Image by Hans Kretzmann from Pixabay

You don't know what's happening when it's happening, you just know how you feel.

There's a creeping feeling in your stomach, inching its way towards your throat. The hairs on your arm are doing everything they can to escape, and suddenly your throat is dry. You're scared. And something is forcing it to happen.

*The following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm.

Reddit user, u/lethargic_apathy, wanted to know the moment you felt the fear in your gut when they asked:

What's the scariest thing you lived through?

You never want something bad to happen to you in school. School is supposed to be a safe place for kids to go, but as evidenced by looking at the news at any point in the last few years, that is sadly not the case.

Only In America

"I went through a school shooting. It doesn't bother me much anymore but I still remember the shots, the screams, and all the kids crying and looking for their siblings, trying to get enough signal to call their parents. People who were so goofy and light hearted that morning were sobbing on the ground, others just looked numb. I'll never forget the one kid who was an jerk to everyone just sat down next to me held my hand and told me that everything was going to be okay."


Just A Lot To Deal With All At Once

"During my high school years 1999-2002, my class experienced 8 student deaths (car wrecks, cancer, suicide), Columbine and 9/11. No extra counseling from our school. We literally went to back to back funerals then sat through a full day of school the very next day. (Two kids were killed in the same accident). I'm 37 and still haven't recovered."


"...he sits right behind me."

"I was on a public transit bus to go to high school one morning. I usually walked, but it was so cold that day. So I'm on a bus, alone, it's like 6 am and still dark because of winter. Dude gets on the bus. He could sit anywhere he wanted....he sits right behind me."

"He grabs my hair and sniffs it with this nasty sounding inhale. Keep in mind I'm 15....and I just hop off the bus and speed walk to my school. He got off and followed me. For this two to three minutes of walking I kept thinking of what my family would think if I went missing...I got to school safely but yeah I still think about that sometimes."


Accepting your own death is not something we want to do, but something all of us will have to do some day.

Doing Your Best To Keep It Together

"My friend going through psychosis and crying/laughing insanely on my shoulder about snakes coming out of his back and all kinds of insane terrifying sh-t"

"I talked to him for a long time and calmed him down and he fell asleep eventually. Then I went outside and cried for like half an hour because of how scared I was the entire time but couldn't show it because I had to be calm so that he would be calm. It wasn't a great evening"


Accepting How This Will Be How You Go

"On a flight with my husband and 3 month old daughter, our plane suddenly had to be diverted to a nearby airport, even though our destination was only about 30 minutes away. The flight attendants came around to teach us the "brace for impact" position. I had a special one for bracing for impact with a baby. People were quietly panicking and praying. My husband's anxiety was through the roof. And I just accepted that this might be how we go. Once we landed, we saw that an entire fleet of ambulances was waiting for us. The guy in front of us just turned and said, "Well that's reassuring…" There was a lot of speculation once we got off the plane, but I never found out what had happened."


Oh, There Goes The Roof...

"Typhoons in the Philippines. I could see rooftops blown away easily. One almost hit my apartment, but a light pole luckily was in the way to block it. The next morning, a ton of debris were in all walkways of my apartment and we couldn't leave our campus. Water and electricity were out for more than a week. Thank goodness my brother and I had personal lanterns we had brought from America."


Being Forced To Endure Something Terrible

"Giving birth to my daughter who had died in my womb a few hours before."


"I'm so sorry. Nature is brutal"


"Thank you. It was years ago, but the death of a child never leaves you whatever the circumstances."


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Hallucinations Abound

"Steroid induced psychosis. I have brain cancer and had to take dexamethasone and I had a super rare reaction where I went crazy and was having hallucinations which made me think I was trapped in hell. I don't remember most of what took place but from what I do remember it was absolutely terrifying."


"I had HSV encephalitis induced psychosis and it was terrifying for both my family and I. I had the wildest hallucinations, became violent and they had to heavily sedate me and put me under a ventilator."

"I would never wish that on anyone…"


Never Forget: Worldwide Pandemic

"After the first lockdown, my family stayed COVID-free for about 7 months. When we finally did catch it, my dad was the only one who didn't recover - me, my mom, and my brother experienced minor symptoms for a day or two and were fine afterwards, but somehow, the one with the strongest immune system in our house got hit the hardest. He ended up having to spend 8 days in the hospital, and I was really nervous wondering what might happen to him. To me, the scariest thing you can live through is losing someone you love, so seeing my dad vulnerable like that really shook me up. He's fine now, but I still worry sometimes."


Scooter Death Incoming

"Nearly getting hit by a car while on my scooter. The driver was about to overtake another car (both way too fast and looking at each other laughing, probably friends I guess). I couldn't really do anything about it, as I was still moving and the car was also going pretty darn fast, and for a second I remember just thinking "welp, guess that's life"."
"The guy saw me just in time though, and managed to pull to the side and hard-brake. Still nearly hit the side of his car, but worked out okay."

"To be honest, it wasn't all that scary at the time. Afterwards, I was just a little confused by how okay I was with dying or being maimed."


Two For The Price Of Oh No

"Hurricane Sally. It was in mid-September 2020 and we were watching this tropical storm that was supposed to hit Louisiana. It kinda turned northward early and made landfall as a Category 2 near Gulf Shores, AL (I live in Destin, FL). It kinda just sat there for a couple days and we got 2 feet of rain in 3 days. The night it hit, I didn't sleep because it was so loud. I though that my balcony doors would burst wide open because of the wind (whenever there's a hurricane we just wrap a bungee cord around all of the patio door handles in the house just in case). It wasn't as bad in Destin as it was in Pensacola, but my neighborhood still flooded in some parts and we didn't have school for a week."

"Or maybe Hurricane Michael in October 2018. It was a Category 5 that made landfall in Mexico Beach, FL, about 50 miles east of me. However, it really wasn't that bad because we were on the west side of the storm which is usually not nearly as bad as the east side. Mexico Beach got washed away tho. We kinda dodged a bullet there. We were worried it would turn towards us beforehand. My mom was considering getting us up at 1 am the night before it hit and having us evacuate but she didn't, and we were fine. No damage at our house. No flooding either (it was a fast moving storm). Can't say the same for the areas farther east though."

"TL;DR Hurricane Sally, Hurricane Michael"


No child should be forced to carry the burdens of their parents' issues.

Unfortunately, you can already see where this is going.

Walking Through The Crime Scene

"one day my mom called me telling me, "the cops are surrounding your dads house. he's outside in cuffs covered in blood. are step-mom and the kids okay??" and I went into a panic. i drove like a madman. my step-mom met me at the home and my siblings were luckily at school. my dad had beat my uncle to a pulp and shot him (he's alive praise goodness). crime scene wouldn't clean until we cleaned personal belongings, (fridge, deep freeze, etc). so I took it upon my self to help my step-mom, when we walked in the house it was like a horror film from the kitchen, to the bathroom, to the bloody handprint slid down the door."

"some of it wasn't dried after the 8 hours we sat outside. some things were left behind like a bloody splinted chair leg. i ended up miscarrying the next day, it absolutely ruined me. worse off, my dad i've feared most of my life may get off easy on these charges even as a known felon and repeat offender due to some circumstances (special needs uncle can't recall the story, and uncle was on meth at the time of attack, dad was just drunk as usual. however spent years saying he'd kill him if he got the chance as he hated how "slow" he was)."


Unable To Think Or Process

"My dad committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning and I found him. It was scary in that I didn't know what to do. I couldn't logically process at the time he was already dead and I thought I could take some measure and save him."


Wait Until She Abandons You

"My mother's mental illness and delusions when I was a kid. I remember one time when she made me and my sister sleep in bed with her because she saw demons hovering around our bedroom window, trying to get in. I woke up to find her staring down at me and my sister with a butcher knife in her hand. She was smiling but there were tears running down her face. I just closed my eyes and pretended to sleep. Stuff like that, for years of our childhood. When she finally abandoned us, I felt so much guilt at how relieved and happy I felt that she was gone."


​Be careful out there.

If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at

Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.

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