Some of us carry burdens so heavy that not even Atlas himself could hold them up on his shoulder. It's amazing what regret, depression, and apathy can do to a person, and it's even more amazing to see that people can live with those secrets after all this time.
This can be said for the people in the following stories who recently opened to the anonymous masses on Reddit to share the darkest secret they have kept from family members, friends, and just about everyone else. Take a look at some of the most jaw-dropping confessions we could find. And as always, the content has been edited for the sake of clarity.
"For a couple of years, I held the fact that I was heading into an early grave. I had (technically still have, but it's under control) a bowel problem that periodically hit the halt button on my ability to digest food.
I broke up with my girlfriend - she wanted kids and I refuse the idea of having children who'd have to watch me die before they graduate high school. Plus she's the Christian type to stick by me even if it crushes her dreams, I wouldn't allow that. I refused to tell my parents - we see plenty of each other already and I didn't want them to spend 5-15 years thinking about how they were probably going to bury me.
Really glad I did because after a year of fiddling with experimental treatments, simple testosterone pills given to counteract other medication turned out to be all I needed. I'm a moron with medical jargon but they kick start something in my thyroid which made my pancreas work more normally which stabilized my bowels. Pretty much just pop a couple whenever I start to feel 'low' and I'm all good for a month or so."
"My step brother violated me when I was 11. Only a few people know, but truthfully I still find myself questioning it, was it really assault? It was wrong, yes, for him to come on to me. I was 11. He was 16. He knew better. But I didn’t fight him. I was severely depressed even then and I specifically remember thinking, 'No one else will ever want me so I might as well not even fight it.'
I never said anything to my parents. My mom left my stepdad less than a year later and thankfully there has been no contact for over 15 years. My mom went through misery because of my stepdad and felt awful for years because of what we (my siblings and I went through) while living with him. I didn’t want to make her feel worse so I chose not to say anything years later when I came to terms with it.
It’s seriously messed with my head these last 17 years. Afterward, I got bad off on substances for a while as a teenager because of it and ended up with a seriously skewed view of myself and men in general."
"Many, many years ago, I was dispatched to a job for a young adult male struck by a subway car. As a paramedic, I have been down this road a few times, it never ends well for anyone.
FDNY got the train blocked and the MTA guys had the third rail covered and grounds placed so it was time for me to slip under the car and figure a way out. As I slipped in and began talking to the patient, it became very obvious he was not going to live. His face was looking down at the ties but his feet were facing up, one leg was under his neck. He basically was folded in half and turned 180° over the length of his body. The weight of the subway car was holding his intestines and liver in position. His back was opened and one kidney was actually exposed.
I started an IV and gave him some morphine to at least kill the pain. I slithered up to his face and had the single most difficult conversation I ever had with him about the fact that as soon as we moved the subway car, he was going to slip into shock and die. I refuse to ever not be 100% honest with my patients; he asked me a few questions about the process and what was going to happen. I asked if he wanted to call anyone and he said no.
Knowing what was about to happen, I asked if he wanted more morphine, I had an open order so I gave him an extremely stiff dose. I wanted to eliminate as much of his suffering as possible, he got basically three doses at once. He kept asking questions about everything and the process that FDNY was using to do the lift. When the coach jacks were locked in, I told him it was time. I pumped up the morphine. He started to say goodbye but I told him I wasn't going anywhere. He closed his eyes and the respiratory rate dropped. The coach went up and my partner dragged him forward and out from the coupling knuckle. I slid back and slithered out under the platform recess and as soon as I got to my knees next to him I had nothing workable. His abdominal bleed actually started running pink with the IV fluid; when his heart ceased so did everything else.
That was this young man's final place in the world, holding my hand waiting and knowing we were in his final minutes. With the morphine, he never felt a thing."
"Last year around this time, I was severely depressed. Arguments about grades, liking a girl my parents wouldn't approve of, struggling a bit in a class, just a lot of stuff stacking up on each other.
One day I got to the point where I just wanted to end my life. I was sick and tired of living to make other people happy while I myself am not happy. I had a couple similar periods in my life due to other circumstances, and instead of talking with me through it, they tried to tell me to get professional help. Forget that noise. I just needed some social support. I told myself I would try to talk to one person about my issues, and if I didn't get a sign to stay, then I'd leave for good.
This person was a very close friend of mine, still good friends now. One of the most granite-chinned, about-his-business guys I've ever met. I told him what was going on after class and he hugged me for a long time and even prayed for me while I was there. I was atheistic at the time, but that single moment makes me believe there has to be somewhere better than this dumpster earth.
I'm going to make the most out of my life and be successful. Then I'll enjoy whatever comes next. Depressed people don't always need professional help...sometimes they just need someone to listen."
"When I was 16, I was diagnosed with desmoplastic small round cell tumor, an abdominal cancer which primarily affects kids and comes with a grim prognosis.
I was told to prepare for the worst, to say goodbye to everything and everyone. My father was feloniously abusive. My mother, a victim herself, was a cowardly pushover who took no protective measures despite my innumerable complaints and pleas for help, so communicating this trauma was not a realistic option.
I kept the diagnosis to myself out of resentment and fear, but also as resignation to my own fate. I gave up at school, and my grades nosedived, but my parents never knew because I was able to kidnap my report cards from our mailbox, which chuted into a slot in my bedroom wall. I forged paperwork in order to be able receive medical treatment without parental consent.
To get to chemo and radiation therapy, I left school during lunch hour and took the bus, as often as twice a week, to facilities across the greater Los Angeles/Orange County area. These round trips regularly spanned over 100 miles, included at least six transfers each way, and took as long as two hours each way, depending on how busy the routes were, or which infusion centers could take me on a given day.
I caught the wrong bus too many times to count, which lead to a lot of anxiety and some missed appointments. I usually made it home by late afternoon, exhausted, ill, and in no condition to do anything other than lay in bed, but still had to feign normalcy, do chores, and put up with my dad's bull. I shaved my head in anticipation of the alopecia. Nobody knew. I didn't tell my girlfriend, my closest friend, because I couldn't bear to tell her that I was going to die. She dumped me on day 229 because 'I wasn't fun anymore.' I became frail and weak, and my body reacted to the treatment by retaining water, so I gained 50 pounds in just seven months.
People were none the wiser even when my eyebrows fell off. I may have been clinically depressed. My parents thought I got into Cal State Long Beach but, actually, I forged an acceptance letter. I tanked my SAT and didn't even apply to any colleges. I pretended to go to classes when in reality I was driving to Tijuana, Mexico to receive infusion and buy meds because my medical debt had reached $239,000.
I felt ashamed of this, for some reason. On the plus side, I learned very quickly to speak Spanish. On October 19, 2001, I checked into Long Beach Memorial ER for a fever, and my blood went septic overnight. I had a feeling this was the end so I told them to give me a status of Do Not Resuscitate.
They ended up having to resuscitate me, against my wishes, and when I regained consciousness, I insisted upon leaving so I could die at home and say goodbye to my dog and my sister.
I went into remission. The cancer became active again in 2008; with treatment I went into remission again.
I barely graduated high school, then went to community college, got straight As in an honors program, and got into best public university in the country. Then I dropped out in '15 and got married in '16."
"Whenever I hear about someone being violated - no matter how brutal or evil it is - I get slightly turned on. Especially if it is a true story and happened between real people. I don't like it, but I've accepted it. It doesn't affect my morals about abuse, or my relationships with others. It's just... there. It just happens. And I ignore it.
I do NOT want to hurt anyone or to be assaulted. I sincerely feel for victims and I wish them a speedy recovery. I would absolutely intervene to stop an attack and I take measures when I'm out (by myself or with friends) to keep everyone safe from any kind of abuse. Hearing about real-life abuse (especially in person from friends) makes me cry.
There's nothing wrong with me, as a person - I have NO idea why I'm so aroused by it. I don't know how to describe it without making me seem like a psycho. I haven't kept this secret out of shame or fear of being hated or anything. I have enough self-awareness to know I'm a good person and the arousal means nothing. It's just an uncomfortable, very personal topic which could upset my listener, too (especially if they were a victim at one point and haven't told me) so I don't talk about it."
"I have gone through many depression spikes, but there was one that was so bad, I'm surprised I got out of it. I'm not going to talk about why I was so messed up, as then we'd be here all day. However, all the tumbles in my life left me a sick twisted sociopath for a light while.
One day, I figured enough was enough. I got home after school, went into the garage, and doused myself in gasoline. I kept striking match after match, but none of them lit. I eventually broke down emotionally before taking a long and thorough shower so I'd be in decent shape when my parents got back home.
Why did I want to catch myself on fire? Other than me just being borderline insane at the time, I wanted to kill myself in a way that looked like a freak accident so my family wouldn't think that it was somehow their fault. I'll never forgive myself for that day."
"When I was younger, I was violated by an older cousin that I had looked up to on two separate occasions.
The first time it happened was when my parents and I shared a house with my uncle. They paid part of the rent and everything. One night the adults went out and I was left in my cousin's care. I remember I was watching Dora in our room (I shared it with him and his sister), when he came in and asked if I wanted to play a game. Now, I trusted him and my 6-year-old self was bored and so I asked what the game was. He proceeded to sit on the floor next to me and stretched while explaining that he had a 'magical buddy' that would only 'appear' if I did what I was told and asked no questions. A short while later, I was basically sucking him off. After that, he told me that this would be something between the two of us and that I couldn't tell anyone about it.
The second incident was almost a full year later, we had since moved out and this time both of my cousins were sleeping over for a while (I can't remember the exact reason though). My female cousin was on my left, I was in the middle, and my male cousin was on my right. I couldn't sleep and neither could he and we ended up kissing. At one point he began to use his tongue and I somehow followed. He would pause to tell me to stay quiet and that I was being a good girl throughout. That was the last time anything like that happened.
It was around my 9th birthday that everything dawned on me. That doing things like that was wrong, especially at my age. I'm 18 now and I still can't help but feel...dirty. I don't know. No one else knows about this. I still see my cousin every once in a while and even now I find it kinda hard to look him in the eyes."
"I’m addicted to sleeping pills. I’m in college and have four 8:30 classes. I had a roommate and she kept me up at night, so I went to 711 and bought some pills and threw away the receipt. If she was with her friends, I’d just pop one when they showed up. If she and her boyfriend were arguing at 4 am, I’d take one. I’m not at the point where I take 40 a day, but sometimes if I feel like I can’t sleep, I’ll just take one or if I want to take a nap at 12:30 until 4 and can’t get to sleep fast enough, I’ll take one. Must’ve finished half the pack, and already I’m building a tolerance. Not at the point where I take 50 a day like Eminem did, but I feel I might be if I don’t stop. I’ve been trying to get clean, and want to go 26 days without it. In fact, because of his songs, I only take 1 if I have to, since I live in a dorm. Science says if you go 26 days without a habit, you lose it.
I did tell my mom I took a midday nap on one, but I blamed it on Advil PM and a nasty headache from being tired. She got mad so I lied and just said the headache was so bad I had to sleep it off. Thankfully I got my own room but keep taking pills, since I didn’t want to waste the money and I felt like it was no big deal.
I decided to quit because one day I had to wake up with my alarm and spent a good minute forgetting I was asleep. I couldn’t move and everything was blurry. I was so scared because what if there was a fire and I couldn’t wake up. I live in a dorm, after all. In addition, I’ve begun zoning out in all my classes or not talking in classes where participation is your grade. I even showed up to one of my classes off of sleeping pills, looking high as a kite. It sucks for classes like ASL where you can’t talk and have to look at the signs.
I’m on day three of detox, as I started Wednesday. Thing is, it sucks being sober. I figured if I leave the pills at school, I’ll end up not wanting to use them. I get pounding headaches, I always feel nauseous and tired, and I flip my emotions like a switch. I even threw up last night. If I get asked about my headaches, I’ll just blame it on the snow and the cold weather.
In fact, I thought my withdrawal symptoms were the cold weather, since I always get bad headaches during the cold, but after googling my symptoms, I realized I had a problem.
I don’t tell my parents because they’ll kill me. For stuff like the vomiting, I blamed it on eating too much, since the night I went home, I had a lot of Chinese food. I don’t even know if they have an idea, since a lot of my parents friends were the type to get addicted to stuff. Even my mom (not parent I’m talking about) herself is addicted to a lot of pills, and I bet sleeping pills might be one of them. If anything, I’ll blame it on stuff like I didn’t get enough sleep or I picked up a virus at school.
No, I just get bad headaches, not related to the pills. If my parents ask why I’m sleeping during the day, I’ll just lie and say I have a bad headache and took an Advil PM."
"I think I'm gonna kill myself before Christmas. Long story short, I am worth more to my kid dead than alive. I can't take care of her anymore. I had some health stuff happen and while I still have my job, I can't financially afford to make it there.
I don't know anyone who isn't broke like me. My fiancé left me like days ago because I'm broke and I'm just a burden on everyone I know. I keep my job on the line waiting because I was considering working the streets to get money up to go but all the sites I used are shut down, now.
I have made two suicide attempts and I never felt regret upon waking up. I just felt panic at the fact that I'd just have to keep living and that I even wasted the pills and didn't die. If I am dead, someone in my family will care for my kid and be able to get benefits for her by me being dead. She is smart, and kind and funny and deserves better than me. Even she does not like me, so really I'm not hurting anyone but myself being around. I am also about 10 days off being homeless. I can't pay December rent so something has to change before then.
After I die, I won't have to get up and act like I have anything to do because I'll be dead. I'm looking forward to it."
"I don’t love my parents. Like, at all. They were very abusive when I was a child. My mom suffered a severe depression at the time, and as I got a character a lot like my father’s, she hated me and completely ignored my presence, unlike my brother’s. She even tried to choke me once.
My father worked all the time, and during the weekends he preferred repairing his car - for like 14 hours straight.
I have a feeling that I didn’t have parents at all. They were absolutely indifferent to me, and eventually I stopped loving them. I even asked them for a cat only because I was afraid I’d just leave the house and get lost in substance abuse, I knew that I needed something or someone to come back home to.
Even now I still feel the burning hole in my soul where my parents used to be.
Now we see each other during some holidays, I even got the way through my mum’s depression, and I know that now she is proud of me, she loves me and even adores me, but I just can’t love her, I just can’t. As my father is just a jerk, I just don’t call him at all. He hasn’t called me once since last year, when he called me to say that as I miscarried, I don’t need any place for my family and he decided to give our apartment to my brother.
I’m very envious of other people’s families. I feel that other people is like out of my league, as they have precious childhood memories, and I don’t."
"My parents always have thought that I’m an absolutely perfect child, to the point that they wouldn’t even punish me when I did mess up. Every time I try to bring up the fact that I probably have some sort mental illness, they just ignore me.
I don’t want to self diagnose with anything, but I literally don’t feel like a person sometimes. I don’t need to socialize at all, and I feel very little empathy for other people. Even though I recognize that I’m not much above an average intelligence, I still feel like I’m somehow superior. I’m very impulsive and have risk-taking behavior, and I have very bad problems with excess spending. I’ve stolen stuff before, not because I needed it, but just because I felt an instinct to. In school a lot of kids told me they thought I was scary or thought I’d end up a serial killer. I know how to interact with people to make them like me, I just don’t like interacting with people.
I’m just tired of my parents overlooking the fact that I really, really have issues."
"I was walking super depressed around St. Louis one day when I was about 17 years old. I saw a young heavyset woman crying and muttering, something like 'Help me, help me.' I kept walking, avoiding eye contact and saying something like 'Not today, sorry.'
A few hundred feet later I looked back and saw her wading into the river, paused for a few moments and then she disappeared. It was freezing and nobody else saw her get into the river. I was considering suicide myself at the time and figured I had witnessed a victory instead of a defeat.
Nowadays I am sorry and shamed, but back then I was jealous."