While taking my daily scroll, I came across the question, “What do people not understand or not fully understand unless they’ve been through it and experienced it?” The internet responded to deliver this authentic list of circumstances you’ll never fully understand without experiencing it for yourself.
“I rarely speak of it to my civilian friends and coworkers. It’s not even because it’s hard for me to talk about. I’ve just accepted that they will never “get it” in any real way.”
2. Addiction and Recovery
“Addiction and recovering from an addiction,” one said. “Most people assume that even if you are clean, you’re still lesser than others. They treat it like a character flaw – you’re too lazy to quit. They don’t understand how thoroughly it hijacks you.”
“I’m desperately telling myself to stop while putting on my shoes and jacket to walk to the liquor store for the third time in a week. It’s like my conscious mind is trapped in my head with no control, while the addiction controls all motor functions, walking me to the liquor store and lifting the glass to my mouth.”
3. Domestic Abuse
“Domestic abuse,” shared one. Another mocked, “wHy dIdN’t yOu JuSt LeAvE?” Another added, “So often on this app, people blame the victims for not leaving instead of blaming the abusers! They also boast under the posts, ‘Well, I would just leave/ I wouldn’t stay in that situation,’ like there’s a reason people have a hard time leaving domestic abuse situations. Have some empathy!”
One user commented, “I think the best way to describe it is the feeling of never being alone. Even after you think they stopped, even if there’s no way they could be nearby, you never feel alone. Not in the shower. Not when you are sleeping. Not in the doctor’s office.”
She continued, “It feels like you are always being watched somehow. Sometimes it even feels like they can read your mind. The feeling you get when you finally get home from work or school and can just chill alone and not worry about how others perceive you? Gone forever.”
5. The Visa Process
Someone answered, “The Visa Process. Not sure about the complexity of other countries, but in the UK, it’s not as easy as the common folk believe. They also don’t understand that those who go through it, ending paying taxes, fees, and national insurance but can’t claim benefits. Almost no one knows that.”
“Anxiety,” one asked, “I’m tired of feeling guilty every second of my life. Can’t I ever relax?” ” People say that they get anxious too, but anxiety over certain situations is entirely different than the constant anxiety felt in clinically diagnosed anxiety disorders,” another shared.
7. Being in Love
“Love. The first time I fell in love, I could suddenly understand all those cheesy love songs I used to hate,” someone stated. Another added, “The first time you get heartbroken, the heartbreak songs hit you differently also.” Lastly, someone said, “Also, being loved back. It’s a different experience from loving someone without being loved back.”
8. Becoming Disabled
“Becoming disabled,” shared one. “Especially while relatively young. You have a house payment and kids, are saving for retirement, furthering or paying for your education, and living your best life. But then, your health is gone, and your income is cut in half (at best). Disability in America is forced poverty.”
“The losses are catastrophic. Your savings goes first, then your retirement. Next is your home. You hang onto your car for appointments until it breaks down, and it costs two months of income to repair. Finally, you are destitute, and CPS takes your kids because you cannot provide for them.”
9. Eating Disorder
“Omg yeah, when I say I have an eating disorder, people tell me that I should just eat and I would be fine if I wasn’t so self-centered that I wouldn’t eat because I had “bad body image.”
10. Sexual Assault
One user answered, “Sexual assault. Saying they’d fight back if it were them. Or why wouldn’t you report it? Unless you go through something traumatic, you can’t know how you’ll react, especially because most sexual assault isn’t by a stranger.”
“It’s someone you know. Your spouse, the person you’re dating, your best friend, a buddy of years, or an acquaintance. That fact keeps many people quiet because they’re afraid no one will believe it happened. After all, “He’s such a good guy.”
“Migraines. Nothing like getting the aura and knowing your day is shot,” stated one. Another said, “Yup. The tingling feeling either in your lips or fingers, and you’re done. Or just the reduced eyesight. A quick way to mess up your day and the next two or three.” Many agreed they don’t like when people express that they get headaches. Migraines are not just a headache.
One person shared, “I lost my wife unexpectedly and became a single parent almost overnight. The stupid holiday commercials made me want to live in a hole for the next two years. Grief sucks, and unless you’ve been through it, it seems like everyone tells you it will get better. But it doesn’t. You learn to live with the loss.”
“Also, the – It’s God’s will, people? God’s will, to what, take a wife and mother away from a family? It doesn’t sound loving to me. The people say it like it’s comforting. Always with a smile.” Another added, “Along with the people who say ‘They are in a better place.’ Where is it better than with their family? My mother-in-law said it to my husband once after we lost our son. I have never heard him so angry.”
“Psychosis,” said one. “I’ve had a couple of psychotic breaks, and it’s terrifying. You are just lost in another dimension, and it’s hellish. Your mind is blinded and deafened to reality. I get annoyed when people use the word to describe someone who’s just angry or having a tantrum. Because actual psychosis is a severe, life-threatening issue.”
14. Being Accused of a Crime You Didn’t Commit
“Being accused of a crime you didn’t commit. It’s a hard thing to go through. Even after investigating and the case is dropped, people treat you like you got away with it,” someone shared. Another added, “Now imagine doing time for someone else’s crime. You can’t.”
The number one voted response is poverty. “Nobody can understand the chronic decision fatigue and inevitable judgment when they see even the slightest misspending.”
“Right? And not like, “Oh, I guess I’ll have to skip that vacation to make rent poverty. More like the – I’ve eaten nothing but beans, bologna, and bread for two weeks. I’m a month behind on rent, I just got a shut-off notice for my heat, and my car is making funny noise poverty. It breaks you in so many ways,” another confessed.
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Inspired by this thread – photos for illustrative purposes only.
Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing, a website that provides information about addiction, recovery, mental wellness, spirituality, and resources to help people succeed in rebuilding their lives. Elizabeth has education and experience with addiction, healing, and spiritual studies. She is passionate about learning, teaching, and loving her neighbor.