New Idea's Kelvin Cruickshank has gone from being a dyslexic chef to renowned psychic. As a child he tried to ignore the voices and visions, but seeing dead people cost him his marriage and, in this exclusive extract from his autobiography, he tells how it nearly cost him his life...
While going through all the dark spiritual stuff, I'd also hurt my wife, my son, my friends.
I couldn't see a way forward, and so I decided I'd take myself out. I felt that death would bring me enlightenment, and would be nothing but a relief to all who knew me. I had a firearms cabinet with lots of guns in it. I was about to squeeze the trigger. I had reached the hard point when an angel appeared and she said, 'What about your son?'
About three weeks later it was Javan's fifth birthday. The police had taken all the firearms out of the house. To turn up at your son's birthday and the police turn up and ask you to leave? It was more than I could handle. I was upset and incredibly angry and got into my van and just vanished. I disappeared, didn't see my son for three months, I missed his first day at school because I was away. The things you miss.
Time to wake up
I was trying to work through things with my wife and, best of all, I was seeing my boy again. One night, though, I was feeling a little lost and worried, and full of questions about what was going to happen. I fell asleep, but woke up to an incredibly bright white light. I pulled back the blinds thinking there was a car outside my window, but there was nothing.
As I started to focus I saw my Pop walking towards me. 'I'm always at your side to help. Be strong my boy, as the lesson you have chosen is going to be long and hard but you will make it through and the outcome will be beyond your wildest dreams.'
Part of the deal with my wife meant seeking psychiatric help, so I went to a doctor, and he said, 'What's happening?'
'Mate, I've been seeing dead people. No drama! The only way I can explain it is I'll show you.
'Well, your Dad's here, his name's Edward and he passed of a heart attack, and he's telling me you're a diabetic and you're not doing your medication properly.'
He was tripping out. Then another doctor, a woman, came in. But by this stage I was becoming quite nervy and starting to shake.
'I think you've just spun out Dr Smith, and we need to talk,' she said.
'Well, I'm seeing dead people and I'm obviously freaking people out.
'Let's put it this way, your Mum's Mum has passed into spirit and tells me you're going on a plane on Friday and you're really scared of flying. Are you going to Dunedin?'
'I'm flying to Dunedin on Friday.'
'Oh,' I said, 'you'll be absolutely fine, don't worry about it.' Bad move! She didn't go.
Dr Smith decided that I needed medication. 'We think that you're ADHD and we need to get you to calm down because you're too hyperactive. It's either drugs or we're going to lock you up.'
I agreed because I did want my family back. So I started taking Ritalin, which is a synthetic-based drug used primarily to treat people with ADHD. It just about killed me.
I spent the first week feeling like a zombie. When I rang the doctor and said, 'I don't feel very good. They're making me feel really horrible.'
'It's part of the process,' was all he'd say.
Within six weeks I was a drug addict. My body needed the synthetic-based chemicals - 80 milligrams a day. I never wanted to be an addict, but I knew that if I didn't take them I'd be a real mess.
I was beginning to shake really badly, I couldn't breathe properly, couldn't feel anything, One night I woke up shaking. I started foaming at the mouth and my neck was twisting around in spasms and my eyes were rolling backwards. I was unable to breathe and panicking, and the next thing I was on the floor convulsing. I remember arriving at Tauranga Hospital and being pulled out of the car by the technical team and I heard them asking what drugs I'd taken.
The doctors all thought I was a drug addict OD-ing, or that I'd taken something else on top of the Ritalin. They wouldn't accept there was anything wrong with the Ritalin and sent me home. They seemed to think I was all right.
Into the light
[Kelvin then tried to go cold turkey and came straight off the Ritalin. He was hallucinating and constantly shaking so he was rushed to hospital for a third time where he had a severe seizure.]
I can't describe the peace that I felt, the calm, the serenity, especially after having been through all the trauma. It was completely white light.
I had conversations with two people - my Pop told me a lot of personal things about what to do and how to make things better.
He said I had to heal myself - so I did, and here I am now, drug-free and not ADHD or nuts.
Secondly I spoke to Jesus. He told me my journey was to help people understand life after death, to educate folks to understand and to set them free from fear.
I can't say whether they proved me clinically dead or not, but they worked hard to get me back.
I'm not denying that this [Ritalin] is a drug that greatly helps some people, but for me it was totally the wrong thing. It took away nearly two years of my life, and then another year of recovery.
I want people to know that all I have today, my spiritual abilities, didn't come out of the sky. I worked hard emotionally, physically and spiritually by being as positive as I can be. I've been at death's door three times. I've been left on the floor by ambulance drivers who thought I was a drug addict. I've been to hell and back (for want of words) to be where I am today because I trusted the light.
(This is an excerpt taken with permission from Walking in Light by Kelvin Cruickshank. Published by Penguin Group (NZ) RRP $40. Available now from all good booksellers nationwide. Copyright © Kelvin Cruickshank 2009. Kelvin is touring with his book this week. For details visit www.penguin.co.nz.)