Most of the time we think of our high school years when we think of them - like our emo phase or our jock phase etc. But phases are more than the way you dress or your tragic eye makeup.

Phases are just seasons and themes in our lives. Sometimes they're purposefully constructed (Yes, you can do that! I'm almost 40 and just decided 2 days ago that I want to start a sexy phase!)

Sometimes Illness/injury, death, financial gain or loss, etc. trigger your life or personality to take a sudden and unexpected turn.

If you win the lottery, for example, that turn is going to be an upgrade - at least temporarily. Don't @ me with a bunch of stories about the lottery curse. I know, fam. I know.

Reddit users wanted to talk about the worst phases people have had, and this era I'm recently moving away from immediately came to mind.

People have really gone through it. There are mentions of abuse, death, and childhood trauma.

What's amazing, though, is that every single one of these stories is being shared by a person who survived it. A person for whom things got better.

These responses suck, I'm not even going to try to lie. But they're also reminders that things can be incredibly dark - but that darkness probably won't last forever.

Having said that, these responses aren't all quite so heavy. Sometimes you just gotta laugh at your MySpace emo-bangs phase.

No Mom, No Job, No Money

Right now. My mom passed away from bone cancer; I left a high paying job to be her full time caretaker over the final two years. That left me living in her house, with only a struggling consulting business. Covid killed that. Right now I'm waiting for my unemployment to be approved, but its been a month and no money yet. No mom, no job, no money. My vehicles alternator died this morning. Sunday is Mothers day. I'm a mess.

- Emprah40k

Worse Than War


My wife and I were thinking of separating after moving two states away for her job. Then she got diagnosed with cancer. I couldn't divorce her in those circumstances. I felt like I was essentially losing her twice, while working 56 hour weeks to keep us afloat when she couldn't.

I was alone except for her, struggling not to resent her and repair our marriage, and exhausted and anxious all the time. I dropped 30 pounds without intent and was at some points selling my plasma to make rent.

But she survived, so far cancer-free, and so did our marriage. We moved back home, and now I have custody of my son from my first marriage and we each have better jobs. We've forgiven each other and built a comfortable, stable life for our family. I would do it all again if I had to.

This was worse than boot camp, worse than divorce, worse than my mom dying, and worse than my year deployed to Afghanistan.

- moms_new_boyfriend

Now I Have Hope


January 18 - February 5, 2020.

On January 18 my husband was killed in a car accident. For 2.5 weeks I had no hope for the future. Then I found out I was pregnant. Our first and only child.

It's still fcking hard, but now I have hope and many moments of genuine excitement and joy.

- widowwithamutt

High School Poetry

If we're going by cringiness I would say my "tortured writer/poet phase" junior year of high school where I had an emo look and wrote terrible poetry that I posted on my Xanga.

The funny thing was that even though I looked emo, the closest thing to emo music I listened to was like Bright Eyes' Fevers and Mirrors album. I was more into punk/indie rock. Luckily, I grew out of that phase by my senior year, so it didn't last long.

- -eDgAR-

Three Lost Years


I was misdiagnosed with a certain mental illness rather than the mental illnesses I actually have. I was put on some strong drugs to control the condition they thought I had. They hurt much more than they helped.

I don't remember three entire years of my daughter's lives because those meds f'ed with my brain. I feel like a horrible mother for not being able to answer questions about this time period. I'm better now but it sucks that I lost those years.

- SoVerySleepy81

No Concept Of Self Worth

Throughout my teens I had no concept of self worth. I have been overweight for almost my entire life and never viewed myself as anything except a 1/10. I made some terrible choices that I wish I could change due to having such low self esteem. I put myself in danger and was just straight up stupid. I didn't feel that I deserved any better though.

As an adult, things have gotten better and I have a loving husband that helps build me up. It has been a continual journey towards improving my health both mentally and physically, but I feel much better for it.

Also, I had many friends with this same mindset. Friends that were absolutely gorgeous to me felt worthless and made some of the same choices that I did. I never understood how there were so many of us. As a teacher, I always keep that in mind as I try to build my students up.

- BoxAndWhiskerPlot

Horse Girls


I was a horse girl from 2nd to 5th grade. I didn't just like horses, I galloped around like a horse too! I wondered why nobody wanted to be my friend...

- Funtimes_Express

Oh, see I was lucky. My weird horse girl phase as a kid coincided with my neighbour's weird horse girl phase, so we were just blissfully unaware of how fcking weird and uncool we were.

- Cornsilk

Hey one of my best friends in elementary school was a horse girl.. but then again I was a dinosaur kid so I guess it balanced out.

- 11wishes

8th Grade Breakdown

Middle school. Parents just got divorced. Mom was going back to school and working two jobs, so I never saw her. We lived in a bad part of town and I was a morbidly obese, pale nerd.

Kids literally punched me in the stomach as hard as they could when we changed classes. They'd take my back pack and throw it in the shower and turned the water on. They'd grab my stomach and my chest when I would change in Phys. Ed.

One day in 8th grade, I finally snapped and got into a huge fight. Mom got called into the school, and when she gets there, I broke down hysterically crying about what had happened to me for years and how I couldn't take it anymore. She called my father (whom hated) and I spent the next two years living with him until she finished school. In those 2 years I grew over half a foot and was the star offensive lineman on the football team, so it worked out okay. :)

- Theresonly1damar74

Cameraphones Weren't A Thing Back Then

I had a Wiggah phase when I was 13-14 years old. I was talking ghetto, wearing Wutang jeans that was hanging on for dear life off of my butt cheeks, a shirt longer than my pants and a red bandana. But I grew up in that kind of neighborhood. You had to fit in somehow.

Thinking back on it, damn, embarrassing stuff. I'm so happy cameras on phones weren't a thing back then.

- jauxerous

"Nice Guy" 

I went through a Nice Guy phase when I was like 19 or 20. But that's not the most shameful part. The most shameful part was the righteous indignation that came along with it. The girl I was fawning over was an assault survivor, and she might have been in an abusive relationship at the time I was friends with her - though perhaps I only perceived it as abusive because I had Nice Guy goggles on.

In any case, her whole sad story sent me to a dark place. I started having gruesome fantasies about torturing the guy, and I lashed out at her boyfriend publicly on Facebook (oh yea, he and I had been friends, which was how I met her). I was an absolute mess. And it finally came to a tipping point when, under circumstances I can't remember, I said something or other to her expressing disapproval of her relationship, and she accused me of only wanting her for myself (which was obviously true), and after that I had to step back and reevaluate what I had become.

I call that part of my life the Dark Period, and I look back on it often to remind myself of the terrible things I'm capable of, so that I never go back to that place.

- Panhead09

Do you have something to confess to George? Text "Secrets" or ":zipper_mouth_face:" to +1 (310) 299-9390 to talk to him about it.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash

Some years ago, I had to advise a college friend to stop chasing the girl he was interested in at the time. She'd already turned him down. Explicitly. At least two or three times.

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Parents make mistakes. We want to believe that parents are doing there very best to raise their kids, but sometimes they do more harm than good.

Research into childhood trauma didn't actually begin until the 1970s, so we don't have as much knowledge about our mental health as adults as we might like.

However, a study that followed 1,420 from 1992 to 2015 found conclusive results about childhood trauma:

"'It is a myth to believe that childhood trauma is a rare experience that only affects few,' the researchers say."
"Rather, their population sample suggests, 'it is a normative experience—it affects the majority of children at some point.'"
"A surprising 60 percent of those in the study were exposed to at least one trauma by age 16. Over 30 percent were exposed to multiple traumatic events."

Not all of the things our parents do that were not so helpful technically classify as trauma, but it definitely has an effect on us as we get older.

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Breaking up is something that never gets easier.

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On the outside, so many professions and careers look glamorous, financially enticing, and fun.

Often we sit back in our own lives and wallow in our dead-end jobs with that "wish I could do that for a living mentality!"

But if you look a little closer or, much like Dorothy Gale in OZ, just wait for a Toto to push the curtain back, you'll see that a lot more is going on behind the scenes.

And the shenanigans we don't see, make all that fun... evaporate.

So many careers and high power industries are built on a foundation of lies, backstabbing, and stress. And not in that fun "Dynasty" way.

That quiet, dead-end gig may not be so bad after all.

Redditor MethodicallyDeep wanted hear all the tea about certain careers, by asking:

What is a secret in your industry that should be talked about?
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