People with Dissociative Identity Disorder Reveal Who Their Alters Are And How They Affect Daily Life
Media tends to portray Dissociative Identity Disorder - what many people know as "multiple personality disorder" a certain way. If you've ever seen Sally Field's performance in the movie Sybil, you know what I mean. As far as movies and television are concerned, it's several different personalities who don't know one another all sharing a body. They fight for control, ruin things for one another, and have little to no awareness of what the other is doing.
But what does having DID look like for real sufferers on a day to day basis?
One Reddit user asked:
People with Dissociative Identity Disorder, who are your alters and how do they affect your everyday life?
As happens so often with the media - reality usually isn't that close to what we see on our screens. Quite a few brave people responded, and their answers are really enlightening.
Not Like TV
I was diagnosed with DID a few years ago. I live in England.
For many, including myself, there are no alters, its not like on TV. All the "me's" are me.
Imagine there is a me who hates bananas and a me who loves them. When my mind responds to stress, it might be banana lover me who is in control. 'Control' means heavy influence, not complete, cast iron domination. But the banana hating me is fucking miserable with the banana spree, so she screams in my ear so loudly, so incessantly, that I both love bananas, hate bananas and am just so fucking confused.
I do have episode of lost memory, and complete dissociation, but those episodes are rare. Perhaps two in a bad year. I might come to myself and realise I have bought £800 worth of bananas. I might find a bunch I don't recall buying.
I have spent a loooot of time in the nuthouse. A lot. I have never met a fellow DID with alters. I have met many people with severe BPD who dozens of them.
I am NOT gatekeeping DID. I live in England, and am diagnosed privately & under the NHS. I don't know the US criteria, nor the prevailing attitudes the psychs there have I strive to support every brother & sister of mine fighting their own mind. But, whereas I will tell anyone I meet about the rest of my mental health landscape, I tend to keep the DID diagnosis to myself because it is so deeply misunderstood. I have met others with this diagnosis who have the same problem.
If you have ever seen Deep Space 9, Jadzia Dax has very, very similar experienced to DID, but handles it beautifully. The episodes where she is replaced by Ezri show the bad side of it.
I am happy to answer questions, with love, but, DID is a bit different in life than it is on Tumblr.
The Hulk Needs Black Widow
I suffer from BPD. Borderline personality disorder. But, the idea of me having DID has been tossed around.
Mostly, I do things and then later can't believe I have done them. I will have faint memories but they feel more like dreams. I will say things to others and barely remember even talking with them at all. It is like someone else had control of me during that episode. I don't hear voices (at least I don't think I do. I have intuition, of course but, I don't have more than that one voice helping me make decisions each day)
With my meds, I am pretty good. Keeps episodes down to a very minimum (once a year or less). But, I have to rotate between a few different concoctions due to tolerances.
Prior to my wife convincing me to get help, I would have moments of full black out anger. Thankfully, I only ever directed this at myself and inanimate objects. (I would hit myself and break things). And, strangely, my wife could eventually pull me out of it and I would come back not really realizing what I had done or said. (She actually can't watch the scene where Black Widow calms down the Hulk. She said it just brings up too many traumatic memories)
I also have a mountain of other diagnosed issues. MDD. Bi-Polar. ADHD. I stutter badly.... Pretty much, my brain chemistry is fucked.
When I am the regular me, I am nice and kind and fun to be around. But, when the demon comes, it isn't good. I thank my wife daily for dealing with me for so long. She just says I am lucky I am cute otherwise she would have kicked me to the curb. She's a strong woman and a wonderful mother. She took care of 2 kids and me.
Mental Illness is no joke. I sure wish it would stop getting treated like it is.
My friend's dad has DID due to a history of child abuse, which was then heavily triggered, because he worked in journalism, often on child abuse stories, which just wore him down after a while. The person at the top of the thread that said, it's all "me" and not like characters on a TV show is totally right. I love United States of Tara but it is nothing like that.
He is probably in his early 60's, and I have only seen one alter personally. I didn't even realize it was an alter. Apparently, when he gets stressed, he gets a little like a teenage boy super obsessed with comics, Star Wars, all that stuff. I found this out because we have a very long and in-depth conversation on Godzilla. I guess that is just a happy place for him, so that's what happened.
Secondhand, I have heard from my friend that he does have an alter that basically does not want to be a husband or father. He joins dating sites, has lashed out violently at his adult children, and has no recollection of any of this. He genuinely is the sweetest person, so it was shocking for me to hear this, because my friend's family is super close. It has just been something they learn to deal with, and from my understanding, this angry personality is not a common thing. He is much more likely to slip into teenage boy obsessing over nerd culture state.
My alters are me. They don't have names and they don't "come out" very often. For example, only one has been "out" so far in 2018.
Between mid-February and late May I lost a lot of time. I can't remember attending my sisters birthday, even though there are photos of me with her from that night. I can't remember spending almost £400 on camping equipment on ebay (I don't even like camping), and I can't remember sending an e-mail to my University department head telling him I was dropping out. I'm a heavy smoker, but I would randomly find my cigarettes in the bin. I'm a nail biter, but I would suddenly realize that my nails were clipped and filed down. It's just silly things like that. I hear them in my head, and I talk to them more often than they "come out". Mostly, they comfort me when I'm in a bad place, but sometimes they're very harsh with me. Cruel, occasionally. (edit: I'm aware I'm talking to myself when this happens, but lots of mes in different moods)
I don't have a lot of friends and I'm not close to my parents, but my sister, brother-in-law and best friend of 20 years have met at least one of my alters. The general impression I got from them was that the change isn't dramatic like you see on TV. For example, whichever alter my friend met maintains eye contact when speaking, which I can't do. They also don't swear, whereas I have a really bad habit of swearing in every second sentence. The most intimidating thing my friend told me was that the alter "looked different" somehow, like they wore facial expressions that she had never seen me display in the 20 years we've known one another. But no, they didn't rush off to change clothes, they didn't talk in a different accent and they didn't do anything bad.
I resent saying this, but my experience of DID is very "boring" compared to most fictional portrayals. And I resent saying that because on bad days, I'm so miserable that I want to kill myself. Losing time, even if it doesn't happen often, terrifies me and I spend a lot of time just waiting for it to happen again. Sometimes I just feel so empty inside that I just spend weeks lying in bed, thinking and feeling nothing. Sometimes I have no idea who I am, and I don't actually think I'm real. But other times I'm alright, and I just get on with things. Therapy has really helped me.
Organization Is Key
Hi. I'm in the US, diagnosed and in treatment. Almost 40, female.
All of the dissociative parts of my personality are aware that we are one person. We perceive reality very differently, and feel differently about it, but accept that we're parts of the whole. We know our legal name, the body age, etc. We feel detached from it in a variety of different ways, but we know it's reality.
My everyday life consists of each of my parts trying to do the best they can, just like anybody else. We get up, we keep our body clean and healthy, we socialize and work, we have passions and interests, etc. We have to spend a lot of time working on inner alignment and resolving inner conflict and we spend a lot of time in therapy, reading, writing, self-analyzing, and other types of "doing the work".
The biggest challenges we face are related to our trauma, and the other disorders it spawned. General anxiety and panic attacks, intense phobias, nightmares, flashbacks, etc. Relationships are really tough too.
I've also organized the sh*t out of our life. I'm a professional project manager and use the things I've learned on myself, regularly, to try and help us function as a team. Like I keep a lot of lists so that whoever comes out has a battle plan and knows what's been done already.
Don't Need Them Anymore
I have 8 alters and then myself. Most of them are quiet and not around much (a couple not at all). The most prevalent are a 4 yo girl, a woman in her early 20's and myself. It is very rare that I lose any time and I am most likely what would be called a gate keeper or main "personality." I believe that the 4 yo is the original though.
My issues stem from childhood loss, one alter is a result of molestation and the teen alter is around because the 8 yo alter that was molested hid away. The young woman is the nurturer and caregiver of the home and children (she was a single mother of my oldest daughter). She married a man who was violent and tried to destroy who she was as a person mentally and nearly killed her so I took over. I carry all the memories of the violence in the marriage. Then there is another alter who is the protector but she isn't around anymore because we don't need her. There are others but their parts to play are minimal and rare.
I am in a position in my life right now where I don't need them anymore. Some I am unsure if they even exist anymore or if they are just quiet. I don't know where they are to be honest. The 4 yo comes and goes and shes a delight. I would love to merge the young woman and myself because I think our qualities compliment one another and would make me a more well rounded woman.
Not Even The Problem
I have DID and there are a whole bunch of us, but probably about four, including me, who handle most situations on the "outside." The rest either mainly handle situations on the inside, they have more specialized skills, or they would just really rather stay inside. Honestly I couldn't get through life without their help. We survived our childhood as a team and, while some people get us into some weird situations, we're all just trying to heal. I know I couldn't have survived what we went through alone.
I know for me, the other alters aren't really my "problem." My poor mental health is because of the flashbacks and other symptoms of trauma, and the other alters and I have to handle these effects together. If I had a magic wand, I personally wouldn't want to heal the DID, despite the grief certain alters have given me, but I'd definitely want to heal our PTSD and other mental health issues.
I'm not going to use our real names on here on the incredibly off chance that someone recognizes us, but here's a rundown of the main four fronters:
Alter #1 (me): Host. I do school, work, and family stuff. I don't really know how to describe myself but I usually do well in school, though I've been struggling lately. I'm pretty patient and I'm a good listener, which helps with friendships. I'm nerdy so I like to stay in and do stuff in small groups or with one other person.
Alter #2: Protector. She's very stoic, reserved, and formal. She is a lot faster, stronger, and wittier than I am. She comes out when we feel physically and sometimes emotionally threatened. She handled a lot of physical abuse and mental games. She enjoys hiking, sports, and leather jackets and is actually a lot like Rosa from Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Alter #3: Internal Self-Helper. She's very submissive and shy, but she's coming out of her shell. She soothes alters on the inside if they're upset and she helps us regulate flashbacks or other intense emotion. She handled a lot of the emotional manipulation (ex. women's roles, "I love you... just kidding," "God wants you to do X," etc.) and sexual abuse from our primary abuser. She likes knitting, cooking, cat videos, that kind of thing but she absolutely HATES germs.
Alter #4: Protector. She's very outspoken and flirty. She used to drink, party, get us into trouble, etc. but she's incredibly helpful and friendly now, and will sometimes take over for me if I need a break with school. We were forced to provide "adult entertainment" in our childhood as part of our cycle of abuse. She's the one who experienced most of that. She's interested in fashion, being outdoors, and board games with friends.
I Was Never One Person
So when most people think of DID, they think that there is one original identity that splits into parts due to trauma, but that's not actually how it works.
DID is caused by trauma during very early childhood, during the time when children are actually going through a stage of development when something called "identity integration" is naturally happening. During this stage of development, children naturally develop one cohesive sense of self, where they can naturally shift from one identity state to another seamlessly, and with a flowing, natural autobiographical memory. For example, they might behave differently at school than they do at home, or with their friends, or with their grandmother, but they are still the same child in all those situations, and they maintain their sense of self and their memories during all those situations.
A child exposed to severe trauma and repeated dissociation does not experience identity integration. Their identity forms in pieces. I was never one person. I have always been many pieces.
Drape A Film
I'm one of those alters, made an account just for this. From the outside we don't seem too different from anyone else. (Maybe a little eccentric, but that's not really related to DID.) Basically we all work together to take care of the body and support the host. They also take care of us to a certain degree.
We were formed because of trauma.
When there's situations that the host can't handle, one of us steps in. Sometimes we use the body completely but more often we sort of drape a 'film' over the every day world, if that makes sense. Everything is experienced at a slight difference. It's like wearing tinted glasses, the world is still the world but it's coloured differently.
Anyway I'm the only one who's 'fronted' as myself. I used to have my own friends separate from the host's but we drifted away which kind of sucks. NGL it can get a little lonely, but it is what it is. Sometimes the host and I integrate to a certain extent. It's disorienting to both of us. Not necessarily a bad thing though. I feel like we're more balanced when we're together but it's also weird because then its more his life than mine, you know? If we could be reincarnated I'd want to be my own person. I think I'd form a rock band.
The host tends to be a little ... lets people get away with a lot of stuff I guess. Lets people be mean or abusive towards him. I don't. If I can get control I'm more likely to tell people to fuck off or just walk away from the situation. I can also handle anger a lot better than him -- when he gets upset he self-injures, when I get upset I just sit with it and wait for it to go away.
We have different preferences for music and different writing style. I feel like I'm a little more motivated too. I'm more willing to sit and work away at something but the host's like, something has to happen right away!
Other than me, there's:
Isiah -- chill guy, likes people and customer service so yeah he comes out sometimes when we have to get through long work days. Likes ice cream so sometimes after a bad day we walk to get some
Ichi -- Isiah's friend, kinda gloomy but a good guy.
?? -- someone else, doesn't come out much but it's cool when she does. I think she's younger than the rest of us, doesn't talk much. When she's out we sometimes look like a typical "crazy" person, like walking in circles and humming to ourselves and someone's gotta watch the body to make sure we don't wander off the subway tracks or something.
Recently, we've all been a little more integrated with one another. Not sure why. We tend to split more when there's more stress.
Part Of A System
Well we are a system for someone who has DID. The central person is purely internal, they never face outwardly. Facing is up to the rest of us. There are 4 main people, 2 secondary (think highly specialized) and then the "core" which is actually 2 people. So 8 on total.
Right now we're working on integration. The workhorse of our group is finally feeling emotion and it's been really overwhelming and painful. Imagine having absolutely no emotional experiences for 30 years and then one day you feel a twinge of frustrating and the next day you're so full of rage you want to break anything you can get your hands on.... It's been hard, but we have good support. We support each other, and we have really amazing people in of life, and an especially good therapist.
I don't think most people would ever be able to tell we're a system identity. The whole point of DID is protecting and surviving, and being at all off inhibits that. So we have struggles, but most people are none the wiser that they are talking to a completely different identity; they just chalk it up to me being a little forgetful now and then.
Being woken up suddenly is not very good for our health.
Especially for the elderly, it's not something to make a habit of. Sleep interruption can increase blood pressure, cause a worsened self image, and cause a day filled with irritation and confusion.
No one wants to be woken up, but there are definitely some reasons for being woken up that are worse than your alarm clock.
We went to Ask Reddit to find out some of the worst reasons people have been woken up.
Redditor Toothpiicxxk asked:
"What's the worst reason you woke up?"
These truly are the worst.
We love our pets, but sometimes not so much.
"My cat was throwing up right next to me."
"She brought you breakfast how cute."
"I was just about to answer that my cat threw up right on me, specifically my hair, which I had just washed..."
Some horrible news hits you.
"Being woken up to be told someone you know died certainly qualifies."
"Or when you already know, but you wake up in that ignorant bliss that lasts for about a second and then it hits you. And this goes on for a long time."
"It's been about 15 years and I still will wake up on occasion thinking I have to tell my older brother something cool that I know he'd love to hear about. Or have a vivid a** dream about how it was all an mistake and he's still here. Happens less often then it used to but oof does it ever still hurt."
"Woke up at about 3am to a cop repeatedly ringing my bell. my mom had accidentally drowned in the tub. she was really weak from chemo."
"Woke up to a phone call telling me my incredible brother-in-law had been hit and killed by a drunk & high driver, his wife was also expected to pass as her neck had been broken, and their kids were both in surgery. My husband and I were in the will to get the kids, so we needed to fly to Chicago right away. As I sat there in shock, I hung up the phone, turned to see my sleeping husband snoring away, and knowing I would now have to wake him up to tell him the worst news he would ever hear."
2018 false missile alert.
"I live in Hawaii, that time we got the missile scare."
"Oof at least it wasn't real but I would have definitely panicked if that was me."
"Damn, I slept straight through it. My mom literally woke me up, told me; and I still went back to sleep."
"What were you supposed to do? Go outside and witness your annihilation?"
"I think it's the right thing to do to inform people even if there isn't necessarily anything that can be done about it."
"Some people would appreciate being able to conduct prayers, get one last hug with their loved ones, etc."
"Cockroach walking on my lips with no shame. I brutally murdered it as soon as I yeeted it halfway across the room."
"I had a weird dream about a cockroach somehow paralyzing a friend then walking towards me in that same room. Then I awoke to find this a**hole cockroach slowly creeping on my lips."
"When I threw it away, what startled me was it did not panic AT ALL. It even slowly headed towards me!"
"I also mouth washed and brushed my teeth and even disinfected my lips with alcohol. It was a surreal experience."
"I seriously loathe roaches and there's no other way to ensure its death than a brutal one."
Screams in the night.
"One time I got woken up by a blood curdling scream in the middle of the night. I live alone and it also woke up my dog who was freaked out the rest of the night. Searched everywhere including outside and didn't find anything."
"Well that was lucky. Imagine what would have happened if you had found it..."
"Hopefully a fox, coyote, cat, or cougar."
"Being clearly asleep, and then someone wakes you to ask, 'Are you asleep?'"
"Bruh my mom be like [this]."
"The only correct answer to this question is 'yes.'"
"I woke up to my mom calling me sobbing because she thought I had died, I was 10 hours away and my blood sugar was severely low and wasn't answering any calls, that was horrifying."
"We've learned what does and doesn't work for waking me up in a medical emergency."
"Blood sugar can be a b*tch, found my mum having a really bad hypo while sleeping when I was a toddler and for years and years after would wake her up to check she was okay without realizing I was doing it for that reason. Glad you're okay!"
Something so relatable.
"My alarm rung. It's a daily struggle."
We've all been there.
If you're not a morning person, waking up in the morning can already be a challenge, but no one wants to get woken up to horrible news or an emergency.
In fact, we should be waking up naturally with our own personal sleeping patterns.
We all know that's easier said than done.
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People have a habit of excusing crap behavior - honestly because it's often easier in the short term. Long term = flaming dumpster fire.
The excuses people use to dismiss behavior range from mundane and meaningless to the sort of leaps normally reserved for kangaroos and Olympians. It's sometimes amazing that these excuses work - but they do.
Some of them work so well that they're just sort of "accepted." That, obviously, kind of sucks and is something we should avoid - so let's talk about 'em.
Can't swerve around what you don't see, ya know?
Reddit user TMTtasmachine asked:
... and away we go.
" 'That's just how they are.' "
"One of the biggest enablers for tantrum throwing, bullying, etc. is that they get treated with kid gloves to avoid dealing with them." - alexrt87
"Oh my God you hit the nail on the head. Whenever someone says 'that's just the way they are' I say:"
" 'Yes, that's the point! Glad you noticed too! Now is it okey-doke for them to be jerks they have special jerk privileges? Or maybe they are just people and should treat everyone else as such?' " - notatrumpchump
"It depends on how it's said."
"People are the way that they are, and you shouldn't be surprised when they continue to be that way."
"This, obviously, doesn't excuse it - but people also shouldn't be surprised when a bad person continues to make bad decisions. Neither should we waste space in our minds being bothered by it." - unlawfulfoxy
Harassment Isn't Humorseason 2 lol GIF by ShamelessGiphy
" 'It's just a joke, bro.' Harassing people isn't humor." - loading__99
"A guy who says/does offensive things and decides whether he was joking based on the reaction of people around him." - Eatsleeptren
"Dude, legit had someone come up to me and start shouting in my face, calling me Madison, pretending I was cheating on him. Literally the most crowded location outside a theater, everyone staring at us, looking at me like I was some horrible cheater while I was out with my then fiancé."
"I started hyperventilating, my fiancé nearly decked the dude, and then someone shouts 'CUT' like this is some big 'YOU'RE ON CANDID CAMERA' moment and everything's supposed to be okay."
"I burst into tears."
"It was the most humiliating moment of my life, and thank god my then fiancé, now husband is not the type to overreact or jump to conclusions, or be abusive. Imagine how bad that could have been for someone with an angry or abusive partner."
"Prank videos are a plague on the internet and there is a REASON so many of them are fake, or involve actors." - Darkovika
Stay Sober, Then!Drunk Drinking Beer GIFGiphy
" 'I was drunk / high / etc.' "
"Then don't drink?! Stay sober if you can't NOT be an a**hole!" - BasedBenjamin
"Alternately, I hear a lot of 'I'm a happy drunk!' "
"Yeah, according to your drunk a$s. That doesn't mean you're not an ahole. Not remembering is not an excuse either." - PepeBabinski
"I was also loud, obnoxious, and I wouldn't remember sh*t the next day."
"Quitting drinking has been one of my best choices of my life." - TTungsteNN
"Help"new girl coach GIFGiphy
" 'I'm just trying to help you' " - Miserable-Air1234
"Every time I've heard this, they're manipulating me while helping only themselves." - mykittenfarts
"My Mom to a T. Everything she does is better than anyone else's and she always gets pissed that people don't praise her for 'helping.' "
"She's now a certified (by herself) psychic and I have come to the conclusion that she's not a covert narcissist but an obvious one. I really wish I was joking." - Silent_Discussion657
Parenting ProblemsLeave Me Alone Run GIF by TLC EuropeGiphy
"Any variation of 'I'm a Mother/parent.' "
"Had some lady cut me in line at a coffee shop and she hit me with 'I'm a single Mom of 3!' as her excuse."
"Ok? And? I was still here first." - maid-for-hire
"I'm a single mom and I f*cking haaaate when other single moms/parents pull that sh*t to get special treatment."
"Last week, I was having a rough morning, my kid was being difficult, and I was running late. I was rude to a cashier over a minor inconvenience."
"Not only did I apologize for my shitty behavior, I wrote corporate to let them know how professional and patient she was while I acted like a f*cking toddler."
"Was being a parent part of the reason I was frustrated? Absolutely. Was it an excuse for that behavior? HELL no."
"I acted like a b*tch, and I called myself out, and I apologized. I still feel bad about that - I rarely let things get to me to the point I snap at others." - ClusterfckyShtshow
"Wow. I'm a Mom as well and tired but it doesn't give anyone a right to use it as some sort of ploy to get away with stuff."
"Like, mice become Moms about 12 times a year. You're not special 🤣" - SpoonLoops
Believing Your BossThe Office Monday GIF by 20th Century Fox Home EntertainmentGiphy
"I had a boss say some really racist sh*t around me one day and the next day, out of nowhere, he says:"
" 'Don't believe half the things that come out of my mouth!' "
"It was not really an excuse, more like trying to cover for himself after the fact, but still stuck with me." - sirlongbottom441
"Report them to HR. Seriously." - kokichi--ouma
"Looking past the racist stuff for a bit, that's not a very encouraging thing to hear from a boss…" - WonderfulBlackberry9
Bad Day AgainBad Day Reaction GIF by Schitt's CreekGiphy
" 'I'm having a bad day/week' "
"Okay, so you decide everybody that you interact with deserves the same fate? Get out of here, dude." - myordinaryexistence
"We all got stress, don't take it out on me. I get some people have stress bad enough for it to be passable every once and a while (family member passing, etc) but general, stress should not lead to you being a jerk to me." - willsimpforfree
"Damn, I'm definitely guilty of this. Usually I remember to apologize after but at this point I've learned to just avoid the situation in the first place by minimizing my interaction with people if I'm in a shitty mood." - nozzzrul
"Reminds me of when that White boy went on a murder rampage and killed a bunch of Asian women & that a-hole sheriff gave a press conference telling the media that the 'poor boy had a bad day.' "
"My idea of a bad day involves going home after a rough day at work and just staying in the house."
"Apparently, I should change my ethnicity from Asian to White and go on a murder rampage, see if my @ss gets a sympathetic sheriff to say on my behalf that I had 'a bad day.' " - kingkazul400
It's Not An ExcuseSeason 2 Reaction GIF by FriendsGiphy
"This won't go down well, but using depression as an excuse. As someone who suffers from it, it's still not ok to treat others like sh*t" - Rainbowwallstickers
"Could not agree enough. My partner has a 'friend' who treats everyone like sh*t all the time, has no consideration for others and openly mocks people in public."
"She gets so much grace from those around her under the guise of her 'mental health.' It's so infuriating watching an adult woman never have to take responsibility for her actions." - 34boor
"I get there are some things you can't control, but you are still responsible for keeping that sh*t in check and if you're aware of your mental illness, you should be aware of how you approach people and situations."
"I'll admit I used to be guilty of using my mental illness to be an @ss, but now I'm trying to better myself" - VeeSquibbles
Florida Gonna FloridaLooney Tunes Florida GIFGiphy
"People are letting Florida off the hook way too damn much. And I live in Florida."
"Just because it's hilarious doesn't mean it isn't still completely f*cked up." - AlphaWhiskeyOscar
"The phrase 'Florida Man' is almost always followed some heinous way a Floridian is being an a$$hole." - PepeBabinski
"I'm also originally from Florida, and that state has serious problems. We need to pay attention to it." - [Reddit]
Moment of honesty ... as a Floridian ... yeaaaah, I'm gonna have to agree with that last one.
We live in a time where we are critically re-examining how we pay workers. After a two-year-long pandemic where some low-income and "unskilled" jobs were deemed "essential," we now must put our money where our mouth is.
For too long in the world have incredibly important jobs been overlooked or else outright maligned. Teachers in the USA make some of the least money, career-wise, and have some of the hardest jobs. Dancers pay to put their bodies through hell with no guarantee of paid work after training.
So how do we fix this problem? By naming it, of course.
Redditor u/NightReader5 asked:
"What professions are severely underpaid?"
Here were some of those answers.
Our Elderly Deserve Better
"I worked as a CNA in a nursing home and I loved it. It's such hard work for such little pay and that's why I had to leave."
"Not only that but I was a rare person in that I LOVED caring for the residents. Nothing was beneath me such as changing a dirty diaper or spoon feeding."
"Everything helped their quality of life. Sucks they can't keep people that genuinely enjoy it cause I couldn't make over $10 an hour."-Dancer9d9
"Came here to say this: Emergency Medical Technicians. I will never not be just a bit salty about this."
"My husband is one of those people who does this job because it's his passion and he loves helping people."
"It would be nice if he earned more than the kid who just got hired at McDonald's this morning."-ThePotterheadHobbit
High School Bathrooms....
"The janitors at my high school. I walked in the men's bathroom there once and there was a mega-giant steaming pile of crap and diarrhea right in the middle of the floor."-satanic-sex-god
"Anyhow. Are you sure that was a high school? We're talking grades 9-12 here, right?"-VoicedVelarNasal
"Unfortunately yes. Other highlights of my oh so great high school men's bathroom that contains teenagers from 14 to as old as 20 are:"
"A dude bringing a sledgehammer to school and smashing a sink, the toilets being blown up, the toilets being frequently clogged with trash..."
"Smashed beer bottle glass covering the floor, and a centimeter of pee flooding the bathroom whenever you walk in. I hate it here."-satanic-sex-god
You know immediately YOU might not want to do this job--so why is someone else getting paid next to nothing to do it?
The More You Help Others The Less You Get Paid
"Statistically speaking, any job that provides significant social benefit to others, the less you will get paid, something that David Graeber discusses in essays and his work, Bullsh*t Jobs."
"This is so sad. I'm currently in a job that pays very well, I just dont find any meaning or fulfillment with it. I want so badly to do something where I'd be helping others- something with purpose- but I honestly dont think I can afford it."-mko0njo9
"Social workers. Dealing with negligent, abusive parents while trying to help the children while in an underfunded, low-paid system is a travesty."-ZRX1200R
"Can also confirm. I like working with my family's but I don't get paid enough to deal with their crap or most of the bureaucracy."-Altowhovian93
Minimum Wage To Go Against FIRE
"Entry level wildland firefighters. They start them at $15 an hour."-NuclearEyedSquirrel
"I live in a small town in Ohio and I think the lowest starting wage I've seen was 11."
"That's the low side and those places are having trouble hiring because there's so many places paying higher. McDonald's here starts at 13 or 14 an hour."-rjoh4459
One Kid, One Para
"Paraprofessionals. Yea, my town increased the pay rate for paraprofessionals to get more people to apply since they have a shortage but the pay increase was not that good IMO."
"For that job, I think you need to be compensated for the physical and mental demands of the job."
"It's a hard job and they should be paid for the work, the pay rate in my community for the job with 60 credits is $14.50 but I think it should be more than that."-YourQueen2Bee
The question then becomes, why won't the people who HAVE money do something to help the quality of these jobs, and make sure that these people get paid?
"Everything in veterinary medicine. Kennel technicians, Veterinary assistants, Veterinary technicians, Veterinary receptionists, and Veterinarians."-aIsiduous
"Veterinary interns/residents, too. I work 70-120hrs+ per week, am on call about half the days per month, have to pay for my own board exams and accreditation fees out of pocket, and all for ~$33,000 per year."-WyrdHarper
"It's bullsh*t. There's nothing on this planet I want to do more than be a veterinarian, but I simply cannot afford the debt. Hopefully one day we'll get the recognition deserved. Stick in there, I know you got this!"--aIsiduous
In The Classroom
"I work in a special school, I love it but I really don't think we get paid enough for all the times we get yelled at, punched, kicked, bit, spat on, cursed at, have our classrooms trashed, have things thrown at us..."
"And then we also have parents making demands and admin telling us their 'simple' solutions to all of it that we have to carry out while they have zero clue on what it's actually like to spend a day in the classroom."-Sajiri
A Morbid State Of Affairs
"Funeral directors/embalmers/funeral professionals. We didn't get days or holidays off to begin with. Now the pandemic has stretched us to working double overtime, which we are exempt from getting paid for under Florida statutes."
"And forget hazard pay for being exposed to COVID multiple times a day every day via the deceased, the deceased's family members, the general public attending funerals, and the hospital/nursing facilities we remove decedents from."-Lesscute
So why are we holding off on giving these people a raise? Their jobs involve dangerous, mentally and emotionally taxing situations, and yet, we treat them as if society could function without them. The truth is it couldn't.
And society had best learn that as soon as possible.
What causes a small town to die?
Honestly, there can be quite a few factors, but perhaps the biggest one is that small towns often lack the upward mobility opportunities that are more available in urban areas.
As a result, many towns around the United States for instance have lost tens of millions of people as their populations seek jobs and opportunities elsewhere.
And what remains of these places can be pretty sketchy.
People told us more after Redditor RadicalizedSnackWrap asked the online community,
"What's a super sketchy US city that we never hear about?"
"Daytona Beach, FL. Imagine a bunch of alcoholic high school kids who came for spring break in 1984, and never left, and never grew up."
Oh, I don't have to imagine it.
I've seen it!
I lived in a neighboring town for a while and bodies would always turn up in farmer's fields that the cartel in Yakima had dropped off there."
Sounds like Netflix needs to get its hands on Yakima, a new show to go against Ozark.
"I remember a story..."
"Guntersville, Alabama. If I were to ballpark it, over 80% of the population are meth addicts and traffickers.
I remember a story where a man walked into the Walmart, took all the supplies and equipment required to cook, and proceeded to cook meth in the bathroom."
"A run-down town..."
"Reading, PA. A run-down town that is mostly used as a central point to run drugs between New York and Philly."
I am writing this from right nearby actually, and I can smell it from here.
"Small town almost entirely..."
"Butte, Montana. Small town almost entirely comprised of violent meth heads."
"More of a town than a city..."
More of a town than a city, but it's such a weird place, bordering on Twilight Zone. You'll see a meth house right next to a youth theatre."
According to a friend I have who spent a lot of time in Arizona, this sounds about right.
"Used to have..."
"Gary, Indiana. Used to have a prosperous steel economy, but now it's just home to abandoned buildings, failing infrastructure, and lots and lots of crime. Just look up pictures."
"I always said..."
"Amityville. Yes, that Amityville.
I always said the "Amityville Horror" house is for amateurs. You want something scary, put on a nice watch or a gold chain and wander around downtown Amityville after dark."
I went there once.
I have not been back.
"It looks harmless..."
"Harrisburg PA. It looks harmless and maybe a little boring but holy hell that place is a giant puddle of corruption just waiting for someone to step in it. Not just state government, there's a bunch of layers you can use to crawl up the corruption ladder."
"Used to be..."
"Natchez, Mississippi. Use to be the headquarters for the KKK. Not much there besides crackheads, plantation homes, and European tourists. Don't own a nice place if you're black, you'll be stopped by the police and questioned."
It doesn't look any of these are changing anytime soon, and that's sad.
Have some small towns to tell us about? Feel free to tell us more in the comments below!