Foto: Marie Søndergaard

How to handle your worst nightmare

How would you react if you woke up after 11 days in a coma and was told that you had survived 20 stab wounds? It sure sounds like something from an episode of Criminal Minds, but nonetheless this is exactly what Marius Løken experienced. 

Written by Marie Søndergaard

50 people had shown up to listen to Marius Løkens own horrific story of how he has moved on with his life after surviving 20 stab wounds and watching his friend being stabbed to death as well. Through his engaging body language and humor he manage to catch the audience from the beginning and even at the most horrible moments of his story, he still manage to have the mental capacity to remind the audience to breathe.

There is one essential rule throughout the talk – remember to laugh – or at least smile when he is trying to add some humor into the talk, since he believes that laughing and smiling are crucial to survive difficult times.

Marius and his friend Andreas went to sleep after they got home from partying in town the night of October 30th. The night of Halloween turned into a real nightmare when one of their own friends entered the bedroom with a big kitchen knife in his hand and began to stab Andreas, who was already a sleep. At first Marius did not react; it was not until Andreas yelled that Marius was forced out of his paralyzed state of mind and that he attacked his friend trying to get him of Andreas.

Photo: Marie Søndergaard
Photo: Marie Søndergaard

This turned into a struggle between them and Marius got himself stabbed. As he said: “It’s not to sound macho – but getting stabbed is not what hurts the most – it was not knowing what was going on. It was hurting in my head, which was working intense trying to understand what was happening.”

After being stabbed several times his survival instinct was strong, which got him outside the building and into a taxi. The taxi-driver drove without any hesitation or questions straight to the hospital. Even though he is a part of the reason that Marius is still alive today he took it pretty easy: I was just at the right place, the right time. A thing, which Marius is pretty grateful for today.

Marius woke up after being in a coma for 11 days with the scars of 20 stab wounds and a difficult time ahead of him trying to cope with the whole situation. Trying to understand that one of his friends had become psychotic believing he was Jesus and tried to kill two of his friends, Marius and Andreas.

When hearing this story it is impossible to imagine how a person would be able to move on with their life. Most people would become very depressive, very angry, hate the world or react in thousands other ways. Marius is not a super human – he did experience these feelings. When being at the hospital he just wanted to get home and out of the prison, which the hospital turned in to be like. However, when he made it home to the couch in the living room he realized that nothing was as it used to be.

He had lost 2 friends – the one friend stabbed the other friend to death. As I mentioned in the beginning, it sounds like a scene from Criminal Minds.

When trying to cope with everything that had happened he thought that it went too slow and his frustrations appeared. Getting things back to normal did not go fast enough and people were all at different stages of their own personal process of how to comprehend the whole situation. But all these emotions just strengthen Marius desire for things to go back to normal.

So how did it go back to normal? It did not – but he learned to live with the story and he managed to move on. He will always be known as the young man who survived the “Halloween-murder”. However, he realized that he could teach people how to get through though times and this is exactly the point with his newly published book “En natt I Oktober”. The book is very honest and horrific, describing every detail of his story from October 30th 2011 and until today.

Everyone experiences though times in his or her lives and with his talk, and book, he advice people of how to cope with such unthinkable thing. From his own experience, this is the recipe: Physical activity, routines and social network.

If you had asked him 5 years ago if routines were important to him, he would have said no. But after his past experience, routines has shown to be crucial to him and he now believes that routines are one of the most important and powerful tools to get people back on track.

It has been a rollercoaster ride but Marius now stand stronger than ever, travelling around, talking about his worst nightmare with the strongest mentality that you cannot even imagine. He definitely fought his demons and can now teach many others how to fight their demons.