If you're anything like us, there's a good chance you've been to a theme park and found yourself lost in the wonder. At least we hope that's been your experience, but we've all seen the movies and heard the rumors about what goes on behind the scenes. Are there cool hidden gems? Is there a dark side to the magic? One reddit user got curious riding that train of thought and asked:
Theme Park employees, what are some cool secrets about your workplace?
1. Explosions At The Water Park:
I worked at a small amusement park in Maine for a summer. Basic stuff; teacups, log flume, pirate ship, antique cars, go carts, a wooden rollercoaster that was #10 in the world for a few years. Some of the jobs were horrid, others weren't so bad.
One of the worst jobs was called "Tower." If you saw your name listed next to "Tower," you knew that you were in for 8 hours sitting at the top of the log flume slide, watching people make fools of themselves. I really never minded it - they let me bring a notebook and a pen, so I would write basically all day (it was during my "productive" period).
I was assigned to tower at the beginning of a shift and was walking from the employee area to the log flume when I suddenly heard a loud BOOM. My radio lit up and everyone with one was told "Get to flume NOW!" We all went running.
Apparently, the pump for the flume had exploded, stranding people on the belt going up the slide, one cart was literally stuck at the end of the slide, and carts were backing up at the start of the belt and sinking, with people in them. It was awesome chaos. The pump was smoking, the tower swaying madly, people freaking out everywhere, children crying....
2. Cedar Point Secret Time!
Some Cedar Point "Secrets" - Some of these are from friends who have worked around the park.
You probably already knew this... but that $3.50 bottle of soda is $1.00 two steps behind an employee gate. Same goes for most of the food in the cafeteria.
On most of the larger attractions and rides, we have a system of signals and gestures to make fun of you behind your back. It keeps the long, repetitive and HOT day somewhat interesting.
Never, ever, EVER will we tell you what is wrong with a ride. Also, we'll never tell you when it's going to be up. The only differentiation we can make is if we're told its going to be a multiple hour fix. At that point.... "we anticipate a lengthy delay." Yup, we usually know what is wrong and how long it's going to take.
Employee Dorms could probably double for a gay male brothel.
Many times we're instructed to take cars off of a coaster simply because of attendance numbers. (They don't tell us that officially...) Simply no need to have 3/3 cars on the track when the park is at 50% capacity. Yep, that makes lines longer... sorry!
It's fun to watch you flash the ride cameras. We block the pictures on the monitors but can still see them behind the counter. We can also unblock them.
3. All This Disney Dirt:
I work a part time job at Disneyland as a "Gibson girl" ( person who works at the Gibson Girl ice cream shop, cokes corner, cone shop...basically any quick service place in Mainstreet) and have found out a lot of things.
The rumor about there being a basketball court inside Matterhorn Mountain is false but not entirely false. While there isn't a big basketball court, there is a basketball hoop that is downstairs that employees who performe/d maintenance on the ride sometimes use when on break.
Never get soda from the cone shop (don't ask...)
We have accidents of all sorts on a daily basis and the only time something will get on the news is when someone dies or is injured severely on a ride (on Monday, a lady had a heart attack riding its a small world..)
The rides employees hate working are Its a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Roger Rabbit. Why? Because they're rather creepy...and back in the 70's an employee died at the America Sings attraction and everyone nowadays says that it happened at "Its a Small World". She was crushed between two revolving doors that separated the backstage area from the front stage..(the doors were removed after the incident)
Someone was dragged under the tea cups once (they survived)
4. Big Head? Big Problem.
It's really hard to sign the autographs in some of the costumes.
In some of the characters you look through the mouth, but have to act like you're looking with the eyes of the character, which means most of their head is above your own. The heads can be really fricken heavy and stuffy. Lilo was the worst, plus the water parks are really humid. I almost passed out.
CPs at Disneyworld get free gatorade. It's the yellow kind...
Every Disney Prince I met was a gay man.
Getting free park entrace was the best part of working there. The pay was the worst.
If you see a character rub their eye, it means they need to go backstage because they're going to pass out, feel sick, or are having some sort of costume malfunction. I had to do this twice as Lilo because that costume was fricken terrible.
5. Wait, You Have To Push The Roller Coaster?
I used to work at a place called Camelot Theme Park, it's a modest place in the northwest of England. It was also my first job. I was rides operator, but worked in what they called "section 1" which was the part of the park with all the kids rides. Years before worked there, some employee was apparently killed after being hit by a rollercoaster during safety checks, but I'm not sure how much of that is myth.
Anyway, relating to the "how things work" bit in this question, there was a ride there that had been around since it opened in the mid-eighties known as the caterpillar/apple ride. The cart train was modeled on a giant caterpillar and it went through a big red apple halfway around the track. It was aimed at toddlers and small kids really, but by god it was the most primitive roller coaster I've ever seen. Apart from the chain that pulled it up to the top of the main dip, it ran completely on gravity, and to start the ride you released the breaks (which were clamps on the tracks, not the cart itself) and literally had to push it out of the station. If you didn't push it hard enough it would slow down and stop before the foot of the hill and you'd have to call maintenance to get the stranded people out. My first day operating the ride, the breaks were faulty. It was only meant to go round the track twice: I ended up making it go round 15 times.
Up next, apparently taller people are more intelligent?
6. Muggles, Magic and Maybe Criminal Charges?
Here are some "secrets" from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter:
The costumes worn by the Team Members were designed by Potter costume designer Jany Temime.
Some of the Hogwarts costumes worn by TMs working Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey were actually used in the films and worn by extras.
TMs working Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey are sorted into houses based on their height. Hufflepuff, Slytherin, Gryffindor then Ravenclaws are the tallest.
Universal Operations, Merchandise and Food Service TMs may usually wear their work wardrobe home. However, the Wizarding World wardrobe items are the only wardrobe items that these TMs may NOT take home. TMs caught doing so will be immediately terminated and may face criminal charges (for theft and IP theft) if they do so.
After The Three Broomsticks Restaurant was designed, the real film set was altered to more closely resemble the theme park restaurant.
The male dress robes seen in the Gladrags Wizarding Wear storefront are the same ones worn by Daniel Radcliff in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The female dress robes are an exact replica of the ones worn by Emma Watson in the same film.
The TMs who work in that area are encouraged to act "in character" -- but they may NOT say ANYTHING that would "add to the Harry Potter story". For example, they may not say they know Harry, Dumbledore, or any of the characters -- or say what those characters may or may not like or do. For example, if you see a little girl with a stuffed cat, you can say "I like your kitty! I have a kitty like that at home!" You may not say "Oh, I'll bet Hermione would like your kitty!"
7. Busch. Gardens. Is. Not. Disney.
Busch Gardens. No, we're not owned by Disney. No, your Disney passes will not work here. No, not Universal either. Do your tickets say Busch Gardens on them? No? Then please buy a ticket. No, you may not get in for free because you have Disney passes. Also, no. Go ahead and cry all you want, I'm the one sitting in the AC.
8. Cheeky Chipmunks
I didn't work at a theme park but my high school English teacher worked for Disneyland while he was in college and told us stories a lot. He said Chip and Dale were the most disgusting guys ever and would have contests to see who could grope the most MILFs in a day.
9. Oh, Eww.
I worked for a long time at Santa's Village in Sky Forest, California. It's closed now, but it was pretty famous to southern Californians at the time.
There was a dead rat in the nacho machine (under the metal slope that holds the chips) at the Pixie Pantry for at least a year. We had dead rats pretty much everywhere, just out of sight.
The deep fryer oil in the Pixie Pantry was never changed. The insects were just scooped out with a mesh spoon.
All the burgers were cooked in the morning, and kept in a bucket of water until someone ordered one.
Most of the order fresh food vendors were clean enough.
Santa Claus was a huge chain smoker. He smelt horrible.
The bee monorail was known to catch on fire... the bobsled coaster derailed at least once, sending the riders to the hospital. We had a similar accident with the horse-drawn carriage. I don't think any ride operators were actually trained for emergencies.
Kids puke. A lot. You probably already knew that.
10. That's Got To Be A Confidence Shaker.
The auditions for characters are TOUGH. To be a face character, they line you up and analyze your bone structure before they do anything else. If your figure, height and bone structure aren't right, you don't even get to go any further in the audition. It's fun though :3 Plus the underground passages in the main park (I'm sure you know what I'm talking about) are pretty awesome, but can be creepy. They aren't all bright and colorful, it's a tunnel system, not an attraction. My childhood nearly fell to pieces when I saw a bench with my favorite characters' heads all lined up in a row on it.
Click next to find out where the life guards suck at guarding lives.
11. We Can Save Your Money, But Probably Not Your Life
I worked last summer for Valleyfair, a park in Minnesota owned by the people who own Cedar Fair. These aren't as cool as the disneyworld ones, but I have a few:
Behind the Renegade coaster is an original Edsel Ranger sitting on a grassy hill. I don't know what it's for and no one there I asked seems to know either.
Buy a season pass. As of last year parking is included, and they cost $60 at the beginning of the season. Regular admission is $48 and parking is $10.
Our lifeguards are completely incompetent. They get audited randomly throughout the season, where the company stages an emergency and the guards have to save someone. Almost all of them fail and have to go through training again.
People lose a ton of money on rides. I worked in Park Services (park cleanup) and once found $28 in a day just in bills dropped from a roller coaster.
12. EMPLOYEES CAN BUY THE CARNIVAL PRIZES!?!
Spent a summer working games at Hersheypark. Not the most exciting things to be learned but here we go:
All of the popular games have cameras installed in them. That means Ring Toss. Ring Toss as 4 cameras. It's because if the attendant gets distracted and a ring lands on the outer two ring of bottles, you have to call it in. People notoriously have little kids lean over and just place it and try and guilt the attendant into giving away big ass bears
When you play Wacky/Winding Wires, by July, all of the new employees can beat that game, does not mean we will bend the rules if we hear that annoying buzzer, but it also doesn't mean we can't tell you which game station has a smaller ring or larger ring. It can make a large difference.
Every year, 1% of all profits from Hersheypark and Hershey's chocolate goes to the Milton Hershey School, which was originally a school for orphans, but will now also help kids whose parents can't afford to send them to school. This means the school will never go bankrupt. Ever. That school is worth over a billion dollars.
If you live somewhere CLOSE to Hersheypark, make friends with the employees, they get 2 free tickets per paycheck, 15% off everything in the park, and 25% off everything in Chocolate World. This means make friends with an employee, give them your money and make them buy your chocolate for you.
Employees can BUY the prizes in the game stalls (I know you're thinking 'Who'd buy a shitty ass dolphin that costs less then a nickle to makes?') but bitches LOVE giant ass teddy bears as big as them and they make great birthday gifts. Does not mean we can buy them for GUESTS. This can get us fired.
13. No Sexytime On The Skyride
Disability passes available at guest services are free, and allow you to wait the time of a line anywhere you please. Make sure you tell them you have some form of autism, and no broken bones. You can put up to 6 people on that pass with you. Take it to the ride attendant and they'll give you a pass for x amount of minutes. Come back after those minutes, and you go straight to the front of the line.
Working the Howl-o-Scream events are more fun than you can possibly imagine, if you want to make a quick $1000 in a month and sacrifice all your weekends in October. Be prepared to have some injuries from repetitive motions, and be prepared to be cursed at, hit, and spat on.
The seats in the middle of rows 5 and 6 on Montu are meant for heavier set people.
The drivers at Rhino Rally are actually driving those trucks. No, they are not on tracks. We go through hours and hours and hours of training and observation to be able to drive those enormous rovers. Yes, sometimes the Rhinos do charge towards the trucks. It's nothing to be scared about, though.
You can get small ticket discounts for friends with a Fun Card.
If you need to eat in the theme park, go to the Zambia Smokehouse. More bang for your buck. Order your drinks without ice, you'll get double the amount.
If you come to guest services complaining about how it's raining on a day that was forecast for a hurricane, we will not be sympathetic. Please read the weather forecast before you come to a theme park.
When you are perched 200 feet up on Sheikra, waiting for that drop, you are being held up there by a small, tiny latch of metal.
If you're going to be at the park all day and you want a drink/snack, shell out for the souvenir cup/bucket. Refills are absolutely dirt cheap.
Whenever you buy anything in the park, just ask the shop/vendor, and they'll send it to guest services at the front so you can pick it up later. Free.
If you go to Jungala early enough in the morning and hang around the white tigers for a bit, you may have a chance to play tug of war with one of them.
In the mid morning on a slow-ish day, you can pay for regular parking, then just drive into the preferred parking lot to park. Noone checks. Also, if you get to the park about an hour and a half to closing, the toll booths usually aren't manned.
Half the time that you're on Montu, most of the mechanism isn't touching the track; just a couple guiding ball bearings.
Unless you're there in the summer at night, don't try to do anything stupid on the skyride; there are cameras everywhere, with no blind spots.
14. Arms Over The Chest From Now On.
Being from Orlando, I have worked all the theme parks. Since this thread is overwhelmed with disney facts, I will instead tell you something about my employment with Wet N Wild. If an attractive (large busted) woman was at the top of the slide the guy working at the bottom of the ride would give the secret "boob signal" for the lifeguard up top. This was code for the lifeguard to send her down the slide with her hands interlocked behind her head instead of her arms folded across her chest. If a persons arms are folded across the chest this method prevents wandrobe malfunctions, which is a reason why it is the policy to do so, because when the hands are interlocked behind the head it prevents the said female from covering her escaping breasts. It goes without saying that this lead to optimal boobage for the lifeguard waiting below. Oh, to reminisce on those scenes, me gawking at those helpless girls through my mirrored sunglasses as they failed to realize that their bosom was exposed for all to see. In retrospect this may have been an inappropriate use of power...
EDIT: It is also worth noting that when purchasing sunglasses for lifeguarding, the ideal pair will have dark lenses, thus allowing your eyes to wander upon the exposed breasts completely unnoticed. This was another very well known fact on the job.
15. Disney: Where No One Is Sober And The Christian Kids Get Lit.
I've seen a few Disneyland Cast Members post. I've worked in all 4 of the Disney World theme parks, and can answer any questions for them. Some cool tidbits you may or may not know.
*There is a room in Cinderella's castle that can be stayed in.
*When Tinkerbell fly's from Cinderella's castle, it's one of (when I worked there from 2004-2008) 3 different ones. One of whom is male.
*There are days when none of the cast members working the attraction you are on are sober (Depending on the attraction). INCLUDING THE COORDINATORS AND MANGERS.
*Cosmic Ray's Starlight Caf in Tomorrowland (Used to be at least) serve the most people per hour in America at any indoor fast food joint (during peak hours).
*When hurricanes and such happen, the cars you see on speedway's track are actually driven off the track and into the tunnels below magic kingdom for storage.
*Yes, the speedway cars have A.) Caught Fire B.) Jumped the track and been driven through a fence and round Toon Town. C.) Ran over people (no deaths, but one time, a kid got hit/arm ran over, the father grabbed him and ran, we had people looking for them all over the park. Eventually, he came back and demanded an ambulance (2-3 hours later!), so we did and it turns out the kid had a broken arm.) EDIT 1: I thought of a few other cool tidbits
*You can get your haircut at Magic Kingdom for a (relatively) reasonable rate! I think it's about $20 for adults and $15 for kids. Cast Members can get that done in the tunnels as well.
*Underneath Magic Kingdom is a Subway. Yes, the restaurant.
*The days when you get the worst behavior is actually Night of Joy (When the christian artists come to Disney) followed by Graduation Nights (high schools graduatation celebrations).
*Each area of the park has their own custom number codes. I think you guess which are standard and which are not :P
- 115: Jailbait
- 105: Hot person
- 104: Wheelchair party / Assistance
- 103: Break
- 102: Attraction's up
- 101: Attraction's down
*If you are fat, and can't get off Space Mountain fast enough, we'll hit a button and park the rocket you're in to the back area. There's multiple reasons we do this, First: It gives you time to get out on your own, Second: If our rockets back up and we get 4 at the unloading the station the ride trips and "E-Stops".
*Worst case of that was we had one really large guest and she got stuck. We had to have Reedy Creek (the Walt Disney World Fire Company) pull her out of the rocket using a movable crane and a large amount of Crisco.
*Disney World has it's own Fire Company, Water Works, and Power Company. Police are mostly local sheriffs.
*The town of Celebration used to be owned by Disney World. It wasn't until more recent times Disney sold it off.
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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