. At times, our lives can be painful, but all of our experiences, including pain and suffering, help us to learn, grow and develop. It’s only when we go home that everything finally makes full sense. It’s worth always remembering that no matter what challenges you face, you are loved – and are loved unconditionally. We all are.
I am passionate about raising awareness of suicide, and speaking openly and honestly about my experience at both ends of the spectrum. I wonder, perhaps if I had spoken to my dad about this in more detail he would still be with us today?
My NDE, and other spiritual experiences I’ve had since, have changed me. I now know God’s unconditional love to be true. Through my own darkness, I found my light and this has become my divine power.
Whatever your own beliefs, I hope that my words can help ease the pain and suffering of those who have lost someone. It’s time to end the stigma associated with mental health issues and suicide. We need to encourage people to speak openly and honestly about their feelings rather than hide them like a dark guilty secret.
Today I am a published author, speaker, coach and mentor. I live in Manchester with my soulmate, best friend and rock, Neil, and our angel puppy Coco. I’m also blessed to have two wonderful stepsons, to be part of an awesome alternative family, and to have lots of amazing friends from around the world. I founded the Positivity Power Movement, which fuels the activity of the Love, Care, Share Foundation. The goal of the foundation is to make a positive difference in children’s lives worldwide. Today I have a happy, healthy heart, mind and soul.
Life is wonderful. It is a divine gift!
‘The Transformative Power of Near-Death Experiences’, by Kelly Walsh and Dr Penny Sartori, is out now (Watkins, £10.99).
We all have times that feel difficult – overwhelming even. Kelly’s remarkable story of transformation illustrates how it’s possible for a person to move from a place of darkness into a life of positivity and hope. Whatever our beliefs, we all have the potential to find our own path to a brighter future. Kelly is testament to the fact that all our life experiences can be used for the good, once we have found the help we need and given ourselves time to heal.