WARNING: the following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm
You think you know someone.
Then they go off and die, leaving behind a web of lies, conspiracies, stories of innappropriate conduct, and a whole lot of debt to be settled.
Sometimes. If you're lucky..
Other times, like the stories below, can be much, much worse.
"(serious) What disturbing thing did you find out about someone after they died?"
You don't know everyone's stories, their struggles, their hardships, or the obstacles they were forced to overcome.
Because of this, you might not understand the difficulties behind the decisions someone made before they passed.
Maybe they needed to pass fraudulent checks?
Need To Pay The Bills Somehow
"My great grandma and her brothers were notorious in Watertown Massachusetts for their check fraud and forgery schemes."
"Oh the things you find out about the woman who would make you hot cocoa"
Gonna Make Them An Offer They Can't Refuse
"Grandfather died when I was around 10. I distinctly remember being at his funeral and seeing a group of men there that weren’t associated with the rest of my family. I think I remembered this because I watched them pull up in beautiful cars and thought they must be rich and 'cool'."
"Probably around his age at the time too. I wasn’t told until I was older but my grandpa had been involved in some organized crime for most his life and most of the time he was “traveling in Europe” he was actually in prison. Those men were his “partners” and my family hated them."
Family Can Be Anyone You Choose
"I had a neighbour several years ago. Divorced, old guy. Was really nice to people. He always bought candy for all the kids in the neighbourhood (not a paedo). He died 10 years ago. His son told us that the reason he was nice to us kids was because he lost 3 of his 5 children while they were below 10. Not disturbing, just very sad."
"Edit: Wow, I didn't expect this to get so much attention. Mr. Volkov was a really nice guy who suffered a lot in his life time. His son told us so many stories about him. Got married at 21 (right after military service - mandatory at the time), lost his wife when he was 40 to stomach cancer, lost 2 of his kids to an accident, another kid to a drunk driver."
"He had to be strong for the remaining two kids even though his son told us how many times they heard their dad crying in his bedroom. To him, we were the kids and grandkids he should've had, despite him having 4 grandkids. R.I.P to the nicest guy in the world - Mr. Volkov!"
Then again, maybe they weren't forced to do something bad, or mischievous, or heartfelt.
Maybe they were just bad people.
You Don't See It Until You Get Some Space
"Not too disturbing per say, but definitely a let down and it changed my view about them. I loved and respected my grandma all my life so when she got sick and passed away, I was really heartbroken."
"A few years later, I found out me and my sister were her least favorite grandkids because my dad was poor. It made sense to me suddenly. All my cousins would get gold bracelets or nice stuff for special occasions while I’d get a $20."
"Whenever my cousins were visiting, grandma would cook all their favorite food while me and my sis had to stay away from the dining table til they’re done. Basically we just eat scraps."
"I just didn’t realize all this until my mom pointed it out to me. I guess since I’ve been treated that way since young, I never think of her any differently."
What's Better Than One Family?
"I’m European and uncles lived in USA. I did ancestry dna. A few months later a girl from Vietnam contacts me claiming to be a cousin. Typically anyone who contacted me was a 4th or 5 th cousin which basically means nothing."
"This one is a FIRST cousin. Turns out my uncle who was married in USA and had kids, was in Vietnam War had a whole other family. And the 3 Vietnamese kids are named after his American kids. SURPRISE!"
"Holy crap! How did that unfold in your family, if you don't mind my asking?"
"I sent pictures, that my new cousin had, to his brother (my other uncle that was also in Vietnam at same time). Pictures of my now deceased uncle with his Vietnamese ‘wife’ and info he’d written on back of pic which included his name, the name and address of the NGO he worked for."
"Absolutely nobody in our fam was aware of any of this. I’ve told my siblings that they have 3 Vietnamese cousins, but have no contact info to advise my cousins of their namesakes from the other side of the world."
After reading through some of these last ones, perhaps it's best to let sleeping secrets continue to rest.
Can't Help If You Don't Know
"That my ex wife physically and emotionally abused my daughter when I wasn't around (we had a 70/30 custody arrangement essentially, I had weekends and 2 evenings a week.) Didn't find out until months after she died and kiddo had finally had enough therapy to come clean. I had no idea."
You Think You Know Someone
"My friend was a really bubbly friendly guy and somehow he ended up beaten to death by 3 or 4 other men on the street. They were probably all drunk. No one was ever arrested. After he died, his sister cleaned out his apartment and found a USB with gigabytes of ch!ld porn on it."
It Was An Accident
"That my Grandmother accidentally killed her younger sister. They were walking back from school and my GM shoved her sister and she fell under a car which ran over her."
Past Behavior Doesn't Dictate Current Actions
"A girl I went to HS with died in a horrible car accident."
"It was early morning on a summer break Saturday. No alcohol or drugs involved. We all assumed she fell sleep."
"I found out later that year that she had an anonymous blog where she posted, several times trough the years, that she wanted to commit suicide crashing her car."
"According to her parents, friends and teachers, she never show any suicidal tendencies. It always baffled me how you can have all this mind process and nobody could guess it."
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/
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Therapy is a must for everyone in life. We need to make it accessible worldwide.
Why is mental health not considered not as important as physical health?
Maybe if everyone could afford to be in weekly care, we'd have a person looking over us who can call out the signs when we're falling apart.
And then maybe we'd all be a little happier and a little safer.
Redditor Downtown_Put8673 wanted the mental health workers out there to please share with us signs to be looking for, they asked:
"Psychiatrists, what made you realize that the person was not doing well?"
The following contains material that can be triggering and not suitable for minors.
'flight to health'
"I can teach you guys about the 'flight to health' that happens after someone survives a suicide attempt. You’ll talk to them, and they have all these genuine plans to make their life better. They’re enthusiastic and ready to get out of the hospital to start their new life."
"They’re going to quit their horrible job, love their family more, etc etc. I am always incredibly worried for these patients because soon the depression slowly brings them down again. It’s hard because convincing these people that they still need a lot of help is difficult because they’re completely genuine." ~ UptownShenanigans
Let's Talk Sleep
"Serious answer: I've worked both inpatient and outpatient. It truly is rewarding to see your care plan help someone. First time I meet them, I go through a whole history, physical, and review of systems and symptoms (psych symptoms). I get people that genuinely start crying . Usually sleep pattern disturbance is a big indicator."
"Adhedonia is the hallmark sign of depression. It is a loss in pleasure in things that you use to enjoy. Like gardening or video games. There are suicide warning signs, such as giving personal belongings away. There are so many signs for different illnesses."
"Such as bipolar, I'll get a man who is spending his rent check or having risky and unsafe sex. It truly is interesting and rewarding. Very subjective." ~ TonyNevada1
I should’ve charged him...
"I knew my psychiatrist wasn’t doing well when he spent the whole 15 minutes pacing the room, complaining how his ideas were not taken seriously by the other doctors at the hospital unit he headed. It was pretty surreal and hilarious - I just let him vent because he seem to need it. I should’ve charged him." ~ peuxcequeveuxpax
"When I told my therapist the events that led to my marriage, she kinda muttered under her breath 'dude…' So I stopped telling the story to acknowledge her reaction and she apologized. At which point I joked with her, 'aren’t you ethically required to not do that?' Funny thing was that was what made me realize I needed to change my approach, more than anything we discussed. Nice lady, she helped out a bunch." ~ Arsene3000
"Not a psychiatrist but my close friend is an LCSW. She always tells me that 'marked improvement in a short time without any root cause' is a huge red flag. For example, if a clinically depressed patient suddenly starts seeming incredibly happy for no reason, it's a sign that something is wrong." ~ MadameBurner
We're all falling apart. Don't think you're alone.
"Psych nurse here. I had a friend who was never happy, she was in ok moods, could laugh and all that, but she rarely voiced positive emotions. Had a history of past suicide attempts, so she was a friend we always checked on and kept her close with us The week before her suicide, she became extremely happy and giddy, she behaved like she had never done before, before her life got ruined thanks to some events i won't discuss."
"I saw this and voiced my concerns, I knew it was a sign that a suicide attempt was coming. This behaviour is typical on patients who are planning to end it (in most cases). This time we dint get to her in time. We miss her dearly. I married someone with BPD and I know the signs when she isn't well, but thankfully i can act before stuff happens and she has not attempted on her life or harmed herself in 2 years." ~ thatdudefromPR
I'm not haunted...
"After seeing my psych for almost a year, finding out that no, I'm not haunted, it's just the PTSD and anxiety, and a bunch of other revelations, I had an appointment where I told her that for the last month I'd been happier than ever. I was walking on sunshine and for the first time in 15 years I'd gone a week without any suicidal thoughts, food issues, self harm urges, or anxiety attacks."
"At this, she urged me to immediately set up talk therapy and schedule all my appointments ahead while I had energy. She saw that uptick as the red flag it was, but I didn't listen to her. Now 8 months later I've called her one time, barely shower or eat, and I'm back at my worst mentally. (It's fine though I'm used to it)." ~ ImprovSalesmansWitch
Things to Notice
"I'm a psychotherapist not a psychiatrist. I notice a client getting worse if their sleep or eating habits change, anhedonia, trouble with concentration/focus when there wasn't an issue before, or they start to socially withdraw. Huge red flags if they start to give away personal items and all of a sudden feel 'happy.' It takes a while to get severely depressed, etc and it'll take a while to feel better. These huge red flags indicate suicidal thoughts and possible planning." ~ psychness
Not Doing Well...
"As a mainly inpatient psychiatrist, I already know before I see them that they aren’t doing well just by nature of them being admitted. When I see folks in the ER and am determining if they need admission in the first place, it depends. Not doing well because they are manic looks much different than not doing well because they are depressed vs not doing well because they’re psychotic, etc." ~ housetowilson
"Not a psychiatrist but a therapist. When a person has a hard time understanding that their self-destructive behaviors are effecting themselves and their loved ones. To me, that’s an indication that something else is/was going on. Trauma, addiction, etc." ~ abin-sur
Mental health workers are also miracle workers. We should pay them more. Speak up. Get help.
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/
Want to "know" more?
Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.
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