We have to warn you, these stories do not make for easy reading. They contain ugly scenes of violence and despair. They are, however, to the best of our knowledge, true and that makes them worth telling.
Look away if you're easily disturbed but if not, these are the worst experiences that users of Reddit have ever had.
(Content edited for clarity.)
There’s Nothing Worse Than This
“When my 7-week old daughter died, the funeral home gave us the option of an observed cremation. My initial reaction was absolutely not. However, my mind changed when thinking about her little body leaving this world all on its own. The least I could do is be there with her.
So, after the longest nine-day hold of my life, the time had come. From the moment the police had arrived after I called 911 to nine days later, I had not been able to hold my baby girl. The funeral home brought her out of refrigeration and laid her on a table wrapped up to where I couldn’t see her.
I begged them to let me see her and hold her, but they discouraged it due to the fact that she had a full autopsy performed meaning that they cut her open top to bottom. They did let one of her arms lay out for me and I will never forget how cold but how perfect her skin felt against my lips.
The most intense moment came when watching her body be pushed into the oven and the door slamming shut. The moment when he pushed the ignition and I heard the fire surround her everything stopped. My knees gave out, my heart skipped a beat, and I felt her leaving me; like being punched in the gut and paralyzed all at once. The screams that emitted from my body were not human.”
The Drawn-Out Sound Of A Single Last Breath
“When I was a young kid, I got spinal meningitis. It damaged my heart and brain in a way that destroyed most of my memory function. I ended up in the hospital for eight or nine months because of the stack of complications they were trying to figure out. About half of this time was in the ICU and half was in a room with four other kids. Amazingly enough that alone isn’t the most intense part.
The kid in the bed next to mine came in because he and his brother were messing around being kids, and his brother was clumsy and smacked him in the neck with a baseball bat and collapsed his trachea. He’d been there a week, wasn’t talking much, obviously, but he developed a cough.
So, as an aside, the day doctors and nurses were phenomenal cool people, the night staff was bad. I remember being 8 and thinking ‘these people are mean, lazy, and worthless.’
One night, the kid started coughing, he rang his bell to ask for water and the nurse came in, obviously grumpy, with a pitcher and cup and just left it on his tray, and didn’t say a word.
The kid tried to fill the cup and ended up coughing more and spilling the pitcher all over his bed. He rang the nurse again multiple times and she finally came in several minutes later and took everything, all of his bedding and the pitcher and cup. So the kid was lying there on a bare mattress coughing harder. One of the other kids and I took the sheets from our beds and wrapped him up, he was crying and cold.
Half an hour later the nurse was still gone and the kid’s cough was worse and had a rattle to it. At this point, my memory gets foggy and I think I fell asleep but I woke up to one of the other kids in his bed screaming. I look over and the kid was gasping and frantically pushing his call button.
We all started screaming and doing the same thing while this kid was making the most awful gurgling sounds and started to turn blue. Finally, the nurse came running in smelling overwhelmingly like smoke and screamed. She went running out of the room. A few seconds later the room was full of yelling medical staff, they pulled his curtain around his bed and, after a few minutes, ended up wheeling him out slowly.
We later heard the nurse’s immediate supervisor bluntly yelling at her, ‘you ignored your station to go have a smoke and didn’t get a replacement? You let a kid die!’
It turns out his tracheal wall collapsed from the force of the coughing, and we all sat there and listened to a 7-year-old kid suffocate.”
The First Scent Of Death
“I spent some time cleaning up bodies like ‘Sunshine Cleaners.’ There was this one house… Going into the house, it smelled unusually normal, and there weren’t signs of decay anywhere, which was unusual.
Then we got to the bedroom. The guy had used plastic sheets to wall off his whole room so when he killed himself it wouldn’t affect the house.
It got worse from there because he tried to use a towel to keep the wound contained, and it made it into a cannon. The plastic was sealed pretty well, so I was able to suit up and get my mask on before going in, but even without the smell, the first sight after pulling back the plastic was the most intense experience I think that I will ever have.”
The Risks Of Being A Daredevil
“Holding my own intestines was the most intense moment in my life.
I was a daredevil as a child and loved being one. I once jumped a shoddy huffy bike off a pretty large ramp when I was 12 years old. When I landed, the front fork snapped where it passes through the front of the frame. The tire caused the broken fork to bounce up toward my stomach, ripping a 4-inch gash across my stomach. The intensity struck after I landed and momentarily blacked out. When I regained vision, I got up off the ground via my hands and knees. When I looked down, my lower intestines were hanging outside of my body. I had to cup my hand under the gash to keep them from falling further out. The scariest thing was, I was over at my mom’s friend’s neighbor’s house under no supervision. Holding my guts, I walked from the neighboring house, back to where my mom was, before hightailing it to the nearest hospital. The doctor said the cut was within 1/4 inch of hitting my liver.
Looking back, it probably was worse for my mom. I was screaming for her to help me and all she could do was just look at me and scream ‘Hold on baby!’ “
When Your Mom Says Her Final Goodbye
“My mom called me as her suicide note. I lived 16 hours away and had to talk to her after she took two months worth of painkillers and prescription sleep aids.
She had driven her car to an abandoned parking lot and had no idea where she was. She couldn’t answer any of my questions about how much she took, how long ago she arrived there, but I kept talking to her until suddenly there was just silence on the other end of the phone. I thought she died. Right there on the phone with me, I thought my mother had died.
Luckily my husband called my grandpa who lives near her and because they share the same wireless plan the customer service agent walked him through pinging her phone and getting her location. My sister rushed there, just beating the ambulance and they were able to save my mother’s life.
She was in a coma for about a week and is only now getting her life back together.
But my god, that moment on the phone when I was screaming for my mother and there was no response still haunts me and my husband. He says I fell to the floor wailing and he had to take me to the couch, but all I remember is the terrible heartache.”
The Security Guards Who Didn’t Read Their Job Description
“In 2012, my family and my parents’ friends decided to have a picnic. It was just the six of us, and there were only two men.
We had gone to a dam/lake for a bbq and to relax, and there were only a few other families around.
The two guys got down to setting up the bbq while the rest of us were playing a few games of cards. Not too long after that, maybe 30 minutes, we all noticed that we were the only ones in that area. We didn’t think much of it though and continued.
A little while later we saw a guy wearing a security uniform wandering down to where we were. No one thought anything of it, and we carried on, eating and chatting.
Before anyone of us could blink, the security guard pulled out a sharp knife and went directly for my dad’s friend’s leg. He caught him on his shin bone, and all I saw was blood oozing out. Out of nowhere, this other guy appeared holding a loaded weapon.
Next thing we knew, they were going through all of our stuff, taking jewelry, belts, even pants and shoes from the men. They worked quickly, and it all was done in about 10 minutes.
They ended up stealing the car that we had used and we had to start walking to find help. As we walked, we saw the real security guard who said that the two guys had tied him up and threatened to end his life if he did or said anything.
Soon it was getting dark but we had no choice but to walk looking for help. Thankfully, a taxi stopped and was able to take us back home. We had to break the locks to our house as the thieves had stolen the keys, we ended up using zip ties to secure the house for that night and all of us ended up sleeping in one room. It was the scariest experience of my life.”
An Average Morning Turns Into A Fight For His Life
“I woke up for work about six months ago, and my leg was numb/tingly like I slept on it wrong and it was asleep. I got up and tried to walk it off and get the blood flowing while I got ready for work. I did that for about an hour with no change, and by this time, I was feeling strange. I started explosively discharging whatever was in my stomach/guts from both ends.
Meanwhile, my leg started to swell and become painful, even though it was still ‘sleeping.’ I called my boss and told him what’s going on, and that I needed to take a personal day. He told me that I sounded strange and that I needed to go see a doctor. By this time, my leg was so swollen that it felt like my skin would split. Muscles were contracting to the point my leg was rock hard, and I couldn’t even bend my knee.
I dragged myself on my stomach to the bathroom to evacuate whatever was left inside me. I considered trying to sleep it off, but I was feeling so horrible that I called 911. By the time the paramedics arrived, I was barely conscious.
They rushed me to the hospital where they determined blood flow had somehow stopped reaching my lower leg, under my knee. Also, both of my kidneys were failing! The doctors were stumped.
They flew me to Pittsburgh UPMC, and I was rushed to surgery where they split my leg from my crotch to ankle on the inner side and waist to ankle on the outer side in order to relieve the pressure from swelling.
Meanwhile, my muscles were contracting so bad I thought they would snap my leg bones. It was one of the most painful feelings I’ve ever felt! All the while, the doctors were frantically trying to save/fix my kidneys. I was laying in that bed slowly dying.
Apparently, the circulation was cut off to my leg as I slept, causing the calf muscle to die. When that happens, the muscles release lots of chemicals/toxins. My problem was it released a massive amount of potassium and my kidneys couldn’t handle it.
Finally, the surgeons told me that they would have to go in and remove the dead tissue, but there was a small chance they would have to remove some of my leg. Well, when I woke up from the anesthesia, I could tell something’s not right. I looked down to see that my left leg was gone from about three inches above the knee. I went from working 60+ hours a week to being disabled and sitting at home. Talk about a life changer.”
“I was staying at my ex-girlfriend’s place one night a few years back. It was in an apartment complex, and we were lying in front of the TV when all of a sudden these blood-curdling screams came from the floor above us. Not only screams but glass breaking.
I ran upstairs to see what was going on and saw a guy with a weapon breaking down her neighbor’s front door. When he saw me, he pointed the weapon at me so I ducked back into the stairwell and ran back to the apartment to call the cops. I locked our door just in case.
As we were waiting for the cops to show up, the screams were now coming from outside. I ran to the balcony and saw a woman running with the guy giving chase. I ran downstairs to help, and as I came around the corner, he shot her twice right in front of me and turned the weapon on himself. He ended his life right there on the sidewalk, and fortunately, she survived that terrible, awful ordeal. I found out later that it was a domestic dispute and the guy was an ex-boyfriend of the woman. But I still think about it every week.”
A Mother’s Near Miss With The Angel Of Death
“My 2-year-old daughter was limping with a fever on a Sunday, so I took her to an urgent care clinic. In the first hour of getting there, she fell unconscious and her fever spiked to 103. They gave her some pain meds.
She woke up, and the urgent care clinic told me she needed to be transported by ambulance to the children’s hospital, but they wouldn’t transport her without an IV. At this point, her heart rate had stayed over 180/190 for an hour. They attempt to do an IV three times, and each time they were unsuccessful her heart rate skyrocketed.
My 2-year-old was beyond upset at this point. She had a fever, she was sick, and they’d been poking her. The staff went in for a fourth attempt.
This was the most intense moment of my life. My child was being held down and screaming. One nurse on her left side was trying for an IV, the other nurse on the right side was watching the heart monitor. The monitor read 238 beats per minute. The nurse monitoring the heart rate told the other nurse to stop or ‘she’ll die.’ Worst words to say in front of a parent… the other nurse replied: ‘If I don’t get an IV in she’ll die in transport.’ EVEN worse words. I was terrified my daughter was going to die.
She ended up having an ear infection with nothing more wrong with her. Terrible experience and several thousand dollars in medical bills.”
A Man’s Best Friend Meets A Car
“My dog was hit by a car two summers ago. He’s my best friend and my whole world, and we were out for a walk one night when somebody ran a red light. They very narrowly missed me but struck him.
The scary part was I looked both ways down a one-way street, and I saw the car moving a block away but the light turned in our favor. Next thing I look over and the car is barreling through the light towards us.
The impact tore my dog off his leash and out of his harness and threw him a solid 25 feet away. In that split second, I thought I watched my best friend die in front of me. After he was done tumbling, he got up, and in shock, tried to run back home (we were around the block). He finally stopped a couple hundred feet from my apartment, and when I went to go grab him, I could feel blood and water coming from him (he peed himself on impact), but I didn’t know where.
Luckily, in that moment I jumped back, and in that action, managed to flip his head away from the car, otherwise, it would have hit him square in the head. His hindquarters took the brunt of the injuries and impact.
The lady didn’t stop, and she was never caught. She saddled me with all the vet bills and extended care, but what matters most is that my best friend is still alive and with me.”
A Raw Start To The Sophomore Year
“During my second year of college, I came home from class to find my roommate passed out on the floor with an empty bottle of prescription pills next to him. He had been depressed due to some serious family issues, but I never thought it would come to suicide.
I had never dealt with anything like this and was 3,000 miles away from any of my family or friends, and his mom was 6,000 miles away. His dad lived nearby, but he was the cause of the depression, so I was panicked.
I had no idea what to do in the situation. I tried to get him up, and he started to stir a little bit which was great, but he was non-functional.
I called my dad who immediately calmed me down and told me I needed to call 911. I thought I might be able to get him down to my car to drive him to the hospital. I was afraid the ambulance would cost too much money for his family. Luckily, my dad made me realize I was being irrational and I called the ambulance and then informed his mom, who made the situation so, so much worse. She was in hysterics, calling me every 5 minutes, unable to make decisions because she was so panicked as he was her only child and the two had a very close bond.
Once at the hospital, they pumped his stomach and he was released a few days later.
My friend attempted suicide two more times, and each time, I was the one who found him and called the ambulance. It was a rough couple of months which forced me to leave college and move back home to finish out school near my family.
He is actually doing really well now – very successful in his career and love, good relationship with his mom – he’s genuinely happier now and he feels awful that he ever put me through all that. He’s said over and over how he wishes he could take it all back because he never wanted to hurt me or his mom.
I still don’t know how I managed to keep my head about me.”
When You Feel Totally Helpless
“I was dogsitting for my brother, he has two giant dogs. It was a Saturday morning. My 3-year-old daughter was coloring at the table while I made pancakes. Suddenly, everything felt…off. I heard a thump behind me, and even though it had been a solid few months without a seizure, I knew without even turning around that the thump was my daughter falling to the floor.
I’m actually a very panicky person, so the fact that I got the giant dogs in their kennels and unplugged the pancake griddle before I even turned around is impressive. I carefully moved her off the hardwood floor and on to a rug. I started a timer (apparently short seizures are totally fine, but once you hit 8 minutes, that’s when you should worry. I always worry from the first second, but hey, I’m no medical expert).
I called 911 at minute four. Since I’d yelled for my husband at minute two, we were in the car and driving 90 mph to our small town clinic at minute five.
She started moaning in my arms at minute six. Otherworldly, heart-stopping moans. It took every last bit of anything even remotely resembling strength I had to not curl up and die of worry/stress/etc. I’ve never, ever, ever felt that helpless and scared in my entire life.
And then we finally finished the twenty-five-mile drive to town and she came out of it. I thought we were through the worst of it as a nurse rushed us to the ER….and then my daughter started trying to talk to me. I could not understand a single word. I nodded and smiled and acted like I knew what she was saying because I didn’t want her to be scared. She started wiggling in my arms and I knew she wanted to walk around and not be held. I lowered her to the ground and she just collapsed. Those little legs had been through a 25-minute seizure. But the way she looked at me when it happened…I still have no idea how I managed to meet her gaze and then scoop her up and comfort her when I felt such terror and worry course through me. The stuff of nightmares.
The good news is she’s fine, and we’re about to hit the two year anniversary of being seizure free.”
When The Soldiers Weren’t On His Side
“July 2016, I got caught up in the South Sudan Civil War. I am an Australian of South Sudanese descent. I had traveled from Australia to South Sudan, and on that fateful day, I met with some rogue soldiers. They robbed me and shot me in the leg. The force of the close-range shot dropped me. They wanted to finish me off, but one of their superiors interrupted them. I was on the ground, bleeding for nearly 45 minutes before some good samaritans picked me up with their truck. I had to lay on the tray of the truck, and the road to the hospital was not paved, so I felt every bump. Getting to the hospital, I received basic first aid to stop the bleeding and a tetanus injection. I spent the next 22 hours on a dirty table, under a tin roof, it was hot, and to top it all, there were no pain medication and no drinking water. After 22 hours, I was taken into surgery, using only local anesthetic in my leg. I felt every cut of the bone, every stitch, every yank of tissue.
After spending eight days in the hospital, I gathered the courage to fly back to Australia.
When I arrived in Australia, the doctors and nurses couldn’t believe I had flown commercially with such an injury. The diagnosis of my leg was not pretty; I had lost 15 cm of bone in my tibia, 13 cm of nerves were missing, and two out of the three blood vessels to the foot were damaged. Apart from all that, I had 10 different types of bad bacteria in my body; it was bleak. The doctors thought there were good chances I would succumb to the infections, some of which they didn’t know what they were. Best case scenario was I would get my leg amputated. But none of that happened. After many surgeries, some lasting up to 15 hours, and a ton of pain medication I am here now, waiting for physiotherapy and beginning a new chapter of my life.”