Ever have some just go completely unhinged, with no warning or precedent?

[Yes, c.f. the Vegas shooter…]

Preferably it was someone you knew well (fairly well), someone whom you simply never thought could just totally lose their shit like they did, but they did.

When I worked for an oil company, a coworker went violently bonko after being exposed to hydrogen sulfide in the field. He had to be hauled away from work by the police and was placed in an institution for about a week. After about two weeks, he was back to his normal self and was quite upset to hear about his adventures.

In casual conversation, an acquaintance of mine suddenly and unexpectedly made it clear that he was suffering from schizophrenia. He was entirely calm, however.

Is that a known or predictable effect of hydrogen sulfide?

Not in this violent of a fashion but yes. One was a coworker who had a total meltdown and started ranting and cursing and throwing some things but not at people in particular. He was among the happiest and most of us would have claimed stable of us idiots who work in Da Jungle; he was walked out in cuffs and we heard he ended up under medical care of one sort or another. Another was a relative who again was the pillar of sanity until one day she just sat down, started crying, and basically didn’t speak for much for the next month; although after the first day she was hospitalized. It happens.

I knew a respected elder from Yap (in Micronesia) who suddenly went bonkers. I didn’t witness it, but I heard about it - he was sitting at the dinner table with other people, pointed at the chicken in the serving dish, and announced in all seriousness, “I can bring this bird back to life and make it fly!”

I don’t know what had gone wrong with him, but after a while (a few months, maybe) of being completely delusional, he made a full recovery and returned to his normal life. I’ve always found it a totally inexplicable story.


I don’t think it is. I worked for the oil company for two years and never heard of another case like my coworker. He did not normally work outside, but on this field trip, it was known that he had been exposed to H2S. His psychotic behavior began shortly after the trip. The company never admitted that he had H2S poisoning, but the man and his coworkers firmly believed it was the cause. It was a frightening time because this normal guy went psycho, and there was no official diagnosis or prognosis. When we learned that the symptoms had passed, we all breathed a huge sigh or relief.

So lemme see if I read that right: She sat down, started crying, and after ONE day of that she was hospitalized?

One of my uncles had an episode many years ago. He was an exec who ended up in some cycle of constantly being laid off, and after finally landing a desperately needed job, got another pink slip.

He apparently entered some type of fugue state* and disappeared. His wife and teen kids couldn’t find him and neither could the police. At their urging, I actually flew my plane around the county looking for his car. His wife eventually noticed a lot of camping gear missing from the storage room and they limited their searches to campgrounds. He was found sitting mutely at a state park picnic table with a coleman stove and a sleeping bag. He never said a word as they led him to a car and brought him home.

He’s OK now though.
*I don’t know if this is the right word for it.

Not as serious, but the woman who is now my wife lost it at a rec league co-ed softball game. I had no idea she was anything other than averagely competitive, based on previous games.

Close game, final inning. We’re in the field, up by two, she’s the catcher. Runners on 2nd and 3rd. Batter puts the ball in play, runners checked, out at first, runner at third tries to score, throw home, get him. Runner at second goes, my future wife makes a nice play to third, runner is out. Or is he? The umpire had lost track of the outs and runners, and wasn’t looking at third.

You could tell he knew he messed up - his face fell. He had to make a call, and goes with ‘safe’. The future mother of my children goes absolutely apeshit - cursing, throwing her glove down. Umpire ejects her, we don’t have a replacement woman to keep the 5/5 rule in place, forfeit the game.

Later in life, my children were the ones teaching yours f-bombs in pre-school, learned when Mommy dropped things in the kitchen.

One of my room mates had a friend that I knew casually. That friend got a job out of state for six months. He came back, but was now a mental wreck. He was super spacey, could not sit or stand still, just a total mess. He apparently had gotten involved with a religious cult, but we could never find out which one. He was pretty much impossible to talk with.

I eventually lost track of him.

At university one guy went psycho during a student disco. Fortunately the local student rugby club were also there and sat on him until the authorities arrived.

A former co-worker went totally bonkers on the real estate broker, screaming and swearing at him. I left my desk and went to the other side of the office by the door to make my escape if necessary. Suddenly there’s a loud CRASH. The nutjob had turned over the broker’s desk on to him. He then goes to his own cubicle like nothing happened.

I went outside and called the cops. They escorted him out of the office, and the broker went to the emergency room. Several co-workers and members of the boss’s family were ready to do a number on the guy.

When I was a teenager, the next door neighbor that we occasionally did things with suddenly decided that she was being pursued by the devil, that I was the messenger of the devil, and my little brother was the messenger of God, and she asked to stay over suddenly in the night and my mom said yes assuming this might be a domestic violence issue, and she stayed up all night in my brothers room with her little boy lighting candles and writing prayers. She then took my brother the next day to do some chores and then thankfully left town without doing anything bad to us except throwing out my Deck of Many Things (which I kept in a closed drawer in my room!) and leaving prayer notes all around that we kept discovering for the next few months. She lost custody of her child but mainly because she took him out of school for several weeks when she fled the city.

Disco will do that to a body…

I have none except the mundane “preacher’s wife abandons spouse and kids for biker” or “cow-orker arrested for pedophilia”. Both behaviors were definitely “unhinged”, but no clue how sudden it was.