Overload

Drowning

Category: Events

Type

Involuntary

Introduction and description

Alice in Wonderland – the drowning of the dormouse – John Tenniel

Drowning is death from asphyxia due to suffocation caused by a liquid entering the lungs and preventing the absorption of oxygen leading to cerebral hypoxia.  It can result in hallucinations and other spiritual experiences – including out of body states.

Background

According to the World Health Organization, drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for 7% of all injury related deaths (est. 388,000 deaths by drowning in 2004, excluding those due to natural disasters).  In many countries, drowning is one of the leading causes of death for children under 12 years old. For example, in the United States, it is the second leading cause of death (after motor vehicle crashes) in children 12 and younger. The rate of drowning in populations around the world varies widely according to their access to water, the climate and the national swimming culture.

 

How it works

Physically

Drowning itself is quick and silent, although it may be preceded by distress which is more visible. A person drowning is unable to shout or call for help, or seek attention.

A conscious victim will hold his or her breath and will try to access air, often resulting in panic, including rapid body movement. This uses up more oxygen in the blood stream and reduces the time to unconsciousness. The victim can voluntarily hold his or her breath for some time, but the breathing reflex will increase until the victim will try to breathe, even when submerged.

If water enters the airways of a conscious victim, the victim will try to cough up the water or swallow it, thus inhaling more water involuntarily.

Upon water entering the airways, both conscious and unconscious victims experience laryngospasm, that is the larynx or the vocal cords in the throat constrict and seal the air tube. This prevents water from entering the lungs. Because of this laryngospasm, water enters the stomach in the initial phase of drowning and very little water enters the lungs.

But of course laryngo spasm interferes with air entering the lungs, thus leading to hypoxia.  The effects from this point are those of hypoxia or if you prefer asphyxiation.  In most victims, the laryngospasm relaxes some time after unconsciousness and water can enter the lungs causing a "wet drowning". However, about 10-15% of victims maintain this seal until cardiac arrest. This is called "dry drowning", as no water enters the lungs. In either case the cause of the experience is still hypoxia.

Functionally

It may be helpful now to refer to the Model of the Mind and to have read the generic description of How spiritual experience works.

Much of our  Reasoning and Memory are not essential functions.  Thus these two functions are actually suppressed. 

What takes the place of these functions is an overwhelming input of messages from the sensory systems – all of them – that says HELP HELP HELP – we are being deprived of oxygen – all of us, we are dying DO SOMETHING. 

But the Will, is unable to do something – it has no learnt function with which to counter the Threat and it is struggling all the time to ensure the Autonomic systems keep going.

Eventually the Will exhausted by the battle, gives in and the Composer takes over and we have our spiritual experience – which may happen just shortly before we die!

Related observations