No matter how much we emphasize, we cannot fully understand what other people go through until we experience it for ourselves. 

A user asked the forum, “What’s something that people don’t understand until they experience it themselves?” Here are the top causes. 


Man in pain holding hands on his head
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“Chronic pain. Yes, I’m always in pain. Yes, I’m exhausted. Yes, I’m good at hiding it. People seem to forget about it if you’re not screaming.”


Photo of staring woman depressed hands head failed wtf crazy stressed dissatisfied forget house keys isolated on blue color background.
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“Dealing with Alzheimer’s/Dementia. There are so many emotions watching someone you love suffer and then not understand what they are saying or doing, especially when they are angry and mean, sometimes even violent.”


Sad and worried man sit at home couch feeling negative emotions, depression and problems. Upset excited young attractive bearded guy freaking out hold head with hands, on window background, close up.
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“Depression, and I’m not talking about mild depression that can be managed via therapy (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and talk therapy) but severe, treatment-resistant depression, and dissociation.

I’ve tried therapy, medications, and exercise to treat my depression to no avail. I constantly grapple with self-image issues. I’ve considered ketamine treatment as a last resort. If that doesn’t yield any meaningful progress, I’m done. 

I’ve been alive for 32 years, and I can’t recall the last time I was genuinely happy and at peace with myself and the world around me. You can’t just ‘snap out of’ this. It takes extraordinary effort and persistence. Without motivation or willpower, therapy will fail.

When depression is clouding any rational or logical thought, finding a reason to do anything can be mentally and emotionally taxing. 

Additionally, without a support system, self-doubt and hopelessness fester until they reach a breaking point. I’d give an arm and a leg not to feel like this now.”


Disheveled drunk or female high on drugs at a nightclub
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“Addiction, or rather quitting an addiction. I used to think quitting smoking should just be a matter of willpower, but it’s not that simple.”


Young woman suffering from severe depression/anxiety/sadness, crying, tears coming from her eyes
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“Grief. It’s not something you ‘get over,’ it’s something you get through, and it’s with you for life.”


Upset poor girl showing empty pockets and looking frustrated about loans and debts, has no money, wearing white casual style sweater. Indoor studio shot isolated on pink background.
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“Poverty. Many people without financial problems complain about poor people’s bad choices, but they fail to grasp the entirety of being in that situation. In general, just most problems that other people have. ‘Why don’t they just do so and so?’ If you ask this, there’s a 98% chance you don’t understand what’s happening.”


Furious little boy waiting for dinner. Holding a spoon and fork in the hand
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“Hunger, serious, devastating hunger with no meal in sight.”


Young caucasian woman isolated on white background whining and crying disconsolately.
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“Death of a pet can be devastating.”


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“Being overweight, especially being significantly overweight and keeping weight off after you’ve lost it. It’s a hard road to go down. Having to deal with hunger the whole time and then managing never to give in so you don’t gain it back. It’s truly a constant battle.”


Worried couple going over finances at home in living room
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“$13k in credit card debt and $.41 in checking.”


Young man with a problem crying
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“Losing family. As a kid, you never really let it hit you deep. When you get older and understand, you can’t cope emotionally.”


Widow crying old
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“Widowhood. I never realized how difficult it was until I became one. It’s different from getting a divorce.”


Young sad couple, family having financial problems, depression, crisis. People divorce, stress concept.
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“Divorce. Telling the kids that their ‘perfect family’ is splitting up. Dealing with the finances, the assets, the emotional upheaval. Mine was a friendly divorce where we acted like adults and separated reasonably. I can’t imagine what a horrible breakup would have been like.”


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“Becoming a mom, I never believed people when they told me how much they loved their kids. You have no idea how much you can truly love until you hold that baby in your arms for the first time.”


Happy mother with newborn baby
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“Childbirth is nothing like it is portrayed on television and can be very different for each woman.”


Sad adult woman crying sitting on the sofa holding pillow in the living room at home
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“Losing a pregnancy, especially if it’s early. People don’t know what to say. ‘At least it was early; you know you can get pregnant; you can try again.’  It’s hard to understand the level of emotion you can feel for a person who doesn’t exist yet and whom you have never met and how losing that future is devastating.

There is no funeral, no grave, no memories, just grief. Even getting pregnant again doesn’t necessarily help. Like, yes, I will be having a baby, but I also still really want that other baby. Wouldn’t wish it on anyone.”


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“Having a child with a disability. Everyone thinks they understand because of how many comments I’ve received from strangers, but they have no idea.”


Tired of everyday household mother sitting on floor with hands on face. Kid playing in messy room. Scaterred toys and disorder. Happy parenting
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“Being a stepparent. You have all the responsibility and hard work without authority or credit.”


Young blonde woman suffering for menstrual pain lying on sofa at home
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“Real back pain. Like, can’t get out of bed or think about anything else, intense, unrelenting pain. I have herniated discs and scoliosis sometimes, and it is nearly unbearable. People will say, ‘Oh man, I know what you’re going through; I pulled a muscle in my back once and could hardly move. You have no idea what I’m going through.'”


Close-up Of Young Happy Man Checking Blood Sugar Level With Glucometer
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“Diabetes. It’s a punchline on the internet, but it’s messed up.”


Pretty brunette shouting with hands on head on white background
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“Migraines. People who haven’t had one: oh, I get headaches sometimes, too; just drink more water, and you’ll be fine.

People who have had one: I’m so sorry, that’s awful; let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.”


Young hispanic woman wearing glasses crazy and scared with hands on head, afraid and surprised of shock with open mouth
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“Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). I used to abuse myself internally for being unable to ‘be better!’. Now I’m diagnosed and know that was wrong the whole time; I’m so kinder to myself. Others still aren’t, though, and that hurts.”


Teen girl furiously eating her food with ketchup on her face
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“Eating disorders. They’re incredibly romanticized, thus leading more people to succumb to disordered behaviors and potentially develop one themselves. Still, they have horrible and lifelong effects on your physical and mental health. 

For most of those who’ve recovered (physically, I mean, including me, but I’m still in the process), the thoughts never entirely go away, and you can never really eat like a ‘normal person’ without guilt or shame, and your thoughts still revolve around food, weight and the way your body looks 90% of the time.”


young pretty woman looking puzzled, confused and stressed, wondering between different options, feeling uncertain
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“Living in Israel. If more Americans had spent time there, they would understand the current situation much better.”


Sad and angry face. Emotional angry woman, upset girl. Screaming, hate, rage. Pensive woman feeling furious mad and crazy stress
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“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). My wife and I both have it, but we show it differently; she has flashbacks and freakouts seeing something on television or whatever triggers her outbursts. On the other hand, I have night terrors and will start swinging and screaming.”


feeling stressed, worried, anxious or scared, with hands on head, panicking at mistake
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“Having a seizure. Honestly, at least to me, it’s like having a blank space in time. In my case, you wouldn’t have known anything had happened if no one was around. You’re going about your day one minute, and the next, you wake up in a hospital bed. Honestly, it’s creepy how fast it happens.”


young adult pretty woman looking desperate and frustrated, stressed, unhappy and annoyed, shouting and screaming
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“Celiac disease. I’m not doing keto. I’m trying not to damage my gastrointestinal tract and esophagus permanently.”


Beautiful african american woman wearing camouflage army uniform doing stop gesture with hands palms, angry and frustration expression
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“Being in the military. There are books, movies, songs, and television shows about military life and war, and as someone who consumed them as a kid, none of it comes close to doing it.”

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