One of the most interesting threads in Reddit’s AskReddit forums right now, both timely and evergreen, is this question: Gunshot wound survivors of reddit: what does it feel like to be shot? Below, cherry picked for you, are some of the thread’s most diverse and dramatic responses. These stories should come with a *trigger warning* (no pun intended) for anyone who has suffered domestic violence or been to war.
I didn’t even realize that I had been shot through the face because the only real pain I felt was from the exit wound behind my ear. It was an excruciating burning sensation, but what I remember most was the horrifying feeling of the hot blood pouring out of my mouth and down my back. I absolutely thought I was going to die, but never actually lost consciousness until I went into surgery at the hospital…
…My son (7 at the time) and I were coming home late from visiting family. I let him out at [our] front door so he could go inside to use the bathroom and was about to drive around back to park the car when I noticed an old junker car idling in the street at the entrance to our driveway. I knew something wasn’t right, parked the car and ran to catch up with my son at the front door. As I got there, a man with a gun pointed at us came up from the side of our house. He told me to “show me the money” but I was speechless. My son was trying frantically to open the front door and my husband inside heard the commotion and came to the door. As he saw what was happening, he pushed open our heavy iron door into the guy, knocking him backward. The guy shot (we believe at my husband) hitting me in the face as he ran off. Luckily our neighbor had already called the cops and they arrived quickly. Lots of blood loss and a long recovery, but no residual physical damage really. The scar on my nose is hardly noticeable and the scar behind my ear stays covered by my hair most of the time so I don’t really think about it. Also, I was pregnant at the time all of this happened, and my son was born a few months later perfectly healthy. Pretty crazy shit.
I was shot two times in the back and once in the arm in Afghanistan. I’ve posted the story a few times on reddit before I shall copy/paste it. I was only conscious for about 7 minutes if that. I felt pain pretty much the entire time I was awake. But as the minutes passed it was starting to go away and I kept falling asleep or passing out. Just kept putting my head down and closing my eyes because it felt so good. It is really hard to describe the pain, I felt frozen on the ground and couldn’t move or breathe well at all. It felt like my guts had been ripped apart and pulled out of my body. I was thinking for sure I was going to die…the pain, the blood and the screaming around me..I was also sure the guy was going to finish me off and walk up to me and shoot me in the head Later i found out he did actually walk over me but was distracted by others shooting at him. Here is basically what my mind was going though. Minute 1-2: Holy shit I’ve been shot, Ive been fucking shot! HELP ME HELP ME I DON’T WANT TO DIE!(I was trying to scream) Minute 2-4 : Please if there is a god let me be accepted into heaven (I didn’t want to just die….to become nothing and go into blackness as I was seeing. It really scared me into wanting there to be an afterlife) Minute 4-6: I just want to go to sleep and die. I have accepted my death. My family my friends I love them so much Minute 4-6 was happening while I was going in and out of conciousness. My squad leader was slapping my face trying to keep me up. He is also the one that mainly took down the gunman. They then picked me up and ran with me somewhere and my last memory was hearing a rotor of a blackhawk. Next thing I know I woke up in Walter Reed a week later confused as shit thinking I was captured. Yes I am in the US Army and was shot by an Afghan National Army soldier on the FOB we share with them. I lost a very good friend that day too who I watched get shot right in front of my eyes before I then got shot myself. There are a few articles of the incident if anyone cares to read. PM me because it has my name and a few others in it.
I got an in and out through the shoulder in Afghanistan, it didn’t really hurt because I’d just got hit by an RPG blast too ha. For me anyway I didn’t immediately think I was going to die, I thought I’d lost my leg and for some reason that freaked me out more. I didn’t really think about it much after I realized I hadn’t lost it, I mean pain wise. A lot of other guys were hit a lot worse or dead so I guess my head was occupied, shit just stopped working though (my right leg/left wrist). I dont really remember pain at the time, but i mean 7 or 8 guys had just got killed at the OP so getting hit again was a very very real possibility. Me and another guy managed to crawl out though after another group came up to reenforce and I hopped to a medevac with some help.
It fucking hurt like hell later on though but I had drugs by that point. Unfortunately if you want to get out of the hospital youve gotta be off IV drugs so i stopped those asap. So I mean it fucking hurt but percs and plenty of alcohol and it knocked that shit right out (until the next morning).
I’ve been shot on three separate occasions and all three felt different. The first time, I was shot in the back of the arm with a small caliber weapon (.25ACP) when I was a teenager. It burned like holy hell, but more so, the psychological shock made me become weak and lose all coordination.
The second time was a shotgun blast to the small of my back, butt, and thighs with a mixture of bird shot and rock salt from a decent distance away. I didn’t notice at first, it was like a big push. The problem is that bird shot and rock salt are both too small of a particulate to be removed. You have to wait until the salt dissolves and the bird shot has to work it’s own way out of your flesh like little pimples that spit metal when you pop them. That sucked.
The last time was a .45 to the face. I only caught the jacket and some other shrapnel but holy hell did it do a number on my mouth. I still have a hard time saying “F’s” or “P’s” correctly anymore because of the damage and the shrapnel left behind in my lower lip. That one felt like being punched in the face by a big, fat bouncer. All in all I think being stabbed hurts worse, I’d rather be shot if I had the choice.
Although I can’t say about how it feels to be shot, I’ll say this: having a gun point-blank in your face when you’re powerless to do a thing is a terror that sticks to you. The comments here have varying reactions to the actual wound, but the psychological reaction in my particular experience is worse than any physical pain I’ve ever incurred.
First thought: did that hit me? doesnt feel like it. Try to move. Holy fuck it hit. Does it hurt? Well blood is gushing out. I was very confused.
Oddly didnt hurt at all until the next day. The doctor gave me plenty of pain meds to help me sleep so when I jumped out of bed I was given a harsh reminder that I was very much injured.
I had an abusive boyfriend when I was a teen, one night he had been playing poker with his buddies and drinking. I had been told to lay in bed and wait. Which is where I was always told to be when I was to be at his neck and call but also out of the way. After about 4 or 5 hours of him and his buddies playing poker and drinking, he called for me to come out and sit with him. I did, when I got there, his one friend made a comment like, “how the hell did you get you bitch to obedient?” And my boyfriend replied, “she knows where she stands.”
Now, one of my boyfriends friends (we’ll call him Joe from now on) had had his suspicions about my boyfriend (who will be Alex from now on). Joe had asked me a few times if I was ok, but I never said anything because I was too scared and alone. At this point Alex had made me cut contact with all my family, friends, school. Everything.
So, while the boys kept playing and drinking, Alex told me to sit on his lap to give him good luck. Alex continued to lose, and Joe could see that I was getting nervous. I knew it would be a worse night for me if Alex lost all his money. So Joe, thinking he was helping, started trying to cheat to make Alex win. This is where I get fuzzy on the details because I’ve blocked out a lot of it. Alex figured out that Joe was cheating to lose, and he didn’t like that. So he was asking Joe why. Joe just said he must have hit a rough streak or something, Alex didn’t believe him, so he started getting aggressive towards Joe. I (stupidly) made a comment like, “leave him alone. Maybe he’s just bad at poker?” That made Alex feel like maybe there was a reason that I was standing up for Joe and started berating me and calling me a slut and how I was cheating on him with Joe and if I was so in love with him, why didn’t I just go home with him tonight. He slapped me across the face, which was the first time he had ever hit me in front of people, and Joe grabbed me and said it was time to go. Alex got up and took a swing at Joe, they had a bit of a scuffle while the 3 other guys tried to calm everyone down.
Joe grabbed my hand, and started to take me up the stairs and outof the house. Alex was yelling after me, telling me that I was a good for nothing whore, and how Joe would see how slutty I was and I wasn’t to come back to him when I fucked up with Joe. As Joe and I were getting into his car, Alex came running out of his house, pointing a gun at Joe. Joe said something like, “Alex, just calm down. I’m going to take llama to my place so everyone can have a breather and we’ll figure it out later” Alex then turned his gun on me instead, and said something like, “it’s not your fault, Joe, it’s hers.”
Joe tried to tackle Alex but the trigger had been pulled. Luckily Joe had pushed his arm just enough that the bullet hit my ear and didn’t do too much damage. I have a tiny bit of hearing lose, my ear had to be reconstructed, but I made it out alive.
Never commented before. I guess it’s time. I was robbed and shot on August 19th of 2006. I was put on my knees and shot in the back of the head, execution style. The bullet, a .40, entered my head directly beneath and behind my right ear and exited about two inches below my Adam’s apple. I fell forward, face first. I didn’t feel myself hit the ground. Retrospectively, I was in shock. But at the time it was slow and painless. Like it is in the movies. It was quiet too. Loud first, a big bang, like a firework right behind my head. Then silence. I didn’t know what had happened. But I was still conscious. I recall the whole thing. Fortunately (?) I felt the front door slam far away as the robbers ran out. They weren’t prepared to murder that day. Things had gone wrong for all of us. The door was heavy, it was a vibration in my otherwise distant world. I was looking ahead, across the plane on my white carpet. Things were diagonal; somehow I registered it was wrong, but I didn’t mind. It was only when I saw my blood on my white carpet that I realized something was wrong. It was red. The carpet was white. I knew there was cleaning do. I thought to myself.. “oh… That’s bad. That doesn’t belong there…” Then I began to recall what had lead up to it. Being marched around my home for the valuables. Them asking me if I had rope. The hammer I grabbed and swung, unsuccessfully before I heard the firework. Then I knew what had happened. It’s hard for me to say what it felt like because I didn’t feel much until I was in the hospital. But I do recall the way it burned at first. Then I was just wet, and cold, and getting colder quickly. I called 911, and told them I was shot, and I thought it was in the head. I tell the story sometimes comically. But in truth I had to listen to the call for testimony. I was meek, desperate, gargling on my own blood. It was my worst moment, recorded for posterity’s sake. What does it feel like? It felt like a cut. A deep, white cut. It felt like all my memories and my personality and what I was or would be were draining out of a hole I couldn’t plug.