Well, first let me say that you do not die and come back. Vampires are not dead or undead. Basically, what happens is that you do undergo some changes, but they are nothing supernatural or superhuman. [NOTE: The following is pertinent to blood vampirism, not psychic vampirism, and is written from my own perspective and experience.]
When someone is awakened (sometimes percieved as being turned), they can expect to develop a thirst for blood; increased sensitivity to bright lights, heat, cold, etc….skin, eyes, taste, smell are more sensitive…emotional states, feelings, perceptions…these are felt more acutely and will vary wildly at times; others report various gastric/digestive problems develop, but I never had too much trouble (at least not that I was aware of or ascribed to being relevant to my condition at the time); you quite possibly would be a candidate for getting migraine headaches; check also this FAQ:
“I have [insert trait/symptom here]. Could it mean I'm a vampire?”, for more details, re: the vampiric condition.
I think that certain people have a propensity to start out with to be or to become vampires. I think it's something they are born with, and later on, if and when it manifests, it is thought of as an awakening. Or, if someone who is a vampire is involved in this awakening, it is thought of (misunderstood?) as the vampire “turning” the other person. I have no doubt that for some, it never manifests. But for those in whom it does, at least for sanguinarians, or “blood vamps”, it most often involves an exchange of blood, or even merely drinking another's (or one's own) blood.
The person in question receives the blood, and their body realizes that that is what it has been craving. They just did not know it until they got some in them. I think it's something biochemical. But whatever the case, that is when they start craving it more. They also get more sensitive to things such as light, food allergies, and so on. Whether this is a physical change or a side effect of drinking blood, I don't know. This is what many people consider “being turned” and I suppose, in a manner of speaking, it is “being turned” but I think “being awakened” is more accurate, as I sincerely doubt that it's actually a virus or anything like that that actually “turns” them. But they do turn to vampirism. (I guess this is a matter of sematics and perceptions.)
There is also the possibility that blood itself might be addictive. Or maybe it's just addictive to certain people, like alcohol is to some, but not to others? On the other hand, it may quite likely be an actual physiological need.
Whatever the case, the “turning” or “awakening” process is something that occurs over time. The physical changes occur first, and then eventually, one becomes more mentally in tune with things…one's thinking become more predatorial, etc. I think this occurs out of necessity.
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