Trauma - some of it can't be fixed, and the people on the front lines of therapy confront the worst of the worst. Brace yourself, these are some harrowing stories.
LetsArgueAboutNothin asked mental health professionals of Reddit: What is the saddest case of "wow this person really fucked up because of how they were treated during their childhood" you have ever come across?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
One of my first cases when I first started in the mental health field and I'll never forget. I was providing therapy to a young girl who was pooping on herself after holding it in for as long as she could. Mom originally thought it was some kind of anxiety or fear of the toilet but after a couple more sessions I found out that the girl was being abused by her step father... it was heartbreaking to find that out and a hell of an introduction to the field.
Edit: Not sure if this is ok to do here but as a way to help people that don't have access to mental health services I started providing free mental health advice/ answering psychology related questions a few months ago through the form of social media and videos. If anyone is in need of assistance feel free to inbox me and I will provide you with my information. Thank you!
He is in jail for a long time, the investigation discovered several other things that sealed the deal for him. He won't be bothering the family for a good long while.
Money is not love.
Looked after a 14 year old, she was in hospital for her 15th birthday. Multiple suicide attempts (I'm talking 20+). On her birthday she wanted to call her mum, I let her but had to listen in (standard procedure). Her mum didn't say happy birthday but asked what she wanted, telling her she'd buy anything she wanted. Daughter said she just wanted to see her. Mum said she couldn't do that but she'd send presents. This girl was the daughter of two 'successful,' very wealthy lawyers. All she wanted was to see/spend time with them but they thought they could just throw money at her until she was 'better.' Money can't buy happiness. It's been a few years now and I wouldn't be surprised if she's had a completed attempt by now.
It's so sad how resigned your last sentence is.
There's this twisted thing.
I worked in corrections and on Sundays there would be coffee with breakfast. One of my female inmates always vomited and basically it turned out that as a teen her dad would assault her then buy her coffee to make himself feel less guilty about it. The sight or smell of coffee made her projectile vomit even a decade later.
What kind of sh*tty gesture is that ? How is coffee supposed to make any of this better ?
This is called "love bombing." The abuser gives gifts or attention to their victim as a way to alleviate their guilt about the abusive episode. We were poor, so my dad got me ceramic cat figures from the dollar store the day after he abused me. It gave me quite a bit of satisfaction to smash them as an adult.
When you've simply had enough.
Had a kid show up in my office saying he had not eaten all day. He missed his bus and just seemed to not want to leave. I call home and mom was not answering. The parents were divorced, so I called Dad. It was about 8:00 PM by this point. Dad answers and is obviously drunk off of his @ss at a bar (I heard the noise and music). I explain the situation and the dad says he will get someone to drive him to come pick him up. He never showed up.
About 10:00pm on a Tuesday or some sh*t now, so I call the police and they assist. Learned that the mother had overdosed on heroin and was found dead in the house. The father never showed up, and I was told he never tried to be a part of the kids life.
This kid had some terrible facial disfiguration from birth due to the mother using drugs and drinking during pregnancy. I have no idea how the kid was never removed from custody. I spent a lot of time with him because he didn't like people looking at him throughout the school day. I didn't give a f*ck about his grades, I just wanted him to enjoy something in life. We would watch old WWF clips because he loved wrestling.
He's dead now. Killed himself.
I switched careers after I heard that. F*cked me up. I tried to help.
Edit: thanks y'all.. I hate thinking about it sometimes, but I love thinking about some stupid little moments with em.
You tried and he probably remembered you for that. It's not your fault that he was in that situation or that no one else did their job to get him out. Something that you have to remember is that you can't control anything beyond the classroom, you gave him something safe and good while he was with you that's what matters.
"Fun time cuddles."
Working in group care, I had a client whose parents would sell her body, from to 'regular' travellers through town in exchange for drugs and money. Her family and extended family would tell her these people were friends and needed 'fun time cuddles' and that she was the best daughter that anyone could have because she was special for doing this.
When I was working with her in her teens she didn't trust anyone that ever gave her compliments, and would often have panic attacks when people said she did a good job at something or was skilled at something. Was the saddest fallout of abuse I think I've ever seen. She had several suicide attempts and a lot selfharm.
Last I heard (years ago), she's doing a lot better now after finding a good match for a therapist. I sincerely hope her family never sees the light of day again, and that some bad things happen to them in prison.
When one of my best pals was little, his parents used to inject him with heroin and crack cocaine... He said his social workers think it was because they wanted to test the drugs to be sure it wouldn't kill them before they used. He can't even see needles now almost 20 years later because they upset him so much and it crushes me as a friend.
That being said? He's now the most proud and protective father I've ever met. He'd do anything for that little girl of his and is one of the most loving parents I've ever seen. It's really amazing to see all the good that he's brought into the world as a person when dealing with so much f*cking pain.
Humans are depraved creatures.
While doing my psych clinical's over 20 years ago, we had this poor patient that was so abused as child. This took place in the 70s. Her father had a casket at his house. I can't remember if he worked at a funeral home or how he ended up with a casket. He drilled a hole just big enough so a straw could go through it. He would put his daughter in there and close the lid and gave her a straw to put through the hole so she can breath through the straw. He left her in there for extended of time. The poor girl was destroyed. As the psychotherapist was telling our group the story, our group were in tears. How can someone be this f*cked up to do this to their own child. The poor girl is so messed up and cannot live a normal life due to all the trauma this has caused her.
Edit: Many asked how she was destroyed. This abuse took place over her childhood till adulthood. In the 70's, child abuse was overlooked and often not believed by the child. Who would believe that a person would have a casket in their home. She was placed in a lock down facility and as students, we never had her as a patient. The psychotherapist explained that she did not meet her milestones and acted as if she was in the wild in away. She was probably oxygen deprived that also affected her brain. The poor girl basically grew up throughout the years being put in that dark airtight casket with a straw to breath through. It was so long ago and cannot remember the details how she turned out other than she is in this locked facility and has trigger points that sets her off. Our clinical group was crying all day after hearing this case. This broke me and realized that I cannot ever be a psych nurse. I am sure she suffered other abuse. Most of the patients in the psych facility were from an abusive parents. The next population was drugs, alcohol and chemical imbalance. To be honest, I felt in my own mechanism, I shut down after hearing the casket and straw bit. I could not handle it and felt sick all day.
Yeah this would mess me up too.
I worked at a psychiatric hospital for guys who had successfully argued Not Guilty for Reasons of Insanity pleas. One guy had murdered his neighbor after they had some kind of normal neighbory dispute. He told me, in detail, how he grew up on a farm and his dad would kill one of his dogs in front of him every time he acted out as a child.
The state psych hospitals are the worst of the worst. We keep shrinking the size and displacing people, pretty much anyone crazy enough to warrant a bed will have a backstory that gives you nightmares.
I'm a security guard on a psych unit. I once had a patient refuse her medicine, which is a fairly common occurrence. Normally, that's fine. The doctor will convince them to take their meds the next day. However, this girl was extremely psychotic. In some cases, we have to hold patients down for a shot. As soon as we walked in the room, this girl started screaming "Daddy please don't! I promise I'll stop! No! I'll be good!" She got the shot and just curled up and started bawling. This was the saddest forced shot we've ever had to give and all of us left the room completely silent.
Being an emergency responder is a high-stress job.
It's a career with long, laborious hours.
There is always a hint of danger. And death is always around the corner.
So we as a society could try to help these people out and not put ourselves in unnecessary danger.
Redditor Diligent-Log6805wanted the rescue workers out there to tell us about the times they rescued people. They asked:
"Emergency responders of reddit, what are some dumb things that have lead to an emergency situation?"
These workers and the world already has enough trouble without my stupid.
"So... was she impressed?"Idiot Reaction GIFGiphy
"Kid driving his new truck down a residential street, wet from a recent rain, lost control and hit a parked car, overcorrected and rolled it once back onto its wheels up onto a lawn. He told the fire chief he had gunned it to impress his girlfriend and the chief just looked at him and asked 'So... was she impressed?'"
"I had a client once who was basically Ricky from Trailer Park Boys, loud, obnoxious, hilarious and every second word was some Maritime slang or a derivative of 'f**k.' He has been on daily eye drops for decades for dry eyes, sure ok cool. I hear screaming down the hall and run in and he's wedged against the wall and the bed just screaming 'I f**ked up boys, I dunno what the f**k is f**king happening but It's f**ked."
"Turns out he mistakenly put Jublia which is an antifungal ointment for toenails in his eye thinking it was his eye drops. The strangest part was the bottle has this miniature sponge at the end so you soak the sponge then paint it on like a gel...he painted this antifungal ointment onto his eye which immediately went red and angry then proceeded to do the other one."
"So he's at the eyewash station and I'm talking to poison control and they are pretty stunned because they have zero data on what happens to a human eyeball when it's painted in antifungal. I can hear the staff at the other end kind of snickering under her breath and she asks can you compare and contrast the eyes? Well... he put it in both eyes. The line goes silent because I can tell she is howling. Guy was totally fine but it was a standout for sure."
Will they show?
"Responded to a call of two minors being kidnapped and their parents being beaten in front of them and then taken someplace else. One was around three years and the other one was six. They were held captive in an apartment out of hundreds of residential apartments which not easy to locate, upon reaching there we found out that the boy six was just playin' with us to see if we would actually respond. Their parents were so embarrassed by all of that and vowed to not give them mobile until they are adults."
"When I was an EMT in NYC years ago we had a call for a man 'unresponsive.' We entered an upscale apartment that was a hoard: floor to ceiling newspapers and magazines, just a mess. The woman who called said her brother was in his bedroom sick."
"We entered his room and it was pretty obvious that he had already passed away. She had placed a bowl under his mouth because he had hemorrhaged which had coagulated the day before it was crazy. We asked her why she hadn’t called sooner and she said thought he’d get better?!"
"The joke around the house was 'if you have to put a bowl under a relative who is bleeding from the mouth, call 911. Don’t wait.' Never thought we’d have to advise anyone to do that. But there ya go. Also, it was Thanksgiving. Didn’t eat any cranberry sauce that year."
God Only KnowsMarried At First Sight Lol GIF by LifetimeGiphy
"Had a guy call because he had the cure to Covid and needed a ride to the local education hospital so he could share it. Dude was so high on meth He ended up having 4 or 5 binders worth of scientific looking notes. God only knows what was actually in them."
Wow, people really need to get a grip. Of their minds.
"Sparky"on fire GIFGiphy
"One of my old bosses once built a new shed in his back yard, to replace his old, worn-out one. He moved everything from the old one to the new one, then decided that the best way to remove the old one was by burning it down. He ended up with no sheds and the nickname 'Sparky.'"
Dead in the living room...
"Paramedic here. We responded to this 54 year old having chest pain. Man was having a heart attack. Dude didn't want to go to the hospital because it too early in the day. That's it. We tried to convince him to go. Got the ER doc to talk to him and he wouldn't budge. He signed a Refusal. Later that same night, his family found him. Dead in the living room. We got to him and started CPR, meds, everything. Dude didn't make it. When we advise you to go to the hospital, go."
"Got called to a shooting. A guy says he received a text message from an anonymous number saying his brother has been shot. He checks all the hospitals with no luck. He goes to his brother's apartment but gets no response at his door but sees his car and can hear the TV on. We get there, attempt to get an answer at the door."
"Eventually we kick the door in to make sure he wasn't dying in his apartment. We boot the door, announce police, and find him asleep in his bed. The guy tells us that he got a new phone number and decided to mess with his brother by texting him he had been shot. He then fell asleep and forgot about the text and was woken up by us. So many wasted resources on his idiotic prank."
"Got called to a priority job. The caller was kayaking in a lake and said that there was an unresponsive male in the water. So off we went, lights and sirens. We requested paramedics and fire to attend as well for the rescue operation. There were about 6 emergency vehicles attending including a rescue boat. We got there within minutes and met the caller who showed us where the guy was."
"He was just swimming, minding his own business. The caller said he was unresponsive, but really he was just ignoring her. Had a chat with the guy, he seemed alright, said he swims here every day and likes the quiet. No issues. Would have been nice if the caller told the operator that he was still conscious and swimming rather than 'unresponsive.'"
Chew SlowlySnl GIF by Saturday Night LiveGiphy
"Well, I was taking a lady home from dialysis and she decided to eat a snickers in the back of the ambulance, and she started choking. Had to do the heimlich, and tell her to finish her food at home."
If it's not a true emergency dial 311. Please.
I hated science classes.
As soon as I could I ran.
But it follows me.
Because science can be downright disturbing.
That's why I blocked out so many of the details.
Redditor Flimsy_Finger4291wanted to compare notes on all the frightening facts that are a definitive. They asked:
"What's the scariest thing that science has proven real?"
As if knowledge isn't scary enough, let's her more...
Hello Terrypaint surgery GIF by gifnewsGiphy
"Some tumors have teeth, hair and even eyes."
"My sister had one minus the eyes! It was cantaloupe sized on one of her ovaries before it was found. She named it Terry the Teratoma."
"My best friend and bunk mate from summer camp died from one of those when I was in 7th grade. Happened so quickly, we were a week into camp and he got really sick. They gave us all heavy meningitis shots because they didn’t know what it was and within a few days he was dead. Turned out to be a brain eating amoeba."
"Edit: strangely enough on the same day he started getting sick one of the lifeguards that was sitting out in a boat waiting for the next group of kids for what we called Trojans Vs. Spartans day had a seizure, fell off the boat and drowned. Only deaths they’d ever had in the 50+ years the camp had been open."
Far Far Away
"The size of our galaxy, how many other galaxies there are and how far away they are. When you can actually see something that incomprehensible.."
"The nearest star to us would take the Voyager 70,000 years to reach. The nearest galaxy to ours would take the Voyager 749,000,000 years. If we some how managed to take on the monstrous task of speed of light travel it would still take 25,000 years to reach the nearest galaxy. And it's even further apart after you read this. Wild stuff!"
"How the brain is literally rewired and chemically altered by childhood neglect and abuse."
"It's genuinely kinda freaky, playing a puzzle game, and noticing how quickly you're getting better at it. The kind of puzzles that were a real blocker in the beginning become baby-easy after like an hour of playing puzzles like it."
"My sister faced horrible abuse at the hands of our father, and she has been working through it with multiple therapists over the last 10 years and she is only now starting to get her life back. I feel like she was robbed at a fair chance at life because of our a**hole father."
AwakeBill Murray Im Here GIF by Groundhog DayGiphy
"Prions, horrific and totally unpredictable."
"Fatal familial insomnia is a prions disease where you can't sleep anymore, you just stay awake until your brain deteriorates and you die."
Now I can never UNKNOW about prions. Perfect.
Days gone by...Aging Matt Damon GIFGiphy
"Ageing. I'm content with death but the idea of my body growing old, frail and eventually falling apart before the end game gives me goosebumps."
"Gamma ray bursts. No warning, no escape, no defense, no survivors."
"If you're talking about supernovas if the star isn't too close the gamma burst would probably only destroy some part of our ozone layer. And gamma radiation is actually the least lethal out of all types of waves."
"Entropy. Time shall consume all things. Inevitable heat death of the universe."
"I personally want the 'Big Crunch' to be true. That instead of fizzling out it all gets sucked back into an infinitely small/dense particle and then another Big Bang happens. It’s my explanation for the multiverse. It’s all one timeline. Just infinitely long."
"More like a theory, the 'orangutan paradox,' when we film a documentary on orangutans, they can’t realize that we are observing them, yet they are the most intelligent species of their category, so aliens might be watching us and we are as oblivious as an orangutan."
Fade 2 SilentListen Scooby Doo GIF by MashedGiphy
"That hearing is the last sense to leave, when dying."
Well that is the antithesis of comfort. Life is so fun.
Ever since Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope opened on May 25, 1977, a devoted fanbase developed.
And that fanbase has opinions.
Lots and lots of opinions.
Redditor Ebo8000 wanted to know:
"What is your most controversial take on Star Wars?"
"LASERS LOCK DOORS. LASERS OPEN DOORS. LASERS KNOW WHAT YOU WANT THE DOOR TO DO."
"But if you get past the door and close it behind you and you don’t want anyone to follow you through it…"
"…you shoot the bloody door panel!"
"Also, f*cking hell, we're in the future (or in the past), whatever, and people have better technology."
"Why put the door control RIGHT NEXT to the door? Put the door control system in a breaker box."
"Build every door so in case of malfunction they all shut closed (after all, they're in space and you don't want to lose air in decompression, do you?)"
"Shoot the breaker box, now the whole floor is closed until someone can figure out what happened."
"Almost look like those doors just exist as dramatic elements..."
"I’d like a film about when the Republic was at its height. 1,000 generations is 25,000 years and we’ve had 9 movies about the last 60."
"Not sure if controversial but they need to take the franchise and yeet it 200 years in the future."
"I'm tired of the Empire era where they need to justify why more than 2 Jedi and 2 Sith exist at one moment alongside knowing everything is pointless until Luke leaves the farm."
Design Fail? No!
"The Death Stars weren't badly designed they were just badly managed."
"Yes, designing them assuming large scale assaults was stupid given the political state of the galaxy but the second Death Star wasn't even finished so that doesn't count, it's all Palpatine's fault. As for the first one that was finished, the Alliance made three runs on the exhaust port."
"The first was called off before they made it to the trench, the second failed and the third was carried out by space Jesus which isn't exactly fair."
"All in all it sounds like a fairly effective defence when you consider the design philosophy."
"The entire universe has a cool factor that outweighs the atrocious storytelling."
"Bro imagine the following movies, but if they were in Star Wars universe."
"Magnificent 7 - A Jedi, Bounty Hunter, Ex-Imperial, Pilot, Wookie, a Droid, and Lawman team up to defend a town against pirates"
"Dredd - Two Jedi climb up an apartment block to confront a new dark side user who has mental control of the entire apartment block"
"Supernatural (T.V. Show) - A Jedi and their apprentice go around and solve and defeat Dark Side Force spots—where the Force consolidates from emotions and creates foul creatures to fight"
"Top Gun - But it's you know, Wedge or something"
"Ford versus Ferrari - But it's podracing or swoop racing"
"Something about the ships in the original series always felt more like real ships than in any of the later movies, despite the objectively better effects of the later films."
"Some of this is probably the use of models (i.e. actual three dimensional objects), but I think there is some critical difference in the design that makes them feel more real (probably because they were designed to be things that would actually work as models)."
"Whatever it is, I LOVED the ships in the original series and never really liked any of the new ones."
"The original trilogy changed the world by showing a universe in space that was dirty and lived in. The special effects from the later movies did not recognize this."
"Boba Fett is an oddly overrated background character, and even after watching The Book of Boba Fett, I don’t really care about him."
"He was never a character. He was a cool helmet."
"He was a cool jetpack too."
Time for the weather...
"Han is actually older than Obi-Wan due to Time Dilation."
"Time dilation in a universe where every planet and moon has the same gravity and atmosphere?"
"And just 1 biome."
"That way they only need one Weather Channel per planet."
"And over to Klaatu for the Tatooine weather report. Klaatu?"
"It's still sunny."
These are the droids we're looking for.
"Star Wars is actually the life story of C-3PO—think about it."
"I disagree. I think its R2-D2's story. He had a much greater presence in Episode 1, 2 and 3, and got the same amount of screen time as C-3PO in 4, 5 and 6."
Fan is short for fanatic.
"Fans ruined the whole franchise."
So, did your controversial Star Wars opinion make the list?
Death is a subject many people shy away from because what they don't know beyond our realm of existence can be intimidating.
Hollywood hasn't helped, as movies and TV have typically portrayed death as something sinister and violent.
How could anyone be convinced death is a peaceful transition, and that what awaits on the other side is actually an unimaginable utopia?
Curious to hear strangers' thoughts about death, Redditor GoodNess2020 invoked a quote by an iconic literary figure and asked:
"Mark Twain once said, 'I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.' Why do you agree/disagree with his statement?"
People clarified what actually terrified them most about death
"I don't fear being dead. I fear dying."
"Yeah, that's usually the issue. It's why that quote doesn't mean much, to a lot of people."
"It's not a fear of eventually dying and not existing anymore. It's the act of dying itself. He didn't constantly die for all of time. He just wasn't alive."
Concept Of Loss
"To have not existed for billions of years is to have spent billions of years never knowing loss. To die is to know loss."
"If you look into a new bank account and see zero dollars, it’s nothing. If you look into a bank account that once had a million dollars and see there’s nothing in there, you’ll know it’s absence."
People provided an analogy to articulate what ceasing to exist must feel like.
It's About Time
"Time is only relevant to you when you are alive. He is right. Have you ever been sedated for surgery? You go under, and then instantly wake up and procedure is done.... or you died so no worries."
Consciousness Is Life
"You won’t be feeling anything in death though is the thing. That infinite/instant sensation was a living feeling, you just weren’t conscious for it - your body experienced it anyways. No body, no experience."
Like Being Under
"That is very true, but for me, that's the closest amalgamation of what it probably feels like."
"No one can tell you what actual death will be like. It's impossible for you to experience nothingness."
"Thinking about death can be paralysing sometimes, and when I remember that the closest thing i can link as an experience I had, being put under, was actually sort of pleasant. I then think maybe death will be like that, and honestly it doesn't seem that bad."
When In Deep Sleep
"Yeah in contrast to sleep where you can actually feel like time has passed when you wake up."
Think Line Between Death And Slumber
"As CGPGrey puts it, your bed might very well be a suicide machine."
"Given our lack of understanding for the fundamental processes of our sentience, it's entirely possible that when you fall asleep, your mind is functionally killed, disassembled, analyzed, sorted, tweaked, and adjusted by your biology, before being reassembled when you wake. Every night."
People opened up about their insecurities around the concept of death.
Fear Of What Comes Next
"I’m just paranoid that something does happen after death and it’s just based on one thing that you didn’t know about."
The Circle Of Death
"There’s nothing to fear in oblivion. Unless, of course, your consciousness survives death. If so, it would be reasonable to fear the sensation of consciousness without senses, suspended alone in the cosmos, with no one to hear you, and no way to make yourself known. No reference point for counting time – a count that does not matter anyway in a literal eternity."
"You might wish that you still had a corporeal form, only so that you could make your mouth move to express your terror, to make the universal form of a terrified scream – the form of a letter O."
"But you won’t be able to. You just won’t!"
"This has been the Children’s Fun Fact Science Corner. Brought to you by shame, loneliness, and the letter..."
When Faith Fails You
"what do you mean I'm going to hell?! I was a good person and attended church regularly!"
"Ah yes, but you failed to put a blue feather in your hat and then turn in circles the times praising God Almighty on the fifth Sunday after your twelfth birthday. To the pit with you!!!"
There is an poignant episode from the Twilight Zone that brought me a sense of peace surrounding the concept of death.
Death was embodied by a handsome police officer who had been shot–played by a young Robert Redford–and begs to be let into the home of an elderly woman who had been living in perpetual fear of meeting "Mr. Death."
As the episode continues, she discovers much to her dismay that she welcomed Death into her home, but he warmly reassures her there is nothing to fear.
The episode ends with her finally offering her hand to Death after much protest, and they peacefully walk out together, arm in arm, into the light.
It was sweet and beautifully done. The 1962 episode was titled, "Nothing in the Dark."
That's how I imagine it to be.
A dashing Prince of Darkness telling me it's time to join him in guiding me to the other side.