Mental states are fragile. One of the most popular themes of American literature, in fact, is the fragility of man's sanity. H.P. Lovecraft utilized this often in his horror stories, and the death of the "American Dream" and the effect it had on the sanity of its dreamers was a popular theme in Arthur Miller's plays.

Unfortunately watching somebody's mental state deteriorate in real life doesn't carry with it the safety of a Lovecraft novel or a play in a theater. It's real. It's awful.

u/chickenstorm asked:

"[Serious] What's your story of seeing somebody's mental state degrade?"

Here were some of those answers.

Nine Years Alone

Watched my dad join a cult. Get diagnosed with cancer. Get dumped by the cult and die alone. It was horrible, one of his friends used the word "sick" as in "ill" and that really made so many of his choices clear. He was dying, he felt like crap. He didn't want to get medical care. He became mentally unstable and ended up pushing everyone away over 9 years, he got his wish. He died alone.


Quick Chemical Turn Around

I watched a friend get overtaken by his first bipolar episode in about 3 weeks. He started smoking a LOT more than he had before. He was on Snapchat and social media nonstop. He started drinking heavily as well, and barely sleeping. He totaled his Jeep and got a dui. He went to his job and told his boss to f*** off among other things. He was fired.

He started getting angry very easily. During this time I spoke to his mom to let her know what was going on but she was in denial still. The drinking and mania continued for another week. He went golfing with some friends and as they were driving home, he lost it and started ripping his clothes off and tried to jump out of the car. They pulled over and he was screaming for someone to come and kill him. They calmed him down enough to get to the hospital where he stayed for a few days. This all happened in 3 weeks. He's better now which is really good to see.


Intelligent Yet Alone

So I am a nurse in an Assisted Living Facility. Most people there have dementia. Of course I have plenty of stories of sun downers. Or hospice patients. However, this person just stuck with me when I was an aide at a local hospital.

There was a woman who came in to a med-surg unit. She was middle aged, so not old. I don't remember why she was on our unit, but I remember it had something to do with a car accident, but she was so smart. She had two doctorate degrees and enriched many lives at a local college. I just remember being in awe of the conversations I would have with her when I had the time. She was there for a long time. I remember saying goodbye to her at the end of the shift and her commenting that she was going to a rehab facility. A few months go by and she came back. I remember seeing her name and being excited to see her.

When I went to her room she didn't recognize me, which wasn't too odd. Sometimes our regulars didn't recognize me. However, she didnt' even know how to use the remote for the TV. She could still for the most part take care of herself with minimal help, but something was... off. I told the nurse who had taken care of her the previous night about the status condition change, but the nurse didn't do anything. The next times I had her I just watched her decline. Become incontinent, unable to care for herself, mood swings, all of those. It was the saddest thing I had ever seen at that point in ny career. She ended up passing in the hospital. I will never forget the intelligent, strong woman I had met just months ago become almost a shell and non-verbal so quickly. I never saw a visitor there even once.


Lucidity Past

Grandma, she had Alzheimer and dementia, she started losing her memory slowly over time, then one day she fell and broke her hip, being bed ridden accelerated her illnesses and within couple of months she was just laying there and staring at the roof,barely speaking and all she says is none-sense, she doesn't recognize anyone, not even her children. It's like she's not there anymore and all that's left is her body.

The sad part is that she's been like that for years, dead but not really dead, that we can't even mourn her probably because all the sadness and tears were shed while her body still lies on her bed.


Trauma Episodes

A close person to me told that he had what he thought was a mental breakdown at the age of 5 or so. And the reason was intrusive thoughts about death, specifically his own death.

I said "Why would you even be thinking that at that age?" and why would he worry about that because he was still a child and far from death. He just responded with "I don't know. It's like I know how it feels.

It might've been just a one time thing but he had these mental breakdowns sometimes and it was not good. The most recent bad one was when he was 15. He was doing something happy or anything but then he suddenly freezes up then flinches and starts to cry like a child. And he cries for hours and kicks his feet. At this point I was scared because he was inconsolable and don't know what to do.

After a nights sleep, He seems to be fine but he seems to have momentary "aftershocks" and would flinch and start to cry again. He said it takes 2 months to recover from this or be back to his normal happy self but he becomes scared, frantic and sad in these 2 months.

Worse thing is I think he kinda had PTSD from these episodes and if something reminds him of these situation he breaks down again. One specific song was enough to make him have a mental breakdown and it seems he is likely to have these in December or in the night.

He's fine now and has ways to recover from the breakdowns but it seems he is still prone to having these episodes.



My fiancé's mom past a few years ago from creutzfeldt-jakob disease (CJD for short). CJD is most commonly called mad cow disease even tho they aren't the same. CJD only happens to humans and Mad cow is bovine. CJD is when these proteins in your brain called prions go crazy and start to fold and basically turns your brain in to Swiss cheese. There is no cure and it is very rare. Only a few hundred cases a year. She was perfectly healthy except for being diabetic but she had zero complications with her diabetes.

Then out of nowhere she started having problems remembering things and then starting having mood swings. She went to the doctor but they couldn't figure out what it was. It wasn't until a month or so later that a specialist diagnosed her with CJD. She went from being completely healthy to not being able to move her arms, legs, control voluntary and involuntary functions and then death in 8 months. It was extremely hard on my fiance to see her mom lose everything that made her who she was. Her own mother and father had to see her deteriorate as well. It was just awful for the whole family


No Longer The Person I Fell In Love With

When we came back from my deployment, I literally watched my then-husband become a shell of the person he previously was. Prior to the deployment he was so light, optimistic, and social. He slowly transitioned into a man afraid to leave home and eventually began to use substances and was finally released from duty because of it. We still remain friends after all these years, but he's still only a ghost of the person he was before.


It Kept Going

My grandmother was very ill for many years with almost no immune system. Minor cuts and scrapes would get infected and run rampant. Every now and then the infection would make its way to her brain.

It would usually start slowly and progress to hallucinations. Commonly she would see mice or cockroaches. One time she believed fully that she had hair lice, and would get her husband to check and comb her hair to the point it would start falling out.

Eventually she'd have no idea of the date or even the year, sometimes believing it was as early as the 40's, the same year she was born.

She'd then begin to forget how old people were and at its worse, who they were. All this time she believed she was fine and refused to go the hospital.

Even after all that, the hardest was the vitriolic hateful things she would say to you and everyone else when the ambulances were called because she could barely stay conscious.

These infections happened 4 or 5 times, maybe more. And every time the doctors would tell us that she wouldn't make it, and she did every time.

She passed away in 2017.


Erratic And Dangerous

My group of friends witnessed two friends go through paranoid schizophrenic breakdowns, one after the other, in the space of two years. The second one was my roommate. It happened very suddenly. He just woke up one day and decided that we were all lying to him all the time, and acted with the hostility and contempt that you would expect from someone who thought those things. He did erratic stuff like smashing all his belongings with a baseball bat in the driveway and piling all his socks on the kitchen floor. He eventually went back to his parents' house, which was a relief. From what I have heard, he never really got the help he needed.


No Good Can Come From Bad

Friend fell back into addiction. I thought I felt powerless as I listened to him downplay his use.

I felt even more useless as he started looking off into corners. Then said the voices that he was hearing "weren't from meth, they were from living with [his] parents".

While I was away, my bf went over to him holding a kitchen knife to keep his parents (who were half a world away on vacation) in the basement. He hid in a bench for 6 hours.

Finally, he called the cops on his voices.

Visited him everyday I could in the mental ward. When he got out, he blew up our friendship, went missing, went back into the psych ward. That's the last thing I knew.


Image by tookapic from Pixabay

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Image by jacqueline macou from Pixabay

They say one man's trash is another man's treasure - and sometimes that saying is pretty literal.

Lots of people build entire businesses picking up cool stuff on bulk-pickup trash day, and upcycling it into something even better that people are willing to pay for.

Sometimes, you might even end up with something pristine and usable right away.

Reddit user JampackedAlborn1976 asked:

What is the most valuable item that you have seen somebody throw away or have found in the garbage?

And for real ... some of these people scored BIG TIME. Like big time. Like really big.

Like Refrigerator Big

just ask leslie jones GIF by Saturday Night Live Giphy

"Our current refrigerator is a double-door one with exterior ice and water dispensers. We got it for free, with absolutely no problems whatsoever. It's just a few years old."

"How we got it? My dad (civil engineer) was doing some work on someone's apartment when they said they had bought a new modern French door refrigerator and that they were just going to discard their current refrigerator."

"My dad simply asked if he could have it.. and they said yes." - SauloJr

Immigrants In Action

Dog Brazil GIF Giphy

"I immigrated to the US from Brazil when I was 12. And every Saturday, my mom, stepdad, sister and I would go out at night to upper middle class neighborhoods the day before trash pickup to rummage through the garbage they were putting out."

"We found perfectly good TVs, VCRs, microwaves, couches, lazy boys, tables, books and comics, etc."

"I couldn't believe these Americans were throwing out like that. We furnished our entire house with that stuff. The entire Brazilian immigrant community in my town did it. We were flabbergasted." - PhillipLlerenas

With A Note

Television Bunny GIF Giphy

"My wife yelled at me that someone put a big TV outside with a note on it. Walked across the street and it was a brand new Samsung 37 inch HDTV."

"They were actually renovating the apartment building and got an upgraded TV. Even had the remote taped to it with batteries, I guess I have really nice neighbors here in NYC." - MadLintElf

Life Hack!

studying busy philipps GIF by Drunk History Giphy

"If you want high end stuff out of the garbage for free, follow these steps:"

"Pick a city with a large university in it. If it's a school well known for its law programs, or medical, or engineering, all the better."

"Search for luxury apartment complexes that market themselves towards students. Look for things like included shuttle service, pools, fitness centers, etc. The more expensive and swanky the better."

"Figure out when finals week is at the end of Spring semester."

"Dumpster dive at those luxury apartment complexes during that week and the following weekend."

"Very wealthy international students will arrive in the US, fully outfit an apartment with nice furniture, big TVs, audio systems, gaming consoles, you name it, and when the semester ends they just junk it all because they aren't going to fly it back to wherever, and it's too much effort to spend the time selling when they do not care about the money."

"It's a smaller scale phenomenon a little like all the luxury cars abandoned at the airport in Dubai." - whattothewhonow

Literal Gold Treasure

valley of the boom david kim stanley GIF by National Geographic Channel Giphy

"I found a gold coin at goodwill for 5 bucks. It was in a case with someone's name and company name."

"It was their gift from the company for retiring. I assume the family threw it out when he died not knowing it was solid gold. It was in a in a thick solid plastic case that had to be cracked opened."

"It literally said 1 oz fine gold on it. I figured 5 bucks was worth the risk it not being real."

"It was a South African KRUGERRAND 1 oz coin. Everyone was just too busy to read it lol."

"Bought it and took it too a pawn shop and sold it for a couple grand." - streetmitch

The Best Day Of My Life

Will Smith Wow GIF by 1LIVE Giphy

"When I was a kid, I grew up right outside the Los Angeles area in the suburbs. My stepdad was a garbage truck driver for the city of Beverly Hills."

"I swear in the late 80s and early 90s we'd have so much basically brand new stuff (still in boxes) brought home on a regular basis."

"I'll never forget one day in particular. My stepdad came home and was like 'get ready, come to the car, I'll need your help.' So I go down there and in back seat of his car he had a few large black garbage bags."

"We haul them up to our apartment and he's like 'go ahead, open them.' Inside was what I could only describe as an 80s kids trove of treasures."

"One bag contained just about every Ghostbusters and GI joe toy you can imagine, they were played with but had every little accessory, there was a bunch the playsets and everything."

"In the other bag was pretty much every LEGO of the early 80s sets, still in their original boxes. I was a big LEGO nerd but was totally thrown off by the old school space ones because they looked nothing like the 90s space sets. I think they even said "NASA" the minifig's chests."

"That was like a random day in July, it felt like Christmas. I was 9 years old and it was basically like the best day of my life up to that point." - Zombgief

Who Throws Away Money?

spongebob squarepants money GIF Giphy

"A jar full of quarters."

"Annual spring cleaning projects happen in a lot of towns where anyone can put almost anything on the curb and it's taken away for free. It's to stop open dumping or stuff being dumped in ditches."

"Sometimes people deal with estates from winter by just dumping all their grandfather's stuff on the curb for the cleanup to get the house empty immediately. Most often they don't even bother to look at what they are throwing away."

"In 2012 on north road in Akwesasne I found an estate pile that I shuttled back and forth with my bike trailer getting lots of older tools like a scythe, hammers, saws, screwdrivers and wrenches, a 22 rifle with 100 round of ammo, a bunch of ar15 magazines, cast iron cookware, oil lamps, a hand crank food mill with all kinds of accessories, a black raven axe head (worth $100 easily since they are a collectable), and a quart size mason jar full of change mostly quarters."

"That was spring and the sheriffs office did a gun buyback in the fall where I took the mags and got $20 each for them (30 round mags suddenly illegal under the safe act of fall 2012. The buyback was a local political move). I still got the 22 and picked off a lot of woodchuck with it in my gardens." - Bogtrotterso1980

Filing Fever

Files Workload GIF Giphy

"I own a small company which is located directly in front of a state funded program facility. The state decided to have this office shred all of their files as they were going to switch to electronic data (exclusively)."

"We found two of these old rotary filing cabinets outside of their office. They're worth almost $3k each!"

"They just placed them there and we saw them and asked what they planned on doing with them. They said, 'Hmmm.....either donate them or trash them.' The state told them simply to get rid of them."

"We jumped at this and took the two into our already tiny office because there was no way in hell that we were going to let these gems go. (We do use paper files, unfortunately)."

"They wanted to give us two smaller ones but seriously, our office is very small. I made some phone calls and they were picked up immediately by other office workers/friends." - GlitzBlitz

This Sucks - In A Good Way!

mrs doubtfire vacuum GIF Giphy

"In the 1990s my moms work had a really nice high end Hoover that stopped working. They threw it out."

"My mom took it home because my dad tinkers and repairs things easily. Turns out since it was a bagged vacuum all the dummies had to do is REPLACE THE BAG."

"Like it never occurred to them to do the most easy and basic step. My parents were excited to have a really upgraded vacuum. Maybe like $500ish." - schweddyboobs

Tiffany's Trash

Audrey Hepburn Movie GIF by The Good Films Giphy

"My dad found an old stained glass window laying out by someone's trash. He thought it would look cool hanging in our cabin, so he stopped and grabbed it."

"It sat in our garage for a few years before he looked at it more closely and found "Tiffany and Co." branding on it. He got in touch with some stained glass window dude who figured it was worth about $40k fully restored, so my dad sold it to him for somewhere around $30k." - throwaway_stopdrink

Have you had any awesomely trashtastic treasures? Let us know!