We all have those moments in life when things become too heavy or too complicated and we can’t deal with them anymore.

And it can break us mentally and emotionally.

Let’s hear some real stories from AskReddit users about when this happened to them.

Fading away.

“Watching my grandma on my mom’s side go through hospice.

I have never seen a human slowly deteriorate like that. I was happy to think I would get to spend some time with her and comfort her because the year prior my other grandma died unexpectedly and I never got to say bye. As each day went on she slowly lost any ability to think or properly communicate to the point that it was like her mind was already gone.

When she was close to d**th she was making these gargling sounds that sounded like she was drowning. That sound alone is something I will never forget. It was the worst experience of d**th I have every experienced. It was literally watching a person you loved just slowly fade away mentally. The amount of weight she lost in just those few days….”

On duty.

“I’m a nurse and I’ve seen so many awful things, but for whatever reason one that sticks with me and pops up in my memories often happened in nursing school. I was doing clinicals (student nurse working in hospital) and my patient’s son had d**d in a car wreck the night before and the family was coming to tell him during my shift.

When they arrived I stepped out to give them privacy, but I heard his cry. The sound a parent makes when they are told their child is d**d is something that will chill you to the bone. He also happened to be on telemetry (a heart monitor) and I was watching his rhythm when he got the news. He threw several PVCs and I swear it was like watching his heart break.”

The worst birthday.

“I was going through the beginnings of a divorce, unbeknownst to me.

It was March 2020, and my birthday just happened to be on the day they announced the initial Covid lockdown. I got home late from work, and my wife at the time had done nothing for my birthday. I was in my 30s, didn’t really celebrate anymore anyway.

But no card, no gift, not even a mention of my birthday, and she’d eaten the last of my post-work meals. And of course everything is shut down and closed early so I go off trying to find a gas station for a protein bar.

I’m not really that put out, it’s par for the course. But I wake up early the next morning to take care of our 6-year-old. He’s autistic and emotional connection isn’t always the highest on his priority list.

But I’m in his room at 5 in the morning and he says, “Daddy it was your birthday yesterday! How come you didn’t get any presents?” I made something up and he asks, “Will you get any today?” I say, “Probably not, pal, but it’s okay. Grownups don’t really celebrate birthdays like kids do.”

He goes into his closet, gets all his construction paper, and starts taping it together. Then he starts wrapping up his own toys and arranges them in a pile of presents. He says, “This is for you, Daddy!” And he and I opened up presents for my birthday. I don’t remember a lot of my birthdays…but I remember this one.”

Out the window.

“My fiancée and I just broke our engagement and now aren’t even speaking.

The quote getting me through the days is “Tomorrow may not be better, but at least I will be different.””

That’s awful.

“My house caught fire when I was sleeping and I saw my baby’s crib go up in flames.

He survived but it f**ked me up hard.”

Missing her.

“My big sister (30) was rushed to hospital after having a terrible headache. I went to the hospital and she was in intensive care. The doctors told me she’d suffered a blood clot to the brain and was braind**d.

I remember blood in her ears. I cleaned it up and tried to make her look presentable for when family got there. The doctors had gone and I had to explain what had happened to my parents. I saw them break.

I said my goodbyes and left before her children came in to sat goodbye (2 months and 6 years old).

She was fine one day, then just… gone.

I miss her every f**king day.”


“Finding out my wife was cheating and lying about pretty much everything and my dad dying…. All in the space of a few months…

I’m a fu**ing shell of a man but keep the good side out and keep going for my kids.”

Had to quit.

“My last job in IT.

I’d been working as a developer for nearly 25 years, pretty much since I left school . It had become very obvious to me over the last 10 years or so that what was expected of developers in terms of working hours was increasing.

The reality is that despite all the recent tech layoffs, there is still a shortage of developers because each one specialises in a different language or platform etc. If a company needs a certain number of developers and can’t fill those positions then the next best thing is to demand your existing developers work longer hours and come in at weekends etc. Of course the pay is good, but what’s the point of earning six figures a year when you don’t get to put your kids to bed in the evening because you’re working so late?

The last few jobs I was in had that issue, the general expectation to work late with criticism and negative performance reviews if you refused. I jumped between different companies hoping for something better and I thought I had landed in a good one.

It was a start-up in the food ordering industry and they seemed pretty cool at the start, but I quickly learnt that they were terrible. The founders expected you to be in the office until at least 8 or 9 every night and also expected you to answer any messages within minutes even at night-time and at weekends.

What broke me though was being on holiday with my family and getting a message from one of the founders that the main website and product of the company has gone down. They had an absolutely terrible deployment policy and would deploy immediately when software was ready rather than waiting till less busy days which would be safer.

They deployed a new buggy version with no rollback script and the whole thing came tumbling down. The founder demanded that absolutely everyone return to the office immediately, I told him I was on holiday and his response was to say if I didn’t come back I would be out of a job.

I was tempted to refuse but I’d only been in the job a few weeks so I came back from my holiday early. When I got back to the office I was told by the same guy that I should have stayed on holiday because I didn’t have the skills to fix the problem as it wasn’t anything I had worked on.

I quit and while I didn’t have a nervous breakdown, the whole thing affected me emotionally in a really bad way and it took several months for me too to get motivated again. I made the decision to get out of IT and now I’m self-employed as a woodworker/carpenter.”

Job trauma.

“I was a police officer.

Dr**k driver hit a kid with 2 other kids in the truck. Pulling them out of the vehicle, and losing one life that day wrecked me.

It’s one of the reasons I’m not a cop anymore.”


“I was viciously attacked by a Pitbull that ripped half my face apart. While I was in the ER I called my girlfriend who I loved and she broke up with me right there over the phone.

This led to extreme alc**olism and 0 self-confidence as I looked like a monster. It took about 2.5 years to recover from the incident.

I still have PTSD if a bigger dog runs up to me without a leash. I have to be on meds to avoid panic attacks if they happen to trigger.”

Do you have any stories like this?

If so, share them with us in the comments.

Thanks, friends!