Honest People Share Which Life Experiences Are Even Worse Than People Think


Life throws some devatating curve balls, like getting hurt or sick. One of the biggest challenges with physical issues is that the mental consequences often aren't taken seriously enough. Watching a loved one deteriorate is also a horrible thing to go through. As a society, we need better methods of healing from trauma.

zarytezz1 asked: What life experience is a whole lot worse than most people think it is?

Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.

10. There's no instruction manual.

Swapping parent/child roles with a parent for the first time. It humanizes them, but it can be a real kick to the gut.


Yeah my mom was in the hospital in her final stages of cancer and woke up delusional one day. She was seeing things and was trying to take out her IV and breathing apparatus and all sorts of other shinanagins. I had to treat her like a child to keep her from hurting herself or doing other kinds of damage. She and I had a really good relationship so she would listen to me for the most part (even through her delusions which was really cool) but she did not trust any of the nurses. She was thankfully only delusional for a day but it was the most stressful day of my life trying to figure out the whole cancer thing with her and also needing to act as a parent for her. I think I slept for like over 12 that night when I got home.


This happened a lot to me and really f*cked me up as a person, made a huge impact on who I became as I grew up. Fortunately, things seem to have calmed down in the last year or so, but there are times when I'm thinking to myself it could happen again as easy as that. Sadly, I don't trust my parent (who it happened to, who I had to become the parent to) and I'm constantly on my guard, never trusting them or really anyone for that matter. I live and had to live my life prepared for the worse and that's hard to overcome.


9. Pain is exhausting. I had ulcerative colitis, it was perpetual hell.

Chronic pain.

It's very heavy mentally.


And the worst part is if people can't see it they act like you aren't coping with it.


Yup, many people will not sympathize because they don't have a reference for your pain. I had sciatica that lasted around 2 years. It was the only time in my life I ever had thoughts of suicide. It felt like it would never end, and the fact that it was a never ending stream of pain meant you never got any time to decompress mentally from the suffering. It stacks up like a house of cards, ready to come down at any moment.

Thank God for inversion tables. A friend had one and told me I should try it. The first time I flipped upside down I felt a pop and had a measurable amount of relief. It was such a welcome change that I almost cried with joy. I don't know why none of my doctors ever mentioned trying one.


People have zero clue how taxing it is. It hurts to do every little thing. And there are no days off, no breaks. Ever.


8. Terrifying.

Having a parent with dementia. She didn't recognize her son this week. Her brother last month. I dread the day where she no longer recognizes me.


Oh God, oh God, and my father had the aggressive/violent type too. He would say things that no other human could possibly say to another, and do things that are just beyond the pale. He eventually died from it (stroke after stroke after stroke). I really do feel bad for him, but the truth is it feels like a great boulder has been lifted off my chest. Nevertheless, the psychic damage has been done. I still feel like there are a dozen smaller boulders on top of me that I will never be able to remove. My mother, who bore the brunt of the abuse, is a broken woman in her 70s. I moved back home so she wouldn't be living alone (bless my wife/kids through this period), but I work so much that it isn't really helping. When she finally passes and I am alone, I know that I'm going to lose it.

General Reply: I appreciate the sympathy and support, thank you. I should not have put "I know that I'm going to lose it" because that is not true. I will be just fine and so will my mother. This all happened recently, so we are both at a tender moment with all of this. However, my family comes from a ridiculously strong lineage whose members have seen far, far worse. We are going to be just fine.


Had sort of the same issue happen with my grandfather. He was always a little off once the sun went down (Sun-Down syndrome) and after a rough hospital stay for an unrelated illness, he eventually developed full blown dementia. He would get very jealous of my grandma around his male doctors and started some strange habits. He eventually passed away and left my Grandma is the same state as your mother. She has been diagnosed with PTSD, she withdrew from her family, and she struggled a lot in some social situations. 7 years later she is getting better, but it takes time for them find themselves again. You're a good man for helping her out.


7. Getting robbed.

Having your house robbed, it doesn't seem like a huge deal but it feels like your space has been violated.

When home alone I was always worried someone else was sneaking around my house.


I've been shot and stabbed, and granted that I survive again, I'd take either one of these over my house being robbed again. At least I knew who my enemies were with that. When my house got robbed, I have no idea who did it, how or if they knew the house would be empty, or if they planned to kill me that night. For months I'd circle my house with a gun because I was convinced they'd be back.

Getting robbed is a huge deal, moreso when you don't know who did it.

Edit: I wasn't some innocent bystander caught in the crosshairs during the stabbing or shooting. The way I was living back then got me into a lot of easily avoidable yet stupid situations. No need to feel sorry for me, both were mostly my fault.

Location was Sacramento, CA. Gone now and that life is over.


6. War is a nightmare. Just ask this Syrian.

Living in a war. People are very alienated from the sense of total chaos around them, and I hope they never experience it.

It's a lot less dramatic and more dramatic at the same time than the news portrays it. Life around you becomes dull. People walk around without a purpose. Their energy and life drained by the constant perpetuating fear of not living to see the next day. Military around you 24/7. My friends back home can now identify what type and model of a bomb depending on the sound and level of shockwave. War changes people, and never in a good way.


Many people can't really imagine what it's like to live in a war zone. They tend to think of war as something that happens on a battlefield where there are no civilians. Or in an evacuated city, where people aren't around. But many times that's not the case.

Syria for example, people are still living in Syria, in all of the cities. Many people have nowhere to go, many people are living their lives in fear, watching friends, family, and strangers - men, women, children, fall all around them, dead, for no reason. Real people, just like you, not soldiers. They didn't have weapons, they didn't have any way to defend themselves. They won't return home, their children are left without a provider; they'll probably die from starvation. This is war.


I am from Syria. I was talking about Syria. I remember an acquaintance of mine was buried alive during the war because of a basic fight. One of the killers ran away to Lebanon and the other was sent to jail in Syria. But I understand what you mean when you say people live in constant fear, it's sadly true.


5. Guess what day it is...

Getting spit on by a llama/camel.

It's not cute, and it's not a joke. It's their defense mechanism for a reason - you can't just wipe it off and go about your day. You will probably puke, and for the next week you'll swear you're getting whiffs of that vile gunk no matter how much you scrub.


I helped shear a bunch of alpaccas (which are basically just mini-llamas as far as I'm concerned), and one llama. The llama was chill, but I quickly learned that if an alpacca starts tracking you with its head instead of someone closer, turn around, and hope for the best.


Yep. Happened to me, that stuff comes from their throat and smells a whole lot worse than human puke.

Here's a video of it happening to some guy


4. I went through this when I had UC. Every day is unpredictable.

Living with chronic illness. Healthy people haven't a clue. They think you get sick you get better. I've good days and bad days. The sh*t I've been told over the years..

You don't look sick... My cousin takes (insert random item here) they brilliant. You're just looking for attention. You're making it up.

Not sure how I can fake blood test results, X Ray's, scans etc. On and on it goes.


My favourite piece of advice was: "You know Fibromyalgia is a man-made disease right? You can totally cure yourself!"


Oh, so much this. I have Crohn's disease and debilitating migraines. I'm so tired of hearing "just eat better" or "this worked for my aunt/cousin/friend/college roommate/coworker/sister's dog, why don't you try that?" or "you look fine, why are you so tired all the time?" It's so hard to bite my tongue and not answer with "you don't look like an idiot, yet here we are ..."


3. Have you had yours yet today?

Panic/anexiety attacks. Some people are just like "Oh take deep breaths in this paper bag and you'll be fine for the rest of your day". HELL NO. If you don't know how to control panic attacks it can be a nightmare. You feel like the amount of air you can breath has suddenly been limited, you heart beats at top speed, you get dizzy like you might collapse/die, you get an sudden urge to move around, and much more.


My panic attacks usually come with an added dose of depersonalization/derealization, so not only do I feel like I'm about to pass out and die but also like I am sinking into the ground and going into another dimension while simultaneously going crazy

I wish they could just be like when I was a kid and I'd just feel like I'm dying instead. Nah, gotta have the depersonalization as well for funsies.


No one also talks about what comes during or after. For me it was an urge to poop and pee while being scared that I was about to die. Also it's not just the 5 minutes, I get drained for days after. Like it takes all your energy and you end up depressed after. Also if they come out of nowhere (I was relaxing and watching a light harted TV show) with no apparent trigger you spend way to much time worrying over when another one will hit you.


2. The damage from bullying is deep and profound.

Being emotionally abused and/or bullied. Sure, I'd laugh it off right now if someone told me I was ugly or had a stupid name. But as a child, things like that repeated day after day become your truth. Being told you're not good enough for your partner is easy to recognize as abuse, but so hard to get out of your head. These things have very long-lasting effects, to the point where I still tend to believe people only PRETEND to like me, or like people are lying when they say I'm pretty, and I have trouble with relationships because I feel like I'm never good enough.

Just because I recognized that it was wrong doesn't mean it still isn't ingrained into my system. They're more than just harsh criticisms, dumb insults, and general a**holishness. That sh*t can stay with you.


When you're a child, your brain is kinda being constructed by the world around you. Abuse and bullying can really be dysfunctional for your brain, and an hold you back in some profound ways.

The way you're constantly brushed off or your suffering dismissed as unimportant, makes you frustrated, but you have to hold it all in because the moment you let it out, suddenly EVERYONE gives a shit and YOURE the problem.

When your coping mechanisms make you more of a target, or make you a "problem child" in the eyes of adults just makes it even harder to deal with. I was put in many special needs classes despite not having any learning disability, just being abused held me back. So they think they're treating the problem when they have someone to help me with my school work but they ignore everything else.

Other people still have some rebound left in them, an ability to cope and to brush themselves off. When it's been your whole life like this, you never learned how to do that in the first place. You learned to be helpless. You learned people will always abuse you and you will be punished if you try to do anything about it.


It's very true. I was emotionally abused as a child and have issues with trust and self image but the moment I said anything about it to my mother the first time I was brushed off, the second time she screamed at me.

When your trust gets broken time and time again you feel like you can't trust anyone and have no confidence in yourself because it's ingrained in your mind that you're unimportant. Then that pisses people off because they think you're just making up excuses to not be perfectly happy all the time. But when that little voice in your head always tells you that you're not good enough and that no matter what you do or no matter how hard you try you'll always be a complete failure that nobody could ever love.


Dude this has seriously stuffed my childhood up so badly. It turned me from a "normal" kid to a really shy, timid kid. I'd do something harmless and i'd have people tell me off for doing that for no logical reason. I remember in one of my school pictures, I winked. I got so much shit for that from family. They just kept asking me what I was thinking winking? I ruined the picture blah blah. To this day I don't feel comfortable in pictures. Like I really need to take a few minutes and force myself to just be open in pics. And good luck ever seeing me pose in a picture, unless i'm 100% sure you wont say something sh*tty about it.


1. The psychological consequences of physical injury.

Being very athletic and getting injured to the point where you are unable to participate in sports and former activities.

This has made me lose my identity. I became depressed, turned to drugs and alcohol to cope and even felt suicidal. People just kept telling me to get a new hobby, but they were more than just hobbies, they were part of who I was as a person and were how I coped with stress.


Yes. To quote Zaphod Beeblebrox in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 'I'm just gonna go find something else for my whole life to be about.'


It's devastating, isn't it? I was a long-distance cyclist for years but had to give it up after my fourth serious concussion. I constantly dream about cycling, and in those dreams I'm always ecstatic that I can bike again. I'm really sorry that you've felt the same loss.


Thank you. I dream about running too, although I haven't been able to run since 2016. Sometimes I wake up crying afterwards. It has been devastating. The psychological effects of injuries still seem to be a bit taboo in the medical field, at least from my experience.


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