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Fonkou Djoendia

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What is your biggest regret so far?

I am a teenager. And I love asking questions. Especially to adults. And TED is a wonderful community filled with intelligent people! I think we learn more by asking questions. Please tell me, What is your biggest regret so far in life?

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    Jun 8 2012: That's one thing I know it's going haunt me forever... The day before my cousin committed suicide back in 1998, I was with him, and I couldn't see that coming. I blamed myself and endless regret on why I couldn't spot that and do something to stop that.

    I know, it will be very hard to walk out of this shadow as I have been trying for the past 14 years...
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      Jun 8 2012: Dear Leslie,
      That is a hard one to let go of....I understand.

      Years ago, there was a friend released to my care from the hosp. after trying to end her life. For about three years, she stayed with me for a few months, and went home to an abusive relationship off and on. During all of this time, I was connected with her health care team (M.D. Psychologist, councelor, etc.) as we all tried to support her in her life journey, which always seemed to be very challenging for her.

      Finally, she got to the point where she was ready to end the abusive relationship, she got a job that she liked, and wanted to get an apartment on her own. We all felt that she was ready to take these steps, so we supported her in the move.

      I visited her in her new apartment, which was lovely...she seemed content, well adjusted...still liking her job....everything seemed to be going well. The next day, her daughter found her dead in that lovely apartment. She had taken an overdose of perscription drugs...again....and this time she was successful in ending her life.

      I still sometimes ask myself....was there more I could have done? Did we ( health care providers) miss something? Were we not in tune enough to realize that she was still vulnerable? I tell you this story because sometimes, no matter how much we do....how aware we are...how much we try to encourage others, they will often still make decisions which we do not understand.

      Be kind, understanding, compassionate, empathic and unconditionally loving of yourself. We are not responsible for the choices others make. We can be as aware as possible, and still not be totally aware of what another person is thinking or feeling, unless s/he chooses to share that information with us.

      My thoughts and love are with you...give yourself the love you need to "walk out of this shadow".
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        Jun 8 2012: Thank you, Colleen! Thanks for sharing your experiences. Maybe it was hard for me because I was 17 when that happened. It was a life changing after that, I left my country after 2 years, because I felt hopeless back then. My cousin was close to me, we grew up together, everywhere in the city seems kept reminding me of him...

        Thank you!
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          Jun 8 2012: Leslie,
          I'm sure it was very difficult for you. You will probably be reminded of him always...all ways. Remember the togetherness you shared...remember the good times you had together. Remember that you probably gave your cousin a great gift with your times together, as he gave you. Remember that we don't always know what battles a person is waging within him/herself. Most of all, remind yourself every now and then that as a 17 year old person, you did your very best, with the information you had at that time.

          You can hold onto the joy that you and your cousin experienced, and maybe you can let go of regret or responsibility for the choice your cousin made....yes?
    • Jun 8 2012: Leslie:

      The most influential and inspiring TED speakers with degrees ranging from psychology to astrophysics to english could probably not have been able to decipher the level of depression your cousin endured. Regrets should emerge from activities or actions within our control – for the past fourteen years you have let someone else’s actions control your regret. While I do not know the exact situation, I do know that your cousin’s suicide was not your fault, nor could it have been prevented.

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