People Who Were In Jail On 9/11 Reveal What The Experience Was Like[rebelmouse-image 18358211 is_animated_gif=
Most of the world was glued to their televisions on September 11, 2001, trying to figure out what was happening. But what if your access to information was limited?
Reddit user dancingbanana123 asked "People who were in prison during 9/11, what was that like?"
Here are the responses from the people who learned of the terrorist attacks from behind bars.
Australian Perspective[rebelmouse-image 18358212 is_animated_gif=
It was weird. I was in minimum security at the time and it was night (because hemispheres). I got out of the shower and my flatmate (it was more like a 2br unit than a cellblock as we were in min near the ends of long sentences) had the news on. That was weird cos she usually wasn't interested in the news. She should have been watching reruns of "Whose line is it anyway?"
I watched the newsreader talking as the first tower collapsed in the live feed square in the corner of the screen. The newsreader kind of gasped and I sat down in my towel and stayed up watching for the next few hours. After that I had the radio going all night in bed. I'd never used the radio for anything other than an alarm before.
The next day, nobody was really hassled about going to work. Almost everyone was sitting watching the news all day and freaking out about what it meant. Ladies went from unit to unit with biscuits (cookies) and snacks to talk about it. Was our country going to be pulled in another war because of our alliance with the US?
Turned out yes, yes and more yes to that question. I wrote an article about it for the prison magazine. The live feed was very disturbing - a lot of what was shown there was never shown on commercial tv again. Didn't take long for things to return to normal, though.
Sounds of Silence[rebelmouse-image 18358213 is_animated_gif=
I was doing an early shift in a big maximum security center. I was in the intake area where all the inmates go before they get taken to court.
At the time about 200 inmates a day were going to court. It was normally a really noisy area with tv's showing crappy morning shows which you couldn't hear anyway.
That morning was quiet, almost silent, you could hear a pin drop. I never saw it like that before or since. Everyone just knew what they were witnessing was a big deal.
Fear[rebelmouse-image 18358214 is_animated_gif=
I was in maximum security (Foothills Correctional Institution) Morganton, NC. That morning I was in my C++ College course when another inmate came in late saying the World Trade Center was attacked by terrorists.
I was about to graduate in a few months and had the ability to leave the college area and head back to my Unit to watch TV. After realizing it was serious I went to my single cell and started strapping up in case martial law was declared.
Momentary Chaos[rebelmouse-image 18358215 is_animated_gif=
I was in a level 4, maximum security in Connecticut at the time.
It was very odd, some people fired cells some guys flooded, cops were in shock, some things got out of hand immediately afterwards.
A day or two later it was business as usual.
No Concept of Severity[rebelmouse-image 18358216 is_animated_gif=
I was serving 9 and a half months and was 8 days away from getting out. I was in a dorm setting and we were allowed to use the phones early in the morning.
One of my fellow inmates had talked to a family member and woke up the guy next to me and said "planes just flew into the World Trade Center".
That was pretty much all we knew. There was no sense of chaos or anything like that. I don't think we realized how bad it was until later that night. I just remember thinking "if sh!# really goes down I hope it's after my release date". For the most part it felt like it was just another day.
Family Concerns[rebelmouse-image 18358217 is_animated_gif=
9/11 is significant to me for not only being locked up at the time but my mother was flying out of Boston that morning from Logan Airport. The airport where 2 of the planes were hijacked.
That morning I was walking across the top tier about to take a shower and below the TV's were on. The 1st plane had crashed already and the networks were still unsure of what was going on. It was just coverage of the tower burning. Then a girl points to the screen and yells and I watch the 2nd plane hit. Some were going to phones calling family who lived in New York. I proceeded to take a shower.
As I was showering I said out loud that bin laden came back to take out towers and finish the job. Little did I know I was actually right. It also was time I realized my Mom was in Boston and the news said that's where planes came from. I was Like F#$% My Mom might be on those planes! Panic flowed through me instantly. She was leaving Boston that morning to return home that day for I had court the next morning and she was going to court with me. Anyway, I jumped out the shower, got dressed and booked it to the phone to call my Dad. He answered. I said immediately was that her plane? He paused and slowly said he didn't think so for her flight was like at 9AM or something. He said he had been trying to call her but the cell lines were jammed. It gave me huge sigh relief but I was still freaked out cuz of all the misinformation going around that terrible day. Later I found out the FBI swarmed the airport and she stayed with my Aunt until she could get home via train and car 3 days later cuz all flights were grounded for days.
It was awful feeling that I'm not only locked up watching the world go to sh!#, and I can't even do anything but sit and watch helplessly all the while wondering if my Mom was on one of the planes. Terrible feeling. The not knowing. It was such a scary day that I hope we will never see again.
Howard Stern Bit[rebelmouse-image 18358218 is_animated_gif=
Michigan level 2, medium security. I was laying in my bunk listening to Howard Stern on my am/fm cassette player during count time. It was very weird. I thought he was doing some bit for a few minutes and was like 'wtf?'. If I recall correctly he kept his show going longer than it was supposed to and I just stayed in my cell and listened.
I don't recall if they put us on lock down. Honestly from what I remember it was still fairly normal afterwards.
Regrets[rebelmouse-image 18358219 is_animated_gif=
During 9/11, I was incarcerated at the Correctional Industrial Facility in Pendleton, Indiana, serving a 30-year sentence for murder. I was working in the Chapel as a clerk, just outside of the Chaplain's office. In his office was a TV, and when the first plane struck the WTC and the news flash interrupted the current program, I was in shock that such a horrific accident could happen. When the second plane struck, I knew in that instant that it was not an accident, but a deliberate act of war against the United States. At that moment, the guards and administration also recognized that a serious national event was occurring. All work details were immediately canceled, and all of us inmates were escorted back to our cells. The entire prison was eerily quiet because everyone was either in shock or realized that the United States had just suffered an act of war. The prison was placed on lockdown, not only to prevent rioting, but also because no one knew what was going to happen in the coming hours or days. My cellmate had a TV, and we watched in horror as the events of the day unfolded. There were some inmates who found pleasure in the government being attacked, but these were very much in the minority. The vast majority of inmates, especially the veterans, were horrified.
There were many times when I was in prison that I felt helpless and incapacitated. But never more so than on September 11th, 2001. If I could have, I would have rushed to New York to dig through the rubble with my bare hands. But I couldn't. Never had I felt so acutely the crushing weight of those walls and those bars. I am a naturalized citizen, by choice, because I love this country. I committed a crime, and I paid my debt, but I harbor no ill will against the government for my incarceration. I broke the law, I got what I deserved. The United States is the greatest nation on earth (my incarceration notwithstanding), and on that day I would have done whatever was necessary to protect it. If only I could have. To this day, that is one of my greatest regrets.
72 Hour Delay[rebelmouse-image 18358220 is_animated_gif=
We didn't know what happened, we all thought somebody escaped. That's what the older prisoners told us anyway. No TV, no newspapers, no radio, no work (we were kitchen staff and served 2 meals per day) and we didn't have trays, instead it was bagged lunch for everybody (PB&J and a carton of milk) for three days.
After the first 12-15 hours the older inmates were telling us "It could be a riot in another block." because it was too quiet. Any stirs by the inmates, the loudspeaker would come on and tell us we are on lockdown.
When we found out, 72 hours later, it was total shock. We were in California and we didn't know if our families were OK or what. I had to wait 2 hours to make a phone call to my family.
I had to have my family in CA contact family in NJ and tell them to accept the collect call from me. I wouldn't take anybodies word that everyone was alive.
Helpless[rebelmouse-image 18358221 is_animated_gif=
For us, they shut down the yard.
When we went inside the tv was on which wasn't normal for that time of day so we all knew that something was up.
Then we watched as the towers fell. They let those of us with family in NY call them to check on them.
Grudging Respect[rebelmouse-image 18358222 is_animated_gif=
I was two years into a 12 year sentence for attempted murder in a maximum security prison in Connecticut, maybe 100 miles from where the towers fell. I was outside my cellblock on my job assignment in a prison industry program when it happened, we were all signing out tools and getting ready for work when they called for the lock down over the intercom. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary, prison wide lockdowns happened occasionally for a variety of reasons and in fact we were due for the annual prison wide shake down so we all assumed that's what it was. As I was heading back to my workstation to gather up my tools (and dispose of my contraband lol) I overheard one of COs say that New York just got attacked and we were at war, I just assumed bullsh!# and went about my business but it quickly became clear that something was up. The COs seemed panicked and they were rushing us out, I didn't even get a pat down on the way out. Normally if you're getting locked down because of a disturbance in the prison the COs feel the need to be a-holes to the guys that were just minding their business on the other side of the complex but they weren't like that, they kept telling us to just get back to our cells and we'd find out what's up.
I should mention here that most inmates had TVs in their cells. My cell mate and I arrived back at our cell at roughly the same instant, immediately hopped on our bunks and stayed there glued to our TVs for the next four hours. I got back about ten minutes before the second plane hit and when it hit I remember being so shocked that something like that was happening so close to me that I looked out the window to make sure the world wasn't ending.
So back story on my relationship with the cell mate. This guy just moved in about a month ago, he was a African-American Muslim from New York City, I was a white boy from the country with a chip on my shoulder. Needless to say there was your classic culture clash and we butted heads a lot in the beginning but gradually settled into a mutual respect relationship and coexisted. Up until that day we hadn't spoken in about two weeks. I know people wonder how you can spend all day in a cell with a person and never speak but honestly those are the best cellies, try getting locked in a cell with a guy that's constantly bitching about his problems and you'll know what I mean.
So that fateful day after about 4 hours they brought lunch, my cell mate went out to get it and we broke our vows of silence over egg salad. I just remember him being irate that it happened in his city and heartbroken over the damage this would do to his religion. I didn't realize it at the time but he was spot on with some of the stuff that he was prophesying that day. He was so apologetic for his religion, it was the first time I'd actually seen that miserable bastard vulnerable. We came off lock down 3 days later and things went back to routine quickly because that's how you get through a long prison sentence, just follow the routine. My cell mate got his backside kicked over a card game about a week later and I never saw him again but I credit him with the fact that I'm not one of those people that believe all Muslims are terrorists.
Backlash[rebelmouse-image 18358223 is_animated_gif=
I was in prison from October 2000 to June 15th 2002. On June 3rd 2001 I took my shahada (became a Muslim). As a white inmate this was pretty difficult. I was the only white Muslim in the prison I was in. So there was some extra heat on me for that. But it had subsided...
September 11th 2001 I was awoken by another inmate...turned on the tv and watched the second plane hit live while the first was smoking. We (the Muslim community) were all approached by the staff and were all offered protective custody status once they figured out it was a terrorist attack and Osama bin Laden was one of the masterminds. It was a very trying time. We would make salat (pray) on the yard in the evening together. It was a scary time. We had a few "meetings" with outside ministers and imams where we all tried to come together and understand things.
Religious Understanding[rebelmouse-image 18358224 is_animated_gif=
I was in prison in Missouri at the time, minimum security camp (Tipton).
Even though there wasn't much of a security risk inmate wise, when the planes hit it was about 30 minutes later everyone was told to report back to our buildings. Temporary lock down was in place, and the closest military base had fighter jets on patrol almost immediately. Even though we had to go on lockdown, almost everyone was already in a cubicle watching as the 2nd plane hit.
"Holy f-" was about the most common expletive, as was "was that f'ing real?"
Religious groups were the main concern, as there was a strong Nation of Islam and Muslim population.
Luckily I was part of a multi faith group, being with my Wiccan group mainly, that spoke and shared beliefs, experiences, and sat in on each other's respective faith meetings and ceremonies. It was a very unique and interesting in between sort of group and time for about a month after 9-11 happened. I like to think the openness our eclectic mix of faiths possessed helped bridge the gap between opposite groups and their response to such an extreme point in our history.
Spectre of War[rebelmouse-image 18358225 is_animated_gif=
It was shortly after count had cleared and I had just walked outside to the yard before going to my job in the education department. The inmate I worked with asked me if I heard that we were at war and that they had attacked New York. I remember my belly was in a knot thinking Oh sh!# we're at war and I'm stuck in here and my family is out there.
I grew up in the 80s and remembered that cold war fear that the Russians were gonna take over the country so that's what I was thinking when I heard war. I was only a few years into a very long sentence so I didn't know what to think. When we went into the classroom we rigged the TV to catch channels over the antenna, we were all glued to the TV and I'll never forget watching people jump to their deaths. I called my folks and said we loved each other and my dad reassured me that we weren't going to be taken over by another country. We had like 15 channels on TV in our units and I remember every single channel had the news on, even BET.
Rumor Mill[rebelmouse-image 18358226 is_animated_gif=
I had just recently arrived in the system after sitting in county for a while, so was still in Diagnostics where all your processing like medical and affiliations and job placement stuff happens. I remember being still asleep when a guard turned on the lights and rolled the TV into the dorm. (Intake's had been torn down by the last batch, or maybe the batch before them.) I remember my bunk was right by the plug, so I could sit there and be right to the side of the TV. My house was popular for a few days, lol.
Everyone was confused at first, "What the hell boss, why you waking us up?", but his demeanor showed that something serious was up. Big grey-headed dude, usually jovial, was like "Y'all quiet down and look at this." We thought it was just a crash at first, but he answered, "No, we're under attack." I'm not super sure about the timeline--he must have brought it on shortly after the Pentagon got hit? I remember seeing one of the towers fall, at least, but the memory is fuzzy. We were one somber bunch of hoodlums, though.
They left the TV in the dorm all that day, and most of the next. Like others have said, we didn't go out for a few days. We didn't go full lockdown, because they kept running the diagnostic stuff, but I can't speak for the rest of the camp.
Among the inmates, it was gossip as usual, hyped to the walls. There's gonna be a war, they're gonna let us out, gonna write my recruiter and get outta here, blah blah blah.
Dark Cloud[rebelmouse-image 18348537 is_animated_gif=
I was in a max prison in Texas at the time. I was in the infirmary talking to the PA when a nurse came in and told the doctor that a plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center. A little bit later she came in again crying telling the PA that another plane had just crashed into the second tower.
All three of us came out of the room into the "lobby" where someone had rolled a TV in. We all watched the news broadcast, the people crying, footage of the planes crashing, everything.
In prison, prisoners segregate themselves according to race and then by city. Then there's more segregation between prisoners and guards, nurses, etc.,
But at that brief moment, we were all standing there watching the TV and all those lines of separation where gone. When those towers were attacked, we were all attacked. We were all feeling sadness, worry, anger. I remember walking back to my building and everyone was quiet. Guards weren't giving us a hard time, inmates were more quiet than usual, just a dark cloud over the prison.
Stuck[rebelmouse-image 18358227 is_animated_gif=
I was in Prison (Australia) in my cell, at night, watching Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (the series) on the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission). At approx 8:30/8:45pm the series ceased and live feed went up of the Towers etc,
Checked out the other channels, all the same. People were calling out from their cells to tell people about it.
My first thoughts: we were at War and here I am stuck behind 4 walls.
Media Blackout[rebelmouse-image 18358229 is_animated_gif=
I was in prison during 9/11 in what was called "high risk" but most people would understand "maximum security". It was a two story section of cells where you went when you had been really bad in prison and gotten too many cases. We had been on complete lock down for a while, no TV, no anything. The guards hated us because we were jerks and only came back there when they were required to.
It was football season and we had been decently good hoping to talk the guards into letting us watch a cowboys game. This was maybe two weeks after 9/11. During the game they kept showing video of planes crashing into buildings.
A guard was walking by checking on us and someone asked why they kept showing it. That's when we were told that we had been attacked a couple weeks prior. Don't really remember what I felt about it because even then we didn't know a lot about it.
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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