We tend to think of cancer as something so scary that it should be easy to know when something is wrong. We imagine lumps and bumps and growths - things we think we would notice as cancer right away. These Reddit users are showing the world why cancer goes undetected for so long so often.
One Reddit user asked: Cancer survivors of Reddit, when did you first notice something was wrong?
A lot of them seem so ... normal.
I was scratching my balls and felt a hard knot. Froze for like ten seconds, panicking internally, thinking it's definitely cancer then remembered that cancer is actually pretty rare and it's far more likely to just be a cyst or something. Went to the doctor anyway because I'm not an idiot.
It was cancer.
- I did not get to keep the ball. They have to look at it under a microscope to determine the specific type of cancer and for that they usually slice it up a bit so there wouldn't have been much to keep anyway.
- The knot was rock hard and attached to the testicle, inside the sack and maaaybe a tiny bit more sensitive than the testicle normally is, otherwise completely painless but your mileage may vary. In some cases the tumor will start growing inside the testicle causing it to swell, in others the testicle might even shrink. If it's soft and squishy it's probably not cancer but still have it checked if you're worried. A simple ultrasound can determine if it's a solid tumor and requires further attention.
- If it comes and goes it's also most likely not cancer. Cancer will generally only get bigger without treatment.
- They do offer you a prosthetic replacement, although I refused because I heard it can be uncomfortable in some situations and I don't notice a difference anyway.
- You can still have sex with one ball. The remaining testicle takes up the workload of the removed one. I'm not infertile and don't have testosterone problems but that can happen in some cases.
- I was 21 when first diagnosed and 22 when I relapsed.
- Treatment didn't cost me anything because I live in a country with universal healthcare.
- Checking regularly is good but don't overdo it. Generally once a month is enough.
- Testicular cancer is rare as it accounts for roughly 0.5-1% of male cancers.
A Second Opinion
Felt like sh!t all the time. Fatigued constantly and losing my physical strength. Finally went to my family doctor who said it was just aging. Went for a second opinion and they found high cancer markers in my blood test. Spent the next few months going back and forth to various specialist while they tried to pin point it. Finally turned out to be both lymphatic and testicular cancer. I was very lucky. I lost six lymph nodes and a treacherous left testicle and came out of it clean after having to do very little treatment. But with what I went through (and what I spent!) I have a new respect for people who survive more severe forms of cancer.
A Twinkle In Your Eye
For me it started with my eyes in my late 30's. Felt perfectly fine otherwise, but my eyes would have these weird all-over "flashes", kind of like what you see after you stare too long at the sun, especially when I was moving from dark to light places (like waking up in the morning, or turning on a light in a dark room at night). Got my eyes checked, doc said my retinas had some severe "high pressure areas" and it might be the start of macular degeneration. I got some new glasses and went on with life figuring this was just going to be my new normal.
Thank f*cking god I had a routine yearly doctor's exam scheduled about 2 months after that. I felt 100% fine other than this weird eye thing, but the routine blood work came back so bad my doctor actually threw the first results away, saying it had to be a lab error. Second results came back even worse, and they sent me to a cancer specialist. Rare type of bone marrow cancer.
They caught it early, and its highly treatable with a 95% chance of living a relatively normal life afterward. But if they hadn't, I'd have been in critical condition, maybe dead, within a couple of years. Turns out my system was so overloaded with cancerous white blood cells that my blood was thick like potato soup. It was blowing out the veins in my eyes, which resulted in those "flashes". They went away after about the first 2 weeks of treatment.
GO TO YOUR DOCTOR REGULARLY.
Randomly ended up so sick i was bed bound for a month. Got every test for the flu/cold/viruses they could think of. Ended up getting an ultrasound on my stomach; they saw a mass while doing so and also scanned my pelvic area. Turned out to be ovarian cancer but luckily for me it was contained in the football sized tumor attached to my right ovary, which i obviously didn't know was there. Month later i was cut open, had it removed. Minus one ovary and the constant fear it'll come back later and I'm cancer free. For now.
Ewing's sarcoma, diagnosed at age 12.
The first time I remember noticing it was during a volleyball game. I spiked and landed and felt a sharp pain in my left thigh.
I ignored it and it would bother me on and off for a few months. I was trying not to let my parents worry, because my older sister has CF and was going through a rough patch. I was limping most of the time, but occasionally it wouldn't hurt at all.
One day I was walking downstairs at school and as I took a step I was blinded by pain, screamed and collapsed. By the time my mom got to school to pick me up it was barely a dull ache, but she said we should get x-rays just in case. This was around 5 months after the volleyball pain.
The results came back showing cancer. I started treatment immediately. 13 months of chemo, ~100 nights in hospital. Two years of physical therapy to lose my limp.
Pressure, Itching, Blood
August 1st, 2015. I woke up and felt a strange pressure in my chest. The night before I had picked something up and I figured I just strained myself. Didn't think much of it.
Until around November. I started getting itchy. Like, really itchy. Mostly on my legs, but pretty much everywhere. I always struggled with having itchy skin after a hot shower, so at first I didn't pay it too much attention, until it started getting annoying. I tried new shampoos and body wash, washed and changed my sheets, looked for bed bugs, lice, anything I could think of.
Finally, on March 31st 2016, a few weeks after my 21st birthday, I was just getting into bed when I coughed. Now, for context, I also suffer from frequent bloody noses. So I'm used to coughing and having a bloody nose.
But this time when I coughed, I felt blood coming from down inside of me, rather than up from my nose.
I immediately grabbed a cup and started coughing up blood into it, right next to my girlfriend in bed. I managed to tell her to call 911, and I threw myself into the bathroom.
And there I was, holding on to the sink for dear life, coughing up more and more blood. I couldn't stop, every time I tried to catch my breath I would feel a tickle and have to cough, sending more blood out. That bathroom looked like the elevator from the Shining by the end of it.
Finally, ten minutes goes by, and the ambulance arrives. I had basically made my peace with this world and was prepared to let go... but then the coughing finally subsided, and I could breathe again without coughing up blood.
Took a ride to the ER. They kept me for a week, poking and prodding me, doing tests. I almost got sent home with a diagnosis of tuberculosis. But finally they confirmed it was cancer. Stage four hodgkin's lymphoma to be exact.
Sounds bad and scary, but out of all the types of cancers known, this one is fairly easy to cure and has a high success rate of not reoccurring.
So, I did chemo for 6 months. That sucked. Finished in October 2016. I'm just about to go into my last post treatment check up tomorrow, and hopefully if everything is good I won't have to keep getting check ups every year.
Interestingly, however, I always had a feeling in my mind that one day I would get cancer. I can't exactly describe why I thought this, but I did. And it turned out to be true.
Everyone, go get yourself checked out. You do not want to wait to long and let things progress. Do what you can to have good health, because without it we are nothing.
Also, my girlfriend was such a fucking trooper. She handled herself and the situation incredibly well for how scary that must have been for her. Lord knows I would be terrified if our roles reversed and she was the one in trouble. I only pray I can handle things as good as her. If you're reading this, I love you and I am so proud you kept your cool!
Sense Of Impending DoomGiphy
I wish I had a better answer. I was pregnant for the first time and my gut was relentless, telling me something wasn't right. I didn't feel right. I brushed a lot of it off as pregnancy hormones but something just wasn't right. It caused sleep loss and anxiety, I went to ER at 9 weeks and was told i had a uti (now as a midwifery student my bacterial load was low enough that I know I didn't have a uti.) I went back around 10.5 weeks, again to my doctor at 12 and 14. I'd had a scan at 5 weeks and it was normal.
Finally at 18 weeks I went in to the emergency room again because I couldn't shake this feeling of impending doom. I got a resident for the first time and she just said that sometimes first time moms need to see their babies to shake worries. She sent me for an anatomy scan. Dead baby, mass of 'snowstorm' tissue. It was a molar pregnancy, placenta was massive and riddled with mutations. I was scheduled for a D&C. My follow up a month later was 5 mins with an ob who told me it "wasn't like the baby was term, you can have more babies. Wait a year."
Within days the sense of dread crept back. Three months later I joined an online support group for women who had molar pregnancies and found out I should have had twice weekly blood work and follow up scans to make sure there was no retained placenta tissue. By then the stuff missed in DC had taken over and metastasized. I'm lucky I found those women, they saved my life and my doctor filed a formal complaint against the incompetent ob that we trusted to do my care.
Just over a year ago, I had been increasingly tired and fatigued over a period of 6 months. I had also been dealing with lower leg swelling, to the point that I could barely wear shoes. I had been out with my mom and was so out of breath I couldn't walk the 100 yards or so into a grocery store.
I was admitted to the hospital with a hemoglobin of 4, and incredibly low thyroid levels. Fast forward a day or two and I start with what can only be described, without being gross, as an incredibly irregular period. I was scheduled for a uterine biopsy a few weeks after discharge and was found to have endometrial cancer.
We attempted the conservative course of treatment as I'm only 32 and have not had kids yet. This was all fine and well until January when 2 masses were found in my uterine wall. Fast forward two months and an MRI shows that even on hormone suppression therapy, the masses were growing. I had a complete hysterectomy on March 29 of this year. One of the masses was 70% through the uterine wall. Luckily my lymph nodes were clear and I didn't need chemo or radiation.
Walking To Class
When I was walking to class one day in high school (I'm now 23) and my legs just gave out and I collapsed to the floor. Had to have a random student walking by help me to my feet, and even then I wasn't stable. I had been having weird symptoms for the month prior, but that was the one thing that really made me think that something was wrong.
Turned out to be a rare type of bone marrow cancer called POEMS Syndrome that only few other adolescents have ever had. At least that's what my doctors have told me.
Unfortunately, I've relapsed, but recent blood work has been looking really good so hopefully I'm back in remission soon!
No Childlike Energy
I noticed something was wrong since I was in 5th grade. I was always so tired compared to other kids. I didn't have that boundless energy kids are supposed to have, or at least I didn't feel like I did. I always felt glum, or dull. It was hard to sleep. Sometimes I felt too hot or too cold. I had unhealthy amounts of anxiety - my heart was pounding over the most stupid stuff. That spiraled into paranoia, which is just terrible for a kid to have to go through. The worst of it all was the brain fog. I struggled to concentrate and just THINK. It pissed me off to no end - why couldn't I just think of 'A' when I wanted to? There was so much mental noise and fog - almost like your head and ears are stuffed with cotton. For some reason this completely killed my confidence in myself. I felt like I just wasn't as good as the other 'healthy' kids.
My dad doesn't deal with health stuff. So I'd bring it up to my mom. She told me I was exagerrating, That it was because I was on the computer too much, ate poorly, and didn't sleep enough.
This routine went on until I was 16 or so when I finally got sick of it and mentioned it to my primary doctor during a checkup - and here comes my mom chiming in x y z above for why I felt the way I did. Doctor touched my neck area and felt a lump. Got an ultrasound eventually and yup there it was!
My mom caved and said that nodules run in her family - she's got more than a dozen! Nice to know. Also why nobody did a full blood test to see my thyroid hormone levels is beyond me. Apparently my sister and grandma (dad's side) are hypothyroid.
They wanted to 'watch' it for a few years lmao to see if it got bigger.
Finally at 18 I got things moving.
I got two biopsies on my left side since there was an obvious nodule- the first one not going well and they decided they wanted to do another. Whoever said biopsies are painless is a huge liar. The results were what I hoped, because I knew something was wrong with me. My parents didn't want me to have any surgeries. I feel like they wanted to pretend that nothing was wrong.
Finally, at 19, I had two hemithyroidectomy operations for what they found were papillary carcinomas - one in a calcified nodule and little 'granules' in two of my lymph nodes and the other side of my thyroid. I may need radiation later, but right now I'm avoiding it. I'm taking meds for the rest of my life - that's fine with me!
The surgeries were a month apart from each other. I was 19 at the time and right in the middle of college. It was really hard for me, considering that my family and SO at the time were nay sayers or straight up indifferent to me while I finally pushed for treatment.
In hindsight, I should have had them both removed in one operation. They told me I had the option the first go around, but I wanted to keep function if I could. How could I do it if I had no idea what was going on with the other side? They refused to do a biopsy on the opposing side during surgery - lame. They also knicked the nerves for my vocal cord during the first surgery, so I couldn't speak properly for 6 months and had to see a specialist for an implant to restore function if it didn't heal. Thank goodness it did. I sounded absolutely terrible - like those folk that have those voiceboxes. It hurt, speaking was a struggle. I sound normal now, but it's hard to carry on talking with the risk of sounding out of breath lol.
Now that I'm on thyroid meds- I feel infinitely better compared to before. I have a lot more clarity than before. I still have anxiety which is strange, it's like a reaction to things at this point. I hear it's a side effect of the meds. I'm working on improving my mindset - it's getting better. I sleep better.
It's hard to get your dosage right, but when you do it's like you feel close to normal again. I get off days pretty often, and don't feel well if I'm off schedule. HOWEVER I'm a heck of a lot happier now!!!
Also, my sister and mom got biopsies afterwards for themselves for nodules they have - 'just in case'.
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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