Background Actors Confess What Conversations They're Actually Having Off To The Side[rebelmouse-image 18346317 is_animated_gif=
Background actors are needed for plays, for film, for commercials - if you want it to look convincing, you need people in the background. Production teams normally can't just shoot with strangers in the background, tons of people don't want to be filmed while they're just trying to get some pizza or something. So what to do? Cue the background actors! But with no real direction, and (let's be honest) nothing really important to offer to the storyline, what exactly do background actors talk about all day long?
One Reddit user asked:
The answers were everything we hoped for and more, lol. Brace yourself for a lot of talking about food, because apparently that's like 90% of being an actor.
The Produce Section[rebelmouse-image 18346318 is_animated_gif=
Typically something like:
"Peas and carrots, peas and carrots. Peas and carrots?"
"Oh! Banana banana banana!"
"Peas and carrots. Peas and peas and carrots."
Gossip[rebelmouse-image 18346319 is_animated_gif=
Former theater kid here. I generally stuck to small talk and used exaggerated facial expressions/gestures to make it look interesting. When I'd be talking with a friend of mine, we either complained about something that had gone wrong in the show or exchanged a little gossip, lol. Theater was fun.
Sound Editor Says:[rebelmouse-image 18346320 is_animated_gif=
Friendly neighborhood Sound editor and mixer here!
Their words are almost entirely mouthed. The goal on set is to get the cleanest dialogue AND ONLY the main characters' dialogue. Almost all other sound is made in post. Door creaks, footsteps, clothing noise. This includes background voices. They come from what are called loop groups. And their conversations are normally nonsense so that nothing can be picked out and listened to. There jobs are to sound like mumble without mumbling!
16 Hours Of Silence[rebelmouse-image 18346322 is_animated_gif=
I'm training for Stunts, so I do a lot of background/extra work in-between. I'm in Chicago, so I work on things like Chicago Fire, Chicago med, Chicago Pd, empire, the exorcist, etc. Every time I've been on set, I've had to be dead quiet. The mics are so sensitive that even flipping a page to a magazine on the other side of the room will get picked up. Throw in 20 more conversations on top of that and you've got a hot steaming pile of useless junk. It's pretty awkward having to fake a conversation, especially since you normally don't even know the name of the person you're talking to. Having to repeat the same pretend fake conversation and actions for 10 takes, rehearsals, etc, kind of sucks but at least you never have to worry about getting the line wrong. Repeat for 12-16 hours. Sometimes you will literally sit in holding for HOURS at a time where you have to be silent, too.
TLDR: nothing, sets are crazy quiet 90% of the time
Netflix and Tacos[rebelmouse-image 18346323 is_animated_gif=
I was in a recent Netflix film as a background actor, and was paired with another girl for the scene. We had to act excited, so we started this long conversation about how great Taco Bell was. It was hilarious!
F The Proletariat![rebelmouse-image 18346324 is_animated_gif=
This might just be me but I usually make up gossip that would fit in the context of the show. For example, I was a party guest in late 19th century Russia, and I would walk up to someone and quietly say something along the lines of "Man, f the proletariat, am I right? No way that'll ever come back to bite us!"
It's All About Chemistry[rebelmouse-image 18346325 is_animated_gif=
Depends on your chemistry with the person you're talking to. But it is always very quiet - almost inaudible. It can be talking about where you're gonna walk to next - sometimes you need to do this if your background character has to do a lot of movement without crashing into people or the set.
A lot of times it's nice to do some joking back and forth, trying to get the other person to "break" - just to keep it interesting. Example: One show, I had to have a really close-talking, kinda angry conversation with a girl in the background, and we ended up going back and forth saying the most outlandish stuff we could think of while making really serious concerned faces.
Oooh We Have To Bleep ALL Of This lol.[rebelmouse-image 18346326 is_animated_gif=
I was on Game of Thrones set dressing (props) and when Jamie Lannister was getting pulled down the hill at Rob Stark's camp all the extras were just shouting:
_"C_nt f_cking bastard f_cking dckhead"
and so on lol. When the director said cut everybody was laughing even Jamie Lannister
Larry v. Barry[rebelmouse-image 18346328 is_animated_gif=
I work as an extra to learn about the industry (I aspire to be and actor and director) and I always try to have fun with these background conversations and really try to flesh out a ridiculous subplot between myself and the other background artists I work with. For example, when doing a TV show last year, we did a couple of days where we filled out the same market setting for different scenes throughout the series. They often hired the same actors and had us wear the same costumes, so the people I was grouped with and I decided to create an arc in which one of extras was called 'Larry', but throughout the series he was replaced by his weird evil twin 'Barry'. You can watch the show and notice our reactions to the Barry/Larry character change as the 'plot' unfolds.
Always give it 100% as an actor, folks.
Time To Learn French[rebelmouse-image 18346329 is_animated_gif=
When I was in a production of Les Miserables, the director instructed that all background conversation and ad-lib had to be in French. It was a really cool addition, in my opinion, once everyone learned to pronounce things properly.
Celebrity Death[rebelmouse-image 18346330 is_animated_gif=
Playing Wilbur in Hairspray on a cruise ship. Every show I had about a 45 second "conversation" with Little Inez. One day she says "Ohmigod! Did you hear about Phillip Seymour Hoffman?" That's how I found out he died. On with the show.
Dirty Talk And Strippers[rebelmouse-image 18346331 is_animated_gif=
Usually, you cannot talk... but have to mouth words.
One set I was on we turned it into a game. Mouth a sentence and when the director yells cut try and guess what the other person said. If I was in a scene with a person I knew well... it was usually PRETTY dirty...
EDIT: The most hilarious experience was on the set of a future TV show filmed in Chicago. It was a strip club scene, and the director wanted authenticity so he hired real strippers. They had to be told "tone it down" multiple times...
Sleepy Python[rebelmouse-image 18346332 is_animated_gif=
Tech here, one of my favorite examples from a stage show I did. Two actors had to have a background conversation upstage on set, while another scene took place. They were both huge Monty Python fans and would sit there reciting the entire dialog to various MP films. Some of the crew could hear them in the wings and had to work at not laughing, or blowing their cues. But the real problem was a young actress that was supposed to be sleeping next to them... she wasn't familiar with MP and broke several times.
Just Screaming[rebelmouse-image 18346333 is_animated_gif=
So my experience was a little different than most the other ones mentioned here. I was an extra at a cattle auction and was required to yell for some of the takes. They kept telling us to get louder so by take 3 or 4 we were pretty much screaming. It was quite odd, especially since most of the time extras have to be silent.
People In Love Need To Poop, Too.[rebelmouse-image 18346334 is_animated_gif=
One time me and my girlfriend were extras for a film and we were in a cafe scene pretending to be in love on a date. I really needed to poop and all I was saying to her under my breath was "I need the bathroom" while looking at her in the eyes and smiling.
It cracked me up when I saw the film and you could read my lips and what I was saying.
Networking Opportunity[rebelmouse-image 18346335 is_animated_gif=
Depends on who you're with:
Sometimes you get an older person, they over act with their face and actually pantomime (pretending to talk without actually talking). It's what we're all supposed to do but they're usually the only ones that do it.
Then there's the person with hearing problems. They try to whisper talk but end up being too loud and get everyone in trouble.
The person who doesn't have hearing problems but talks to loud anyway, everyone gets yelled at like above.
There's not really a limit or anything when it comes to the whisper conversations for backgrounders.
I usually talk about work, like "what have you been on? Have you worked with X before?" stuff like that. There's some networking as well, as some people who work as background are just getting their foot in the door for crew.
Every now and then you get a super annoying BG on set and you end up talking about them while the cameras roll, since you can watch them try and push their way in front of the camera.
I went on a couple dates with girls I've meet being randomly paired up with them. Made a lot of friends the same way as well.
Dancing To Silence[rebelmouse-image 18346337 is_animated_gif=
Did some background extra work. One scene was meant to be at a festival. For each take we would have to dance to silence.
Loop Group[rebelmouse-image 18346339 is_animated_gif=
The extras on set do not talk during filming.
"Crowd talking noises" are added in post production. That way they can use different takes without an audible cut or change in the background conversation.
There are two main ways this can be done. Typically, a "loop group" will come in, a troupe of five or six voice artists, who will ad-lib background conversation, read radio/TV reports, or otherwise make noise for people in the background of the shot. They can do a full movie in a day or two.
Other times, if there's only one scene where background noise is needed, after they finish shooting the whole scene and before they wrap the set, the main actors will leave and they will record 60 seconds of the extras talking, moving plates, using silverware, etc. There are SAG rules, however, about whether or not they have to be paid extra for doing this, though, so it only happens under certain conditions.
Flirting With Beggars[rebelmouse-image 18346340 is_animated_gif=
A unique perspective but for many years as a kid I was an extra in large ballet productions for a pretty prominent ballet company. Non dancing rolls I'd be "village woman" "market place lady" "beggar" "Ball attendee". Our job was to make the scene come alive so the village or ball or what have you seemed bustling and lively while all the dancing happened. We were meant to react to the environment and react to the action in that airy ballet type way.
Well large ballet productions like that are anything but silent. There are all manner of little jokes going on in the back and fooling around. Especially in the production where I was a beggar. I was 16 and there were 6 of us teens paired with 6 or so 20-something men from the Company. Our job was just to go around and create mischief, beg for money. We'd harass people in the background, create alternate story lines for ourselves and try not to get caught cracking or goofing off while also trying to flirt with the beggar boys. It's always the time of my life.
Butthole Zingers[rebelmouse-image 18346341 is_animated_gif=
I actually did background for a year or so when I first moved to LA. The conversations run a gamut. Much of the time you don't actually say anything; you're just mouthing words.
Other times you'll just say inane things like "watermelon" over and over. Rare, but it does happen.
But a lot of the time you're just talking to the other background. It doesn't matter what you're saying (as long as you keep your voices low and don't break character visually), so you're just chatting. Granted, most of these people are one-day friends from diverse, artistic backgrounds, so often your topics will get really weird, really fast.
The fact itself that you're on set leads to much of the conversational hilarity. For example, one time I was working on a big crime procedural show and we were doing a rain scene outside of a murder victim's house. So me and two other background actors are huddled off to one side of the set under these big rain machines suspended from cranes. Right before they would call action, rain on, then cut, rain off. All we have to do is stay under our umbrella and look gossipy, and we're golden.
But of course we're chatting, and to hear each other over the water we had to project a little, even standing two feet away from each other. And we're having a conversation about one of the lead actors on the show, a very famous, masculine action star, and making very racy puns about him. Because, you know, it was 3 in the morning and we're standing out in the fake rain and we were a little punch-drunk. And this is what you talk about with new actor friends.
They called cut on the latest take, and immediately the Assistant Director calls over his bullhorn: "Background, be quiet." We didn't think anything of it, they'd been saying that for a few takes no matter how low we tried to get our voices. But then he added: "The mics are pointing right at you."
We shut up immediately. If one of the parabolic mics was indeed pointed in our direction, then a lot of the crew could hear all the butthole zingers we'd been coming up with about their star. Whoopsie.
Supposed To Be Miming[rebelmouse-image 18346342 is_animated_gif=
I did a promo as a background actor for the mother of a girl I liked who was directing. I didn't know that I was supposed to be miming talking, not making any actual sounds. Every time she stopped and said how she could still hear me through the sensitive mics I would just talk lower but it wasn't working. I still feel bad about that.
A Never-Ending Stream Of Profanity[rebelmouse-image 18346343 is_animated_gif=
I'm a pianist for musical theater, not an actor, but... In the show "Breaking Up is Hard to Do", there's a scene where an actor is talking directly to the audience and then the scene "flips" to other characters talking "backstage". As the scene flips, the actor's mic fades out, he turns around to face directly at me, and continues to improvise a monologue for about a half minute or so. Every night, it got more and more ridiculous... One night, it was just a stream of never-ending profanity. Thankfully, he chose not to go with that on any actual performances; our sound crew isn't always on top of things and that would not have gone over well.
Opera Porn[rebelmouse-image 18346344 is_animated_gif=
I'm in opera and yea, we say some pretty messed up s*** to each other. The benefit over musical theatre is that we're never directly mic'ed so there isn't the worry of being overheard.
Professionals try to get each other to laugh all the time.
There's an opera, La Forza del Destino, where a character finds out at a climactic moment that his best friend has been sleeping with his sister. He finds this out by finding her portrait among the friend's personal effects. It's a common prank to remove the portrait and replace it with dirty magazines.
Talking About Squash With Amber Heard[rebelmouse-image 18346345 is_animated_gif=
I work as an "professional" extra, meaning I do it so much I almost make a living of it and have starred in a large number of Blockbusters and international productions. The funniest incident regarding weird background talk, was when I with two other guys, were made to talk with Amber Heard during the filming of The Danish Girl. If you've seen the movie, it's during the party scene, and we basically talked about how to say squash in different languages as well as our favorite cocktails. 10/10 would do again. She is super nice and down to earth, and absolutely one of the most approachable actors I've worked with :)
And there are just as many grievances for which we are not at all sorry.
Curious to hear about people's track record of their questionable behavior, Redditor NanoPKx asked:
"What is something bad you have done with no regrets?"
Is it petty theft or flat out stealing? You decide.
The Parting Gift
"'Forgetting' to bring back a company ipad after they forgot about me having it. Actually they never asked for it back so I still have it and use it."
"I stole a barn kitten while delivering packages for FedEx. He kept climbing my legs and getting into the van, sitting under the wheel when I tried to back out (it was a steep driveway, no way to swing the van around). I called the number on the package, looked the name up on facebook, called the local non-emergency to get contact info, all failed."
"So I took him. Now, if you're not from a rural environment, you might not understand that barn cats like that are 'no-man's-cats.' For all the owners know, he got sick or got got by a coyote. And he would have died, because when we got him to the vet he had a nasty upper resp infection and some other nasties."
"Now, one deformed nasal passage and the cutest snore later, we have a bonkers little orange cat with the heaviest penchant for snuggling I've ever seen (his name is Monty btw)."
"Edit: I forgot to pay my Cat Tax: https://imgur.com/a/HIXS4us"
"Edit Part 2: Monty loves the attention. Thank you for loving him as much as we do :3"
"MmmmMMMMRrrrrrrrrrrAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAW" -Montgomerey Valentine, 2022
The Dirty Treat
"A housemate of mine kept eating mine and my girlfriends food and even though I asked him to stop the only thing he would ever say is 'I thought it was mine' then keep eating it."
"Well I bought my girlfriend some ice cream she really enjoys and she put the half she didn’t finish back in the freezer. Well when she want to get the rest it was gone and it made me madder than I think it probably should have."
"The very next time I saw him and somehow keeping a straight apologetic face I told him how he accidentally ate our sex ice cream and that bits of it had been on our parts etc. I told him I felt guilty not to tell him and that I had to apologise for him to eat such a thing."
"I will never forget the face he made when I told him. A face of pure self disgust and shock to which all he had to say was 'I wish you never told me that' and proceeded to move out around a month later."
"Although he didn’t actually eat sex ice cream, like why the f'k would you put it back after use anyway? Sometimes I wonder if I went to far but in that moment I just did not care at all. He still doesn’t know it isn’t true and I’ll probably never see him again."
"F'k you Vitas buy your own food."
Vengeance is sweet.
"A drunk driver hit my parked car, left a huge dent in the front driver’s side door, and then drove away. I happened to be looking out the window at the time and saw the whole thing, including his plate number. Cops got there not long after and took my statement. After a couple days and a couple phone calls, I found out nothing was going to come of it because he was the son of the sheriff the next county over."
"Fast forward a couple months, I see his car parked behind a local bar within walking distance of my apartment. I got out my hunting knife and sliced all four of his tires, and made a couple trips around it destroying the paint job. Yellow Pontiac Sunfire, and I still remember the goddamn plate number even after almost 20 years."
For The People
"I was a GM for a retailer that was going out of business. During the liquidation I let my employees that worked until the end store product they wanted to buy in a closet I claimed I didn't have a key to. Oh the final days I sold them all the items they requested for 95% off. 70" tvs, ipads, gaming laptops whatever they requested."
"Years ago I worked for a wealthy dude who was married to someone semi-famous. He would waltz in every morning and talk about the fantastic dinner he had the night before, how he hung out with some other famous person or whatever else."
"He paid me peanuts. I had a hard time making ends meet."
"I was the office assistant and IT guy. So it comes time to get a new computer for one of the designers. I spec something out, and show it to him. It was a ripper of a machine for the time (early 2000s). But it wasn’t expensive enough for bossman."
"So I added a really high end graphics card. Boss was happy then. The card added nothing for the designer: they only did illustrator and photoshop."
"So I came in that weekend and swapped the graphics card for my aging one from home."
"No one ever knew. Or cared. And I got a new graphics card."
When times are tough, people had to do what it took to survive.
"In college I was so poor I would steal toilet paper from the supply closet in our major building."
Hungry College Buddy
"I stood watch for a college friend who was going hungry because he’d been disowned and his roommates had made living with him intolerable after he came out."
"I was loosely affiliated with an off campus program with local churches that gave free student dinners on Thursdays. We would go to church to eat, then bring dishes into the kitchen."
"Anyway, he would go in there and steal stuff like peanut butter, literal bread (not an allegory), granola bars etc. while I watched out for the pastor."
"Eventually we both got caught, the pastor for the college students got a bit mad because he was responsible for us while we were there to eat. And I think it was offensive on some level to steal from church. But then he saw what my friend was taking, and asked him if he had enough to eat. My friend shamefacedly said no, not usually."
“'Okay, fine. Put the food back, and come with me.' Took my friend grocery shopping instead, got him connected with the food pantry and community garden at church instead."
Based on these examples, people didn't twice about their actions in the heat of the moment.
Within reason, we all gotta somehow get by.
But do you think their actions deserve punishment?
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When a person sees someone they care about going through a struggle or crisis, their instinct is to uplift them with positive advice.
But sometimes, the wisdom imparted by friends isn't always helpful or relevant to the situation.
Curious to hear from strangers online who could do without specific knowledge, Redditor Saibotnl1 asked:
"What life advice can just f'k off?"
These Redditors have a problem with how certain people have on outlook on life.
Time To Rest
"Sleep when you’re dead."
"Cool, but you’re going to be dead a lot sooner."
"People have it so much worse than you so don’t be sad!"
"To that I like to say, 'people have it so much better than you so don't be happy!'"
Your Life Path
"Almost anything relating to what age you must be in order to buy a house, have children, marry, have a profession, or do anything else. Seriously, everyone's life is different from everyone else's. Make your life the way you want it to be. If you so desire. Up to you."
On The Contrary
“Cheaters never prosper”
"Yes, they f'king do."
People can get out of any situation they find displeasing.
But others feel people should just "stick it out."
"Just ignore bullys or get someone else to handle it for you. I have never seen this work, only makes it worse. The only effective way I've seen to deal with them is by not making yourself an easy target and make them scared to f'k with you again. If going psycho on their a** is the only thing they'll respond to that's their fault. Also want to add in schools they will punish you for self defense but that punishment is only sitting around a few hours in detention or sitting around at home with a suspension. The punishment is temporary boredom, it's absolutely nothing compared to being bullied and when it's over the important message will still stand that you will not tolerate being a victim."
– User Delted
Remain to be Miserable
"Stick it out"
"Whether that's sh**ty jobs, shi**y relationships, shi**y living situations..."
"By all means don't just give up on things when you face challenges, but if something feels wrong or is wrecking your peace then take some control and change it if you can!"
"Easy for you to say," might be an auto-response to these suggestions for many people.
Invitation For Recklesslessness
"Live like everyday was your last"
Yall know what people do when they learn they have a single day left to live?"
A Possible Consequence
"I did that as a teenager and ended up homeless and addicted to heroin. Didn’t pan out for me too well."
"19 years sober though today."
A Practical Approach
"If I knew with certainty that I had one day left, I'd double-check all my financials, my will, and my insurance policies, make sure my wife had all of my passwords and knew where all the money was, spend the rest of the day with her and the kids, then call the medical examiner and ask to lie down on the gurney so that when I die they won't strain their back moving my remains out of my house."
Nose Stuck In A Book
"Work while they sleep. Study while they party"
"That's not a recipe for success, that's a recipe for a lot of white hairs, burnout syndrome and a stroke before your 40s..."
Doesn't Apply To Everyone
"Do what you love and money will follow"
"I love walking my dogs and grilling food for my friends but That sh*t doesn't pay the bills as well as my engineering degree!"
While people's intentions are good, they're better off keeping their two cents in their own pockets.
Not everyone likes to hear platitudes.
Sometimes, people just want to know they're not alone with their problems over listening to unlikely solutions that are nothing more than superficial pick-me-ups.
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Kids start going to school from the age of five, and for the most part, they spend more time at school than at home. Because of that, teachers can become very important figures in the lives of their students.
Some students don't have the best home lives. Some keep it to themselves, but others confide in their teachers.
Curious about various situations, Redditor Delicious_Mastodon83 asked:
"teachers of reddit what is the saddest thing you found out about a student?"
In Need of Parents
"Not a teacher but was a school-based therapist. Had a student (7 -8 y/o) I didn’t know knock on my office door and ask if I’d adopt her and “if you have room, my brother too, but if not, that’s ok, we can be split up. We’re split up now. And I don’t take up space. I just need a sleeping bag”. Broke my heart."
Heartbreaking, But Industrious
"My mom taught at a school in a bad neighborhood in Chicago in the mid 90’s. There was a second grader that would save his milk and ketchup packers from lunch for his mom so she had something to eat when she got home from work."
"Not a teacher but a parent with a 9 year old son. Every day I pack extra in my sons lunch because he tells me he has a friend that never has anything to eat. It's winter and my son came home and told me his friend was turning up with shorts and shirt and holes in his shoes. So I sent in a jumper and long pants for him to wear and some slightly used but good condition shoes. I have been up to the school recently and the teacher pulled me aside and thanked me profusely for helping this child. Apparently teachers are not allowed to aid kids they teach here in Australia and they have already reported the issue 3 times to child welfare without results so I was the only one helping this child. The teacher told me before I started sending in more food and clothes, this child would steal others food from their lunches and look through the bins because he was so hungry. They doubt he gets fed at home. So now I make sure to always send an extra lunch and some school clothes/supplies when I can. I can only hope child welfare eventually does something but it breaks my heart."
Amazing Big Sister
"It was right after winter break and before class started I was just talking with some students and asked if they got anything fun for the holidays. One girl said on no, I don’t ever get presents, my mom is a drug addict. But I went out and got some stuff for my little sister so that she can have a real Christmas."
"She just said it so matter-of-fact. She was so used to being the parent to her little sister that she didn’t even care about her own childhood. It totally broke my heart."
The Importance Of Human Affection
"Second hand story from my mom, elementary teacher for 30ish years. She had a hug or a handshake out the door policy, just some small contact and a proper goodbye, and had this young boy who always picked the hug. She wondered why he always went for it, most kids would go back and forth depending on their mood that day, so she asked him why he was always so excited for the end of day hug? His answer, "It's the only one I ever get.""
Coming Out The Other Side
"Two teenage boys (16/14) with learning disabilities were on my caseload, they never missed school but often ditched class. They were homeless mid-year after they went home from school to find the locks changed, their Mom had abandoned them for a new boyfriend. She didn't leave an address for them to find her."
"*Edit: both eventually dropped out, however a couple of years later the younger brother came back to visit. He and his brother were both working construction, and his brother had gotten married, had a child, and was living with his wife’s family."
"The younger had roommates and was saving for a car. He told me it was a shame I didn’t have kids, because I would make a good Dad."
"People often persevere, even with the odds stacked against them."
"Not me but my daughter is a teacher, she has lots of stories but one that stands out for me is one of her kindergarten kids saying she was tired and her asking why, the little girl explained that she had been up all night with her mums newborn baby. She did this every night, fed her bottles and everything."
Luckily, He Was Resilient
"This year I had a 17 year old kid enroll at my school. He was sitting in my math class and I could tell he was struggling. After class I took some extra time to go over a concept with him. I asked him to read the question to me, and he sat there silently. He then looked at me and said “I’m not going to lie to you, I cannot read. I have no idea how to say these words""
"Turned out at age 17 he was illiterate and had been kept out of school by his very religious, controlling parents. Over the past few months he has worked very hard! Now he can finally read at an 8th grade level and he is STILL improving!!"
– User Deleted
A Heroic Teacher
"I worked in an inner city charter school. One of my students (`M10) had a sib (M8) in a lower grade. The mom was there every day in the beginning of the year encouraging them, helping them and generally being very supportive... until a CPS agent spoke to me asking about her behavior. After CPS left things went downhill. The boys showed up late to class even though they lived a half block away from school. When in school both boys were tired from sleeping in the car while their mom "went fishing". She also had two very young girls which she dragged around making the boys take care of them. One day the boys didn't show up and their teacher walked over to the house to find the mom had loaded up the fridge, paid the rent for the month and abandoned them. The teacher (a candidate for sainthood btw) took them in, adopted them and grew them up to be great men."
This is really heartbreaking stuff! Luckily, teachers aren't just another adult in your life; they can be your saving grace as well.
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TRIGGER WARNING: This article contains sensitive content about depression and mental health.
As the stigma around mental health lessens (however slowly), people are more forthcoming about the problems they are facing. One of the most common mental health issues is depression.
Depression can affect many different types of people. Factors such as gender, race, nationality, and even age have no bearing on whether someone suffers from depression or not.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), globally, "...an estimated 3.8% of the population affected, including 5.0% among adults and 5.7% among adults older than 60 years..."
Depression displays in certain patterns, such as mood changes, physical difficulties, and social isolation. However, depression manifests differently in different people and feels different to different people.
Reddit users divulged what depression felt like to them when Redditor iodineseaspray asked:
"What does depression feel like to you?"
Some of this is sure to sound familiar.
The Worst Kind Of Boredom
"Like being more bored than you could imagine but also not wanting to do anything at all, even breathe. So you want to do something, but you can't imagine anything that you would like to do so you're just sort of stuck."
"So you then spend literally hours staring at a blank wall hating yourself, your life, and everything around you. Well, as much hate as you can summon in the absolutely mentally numb state you find yourself sat in day after day."
Lack Of Motivation and Energy
"Complete lack of motivation."
"Ignoring people that I love, and who are trying to help."
"I feel it extra at work. Letting things slide until you either get into trouble or trying last minute to prevent it."
"Funny those times when I'm working to save my butt, the depression goes away and i feel super focused and motivated."
"I try to carry that energy over but no, it's rinse and repeat."
"Insecure about absolutely everything, no hope for the future, dissociation from society and not knowing how to “act” anymore, feeling like I’m not as good at the things I always thought I was good at or that the “talent is wasted on me”, only food cheers me up and sometimes even that doesn’t work"
Loss Of Creativity
"This. It's like some numb fuzziness you feel in your brain. It's the worst thing ever for an artist who just wants to create but your brain comes up dry with a dense fog that wants to just lie down for a few hours"
A Mental Inability To Breathe
"For me, it feels like I’m in a lake with a ball chain tied to my feet, desperately swimming up for air, the only problem is the chain isn’t long enough. I can only get an inch of my head out of the water to breath, and as soon as a high tide comes, the water just floods over me and I feel like I can’t breath again. I live like this, constantly feeling like I’m struggling to breathe, weighed down by my own mind. It’s a struggle and I can’t really describe it in any other way, I’m jealous of people who don’t worry about depression"
"Like suffocating under a heavy cloak"
"Like being crushed. Like if the air was crushing my muscles and bones and I can’t breathe because I’m being crushed…"
"Kinda like that."
"Scrolling thru your steam library. Thinking you want to play something, either not settling on anything or not wanting to put the effort into the game. Going back to the scrolling."
"It feels like you're forced to play a game of Monopoly (represents life) and your just rolling the dice to appease everyone but you genuinely don't care about where you go, where you land, what you pick up, what you pay, what you gain."
"You kind of just watch it happen without interest and while people are cheering or oh no-ing for you, you genuinely don't care. Everyone is a piece on this board that hardly matters and you feel like we're all just running in a circle over and over again and it's boring and disinteresting as hell."
"You lose all curiosity for everything and just let everything happen and pass by you. No motivation, hardly any love, hardly any care. Feels like the world is in black and white and your waiting for the game to end became it's so absolutely boring and disinteresting, but it never does."
"You come to resent the game and eventually hate it because it feels like you're being forced to play it and suffer it's consequences when you never asked to play it in the first place."
"That's what depression felt like for me. Since then I've been medicated and recieved therapy. I'm doing a lot better now and I don't feel this way anymore, thankfully."
A Relation To Fantasy
"You know that scene in the Lord of the Rings where Bilbo is describing to Galndalf what having the Ring all those years felt like? "I feel thin. Like too much jam spread over too much bread." That's honestly the best way I've seen to describe it."
"I always say the closest thing to compare it to is a dementor in harry potter. It sucks every ounce of happiness out of you until there is only darkness left."
"Side note: chocolate always helps"
Fear Of Lack Of Justification
"Like someone close to you died yesterday. Expect no one has, and nothing has happened to justify how you feel."
A Physical Pain
"Physical pain in my heart, will start crying just by attending to the physical sensation in my body."
"I've always described it as having a shadow fixed to your brain which fuels things like indecision and negativity. You can do things to temporarily help but you can't truly shift it. Previous normality is forgotten. But it's amazing how much you can mask it."
"I found I didn't realise how bad I was until I started to get better"
"For anyone suffering with depression. Please, please speak to someone. Best thing I ever did"
Depression isn't something you can just deal with or get over. Learning to cope is not easy. However, as Redditor DavosLostFingers pointed out, talking to someone can literally save your life.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression, contact the American Psychological Association by phone at 800.374.2721 or 202.336.5500.
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