Experience really is the best teacher. Hearing about something is usually far less intense than personally going through it. I guess that's why you're also told to never speak of things you don't know or haven't experienced for yourself.
For more eyeopening personal experiences, check out the original source thread at the end of the article.
"I never understood why people stayed in abusive relationships until it happened to me. Your partner does something crappy, you brush it off as them having a bad day and give them another chance. They apologize and tell you they love you. After this happens enough times, you convince yourself (because of cognitive dissonance) that they have other qualities that make staying with them worth it. Or that they're improving when they are not. It takes a lot to admit to yourself that you've let yourself be manipulated into loving a monster and that you deserve better."
"Plantar fasciitis. Before I was like 'big deal, your foot hurts', I had no idea it was like suddenly stepping on broken glass - over and over again.
The one and only time my plantar fasciitis flared up was after I worked at an amusement park one summer.
I was on my feet for literally 16 hours a day, 6 days a week. Toward the end of the season, I found it was difficult to get out of bed but I assumed that was just because my body was sore (because going to bed around 1 am and getting up at 7 am gave my body minimal time to repair the muscles). I went back to school at the end of the season and I still could not get out of bed. I couldn't even get up out of my chair after a 50-minute lecture. The pain was UNBEARABLE. I finally went to the health center, figured out what was wrong and got medication. AND THEN I GOT WARTS ON MY FEET. Getting those frozen off was a female dog and a half.
Now I work from home and sit at a desk for more than 8 hours a day. I do workout 6 days a week but only for 60 minutes maximum. My feet still hurt from time to time but nothing like they did 5 years ago."
"I had a family nickname growing up that I was embarrassed about. Just before I left for the service, I jokingly told my dad that I looked forward to being called by my actual name.
He told me that one day when you hear someone call you by your nickname, it will fill you with warmth and joy instead of embarrassment.
He was so right."
"I went through the majority of my life just not believing that people suffered from chronic back pain. My back would occasionally get stiff or ache if I slept on it all wrong or something, but lying flat on the floor and elevating my feet for about half an hour always fixed it right up. 'It's not nearly as complicated as people make it out to be', I would say. 'It's just bone, muscle, and cartilage. The back is no different from a knee or an elbow. It's just another joint'.
Last year I was helping a friend move, and I hurt my back while we were lifting the sleeper sofa. I figured I'd overstressed a muscle or something, no big deal. I went home, I rubbed Icy-Hot on it, applied a heating pad, and went to sleep. When I woke up, it still felt pretty bad, so I laid flat on the floor for a while. To my utter horror, I found myself unable to get up. Trying to roll over was agony, and just raising myself to a sitting position was completely out of the question. Eventually, I managed to scoot myself over to the sofa where, with an unbelievable amount of pain, I managed to get back on my feet. I don't want to say I was standing, because my knees, waist, and lower back were bent, which was the only position I could manage without wanting to cry.
To make a long story short, the doctor I saw took some X-Rays and ran some other tests and told me I have degenerative disc disease. Apparently, it will only get worse as I get older. The episodes will be more intense and more frequent, so at least I've got that to look forward to.
The worst part is that I never know what's going to trigger another bout. Last time it happened, I was going to sit on the toilet. The time before that, I was standing at the kitchen sink filling a water glass. I'm terrified every day that I'll have another episode.
So to everyone, I was dismissive of when they said they had chronic back pain, I'm sorry. I had no idea."
"I always figured toothaches were annoying, of course - headaches are similarly annoying, and people complain about them too.
Nope. I couldn't believe how completely debilitating tooth pain can be. It's all you can think about and it's all you feel. I was legitimately thinking about taking painkillers and tearing that my tooth out. For the record, I didn't just see a dentist because it was wisdom teeth pain. I had a severely impacted one. I did get them removed but it sucked in the meantime. I wasn't just ignoring a severe tooth infection or something."
"My dad used to complain about it restless leg syndrome keeping him awake at night. He kind of likes to complain and I was sure he was just whining about nothing. Seriously, restless legs? What a crock.
Then I had it when I was pregnant.
The worst thing is how illogical it is. You can't even explain it. I had a friend with dysplasia when she was pregnant. Bones separating makes sense as something that should bother you. Me? I was regularly in tears - not a couple glistening tears, full on streaming ugly-cry tears - because I was sitting. It's impossible to explain. No pain at all, but absolutely unbearable. It's frigging nuts."
"When my sister thought she was going to die and wanted us to call an ambulance or go to the hospital, I couldn't believe someone was being that dramatic. Then I had my first panic attack and thought I was going to die. I've had maybe 5 since then and logic does not work when you're having one and even knowing all of this doesn't help at all."
"Not to sound 'edgy' but hallucinations are something one could only understand if they've experienced it. I didn't really believe in them until it happened to me. And I'm not talking about substance induced hallucinations.
I still don't know what caused mine. I heard familiar voices calling out my name and I heard very deep knocking coming from above me. I also saw everything as a threat to me and I pretty much freaked out if I opened my eyes. It didn't last long and I have not received a diagnosis. I might go and get help if it ever happens again."
"I now understand what it's like to be disabled and completely dependant on someone else, a burden to the people you love, and wondering if this was your life now.
Some woman decided red lights were only suggestions and hit me on my motorcycle in 2013 and broke nearly everything. If I didn't have a full face helmet on I would no longer be here today.
I couldn't feed myself, scratch my nose, or wipe my bottom for a couple months.
It was a weird mix of embarrassment, frustration, fear, and anger yet humbling at the same time. Luckily the only lingering issues are numb fingers and weakness on my non-dominant hand, some hearing loss, and occasional back pain.
I no longer take a working body for granted - your health can be stolen from you in an instant. I recovered for the most part but others don't."
"What happens when someone gets their purse stolen. Cartoons always made it seem so over the top and campy almost, with the woman screaming 'help! He's stolen my purse!' like your typical damsel in distress.
A month ago I was at Applebee's and a woman got her purse stolen and that's exactly how it went. She got it back though!"
"Chronic illness. I didn't understand how you could be in bed all day when things needed doing. I also didn't understand that being in bed all day is exhausting. Not everything is fixed by a pill or course of treatment. And not everything is visible. The two sentences I hear the most now are, 'you don't look sick' and 'you're too young to be so sick'."
"The way your parents getting a divorce affects you. I obviously knew that it sucked but I just didn't realize the way it sucks... I guess because everyone experiences it differently.
When my parents got divorced it felt like someone died. Like my family died and all I could think about were all the things we'd never do again."
"That there are people who, for a good time, go for a night on the town, to find someone to beat up. They're not trying to find someone who also wants to fight, they're not looking for someone who provokes them, it doesn't matter what you say or do or what you look like - these people just want to punch another person.
It's still hard to believe this exists."
"I was a shooting instructor for a number of years and the guy I trained under originally used to tell a story in his safety classes about a class he was teaching at a police range. In the story, some jerk walked out in front of them and the targets. When he confronted the guy, the guy acted like he was being unreasonable until he realized they were firing real bullets.
I always doubted that it was really a true story because surely nobody could really be that dense and that he only told it for effect...until a few years later when I was teaching a class at an outdoor range and almost exactly the same thing happened to me. The guy in my case lives behind the range in one of the subdivision, walks his dog every morning and claims he didn't know we shot real bullets.
Apparently, there was some confusion. The guy was not walking his dog in his neighborhood. The range is a private facility fenced off with a gate and signs, and then after going down a private drive past the gate and signs, he would have had to turn into another gate with more signs to get to the pistol range.
There's no way any normal person wouldn't have known they were on a private property members-only shooting range.
The neighborhood is behind the shooting range but not remotely on the range property, and no rounds are fired in the direction of the subdivision."
"How easy it is to get addicted to prescription pills. I always thought people were just overdoing it and being dramatic. I had done them and prided myself on having the control to stop. I got prescribed some and took them way less then they told me to, roughly one a day for two weeks. If I didn't take one, I'd start feeling crappy, and sometimes even feel like I was getting sick. A friend of mine mentioned it sounded like withdrawal. It took half of one and I felt a billion times better - definitely withdrawal. My friend helped me over a few days and I stopped doing them recreationally.
For those struggling with it, keep fighting I promise it's worth it. To those worried because they are on a prescription, talk to your doctor about your concern, they suck at bringing it up themselves but are really the first ones that should know."
"Age catches up with you physically.
I always played sports growing up and liked to be competitive. After some years of not doing much, I tried to jump right back into sports I had a lot of success with at a younger age and just got embarrassed, mostly due to stamina and quickness.
Age hits you hard and fast.
You can still be athletic well past 30 but It just gets harder and the slope gets steeper, especially in regards to recovery time. As long as you're consistent you can still be fit, but once you start getting older it's harder to maintain when you slip up. There's a reason athletes get their fattest contracts usually just before 30. After 32 to 35 you're not seeing nearly as many pro athletes. Time gets to even the best of people. So no, it's not just a 'lack of exercise' because when I was young it didn't matter, I could run out onto a field or court and be just fine no matter how long I had sat out. Now it's a real task."
"Me as a 911 dispatcher (in my head, never to the patient): 'You're calling an ambulance because you're a little dizzy? SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP, have someone drive you.'
Me as a vertigo sufferer for the first time: 'OH MY GOODNESS, WHAT THE HECK, clearly I am having a stroke or otherwise dying' (for the record, I did not call an ambulance).
Seriously, I always thought it was like when you've had one too many drinks and the room is a little spinny. Nope. It turns out it's like your head is inside a washing machine and your body is inside a separate washing machine. Also, there is a lot of vomiting."
"'Aww poor thing, you got a widdle headache, huh?' Then I got one and holy CRAP I couldn't move. When my girlfriend sat on the bed to put her shoes on, I threw up because of the slight movement of the mattress. Migraines are straight from that very hot place down below."
"How utterly concerned and protective you can be towards your kids.
When I was young myself, my mom always told me: 'You will understand once you have kids yourself'. And I thought, yeah, sure, mom, but you know I'll be fine, right? Jeez.
And then you have a child of your own. And the most primitive urge arose to just protect that child from all the evils and harms of the world. You know, wrap it in cotton and never let them get hurt, ever in life.
Of course, the sane part of your brain says, 'of course the kid must go out and run around and fall and get hurt and then you kiss it and clean it and bandage it and tell them you love them.' And I let them go out and do stuff even if it sometimes really scares me: they go off alone, with friends, they go swimming, they go to high school for the first time (I live in the Netherlands, they go to high school when they're twelve). They surf the internet and I have to trust them enough not to read diaries or their Whatsapp and so on. And I do. I just tell them to be safe and I see them nodding and thinking, 'sure, mom. But you know I'll be fine, right?'
But I understand now, mom. I really do."
Points are edited for clarity.