I want to be young again sometimes—often lately.

It hurts to feel I’ve missed out on so much.

My psychiatrist says those of us who suffer much have a special role to play once we’re healed. A purpose. She is like a spiritual mentor. Teacher more than doctor really. So— I have a purpose, she says.

Not knowing what that is yet, sometimes I just mourn my lost life.

It’s okay, it feels good to just feel. Pure mourning. No sense of being a victim or feeling sorry for myself. No—this is different. At it’s core it is compassion. I am loving the part of me that has been hurt and respecting her by allowing myself to feel the great sense of loss I have.

I look towards the day this all makes sense. And I trust that it will. There is a sense of purpose in how my life is unfolding—like it has a direction. But that doesn’t make the pain less. The resurfacing of emotion bubbling forth as I come off more and more of the drugs. I suppose it will become more intense before it settles. But settle it will.

I believe I’ve regressed having my mother here. Tomorrow she will be gone. I love her even with all her faults, but I am so glad I will have my space once again.


19 thoughts on “Regrets

  1. Marja,
    I’m afraid I think that drugs are almost always unnecessary and that alternatives are not considered or explored so most people simply don’t know this. I know too many people who have histories like yours, not just like mine who recover once free of drugs…

    People relapse when they go off meds because they don’t go off them responsibly and with the help of someone who knows what they are doing. This whole blog gives examples and studies to this effect.

    Look at my post on Pat Deegan…it’s on the home page today a couple down from the top…It’s called “what is your survivor mission?

    She was extremely ill and was on powerful drugs for years. She is recovered now and drug free.

    You can read the stories on my Recovery Stories page….all people who were on oodles of drugs and many psychotic as well.

    I know of hundreds of “seriously mentally ill” people who have freed themselves from drugs…

    We will have to agree to disagree.

    If you’re curious about what I’m saying I would be happy to direct you to studies and stories of people who defy the mainstream belief that drugs are necessary.

    I do not want to diminish your experience and I’m glad you feel happy and healthy…

    May your happiness and health continue.


  2. Having to suffer from an illness that is drug induced would make me angry as well. I can see how you would have regrets. My story is a much different one.

    One thing I would want to be very careful about when warning people about drugs, though, is that the people who truly need them to survive are not discouraged from taking them.

    Taking psychiatric drugs is something so many people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder fear. They take the meds for a while and, when they start feeling better, come off them. This is a classic story. Then they relapse.

    When I was learning to live with my illness (which at the time was thought to be schizophrenia) I constantly kept stopping my meds. Then I would end up in deep trouble again. I know that I would have spent many years in hospital if I had not been taking the medications. And this is the way it is for many. Medications have made a close-to-normal life possible for me.

    But – I know. There are too many doctors out there who are all to eager to prescribe and prescribe without taking the time to fully understand what’s going on with their patients.


  3. Hi Marja,
    thanks for stopping by.

    I have no doubt that I will be much better once I get off meds. Unlike you, it’s very clear to me that I was misdiagnosed and that I suffer from iatrogenic illness—ie: drug induced illness.

    The biggest reasons I have regrets is because I feel this was done to me by incompetent drug happy docs who are controlled by big pharma.

    Part of my healing does have to be coming to terms with this history of mine and seeing how it has made me already someone who understands pain and is able to be compassionate and is also leading to something which will be more fruitful in the future.

    I already feel like I am doing much to help others avoid the pitfalls I landed in. In that respect it’s already clear that it’s been for a reason.

    I do have a lot of hope…thanks.


  4. Hi Gianna,

    I found you through Susan’s Bipolar Wellness blog. I haven’t got around to reading very much of your blog, so I don’t really know your story. But you told us that: “My psychiatrist says those of us who suffer much have a special role to play once we’re healed. A purpose.” That is something I very much agree with.

    I’ve taken psychiatric meds for forty-three years, since I first got sick at the age of nineteen. They’ve helped me survive. Whenever I’ve tried to go without, I’ve suffered for it. Right now I’m on a concoction that works wonders for me and because of that – as well as many other coping helps, which includes a strong faith in God and his love – I now lead a rich life. And part of this is because of the purpose I have found – in the way your psychiatrist describes. I have found a special role, writing to help others who suffer as I did and founding church-sponsored support groups for people with mood disorders.

    Looking back on years of depression, mania, and psychosis, I now don’t regret any of what I went through. I wouldn’t ask to go through it again, yet I know I wouldn’t be the person I am today, a person who knows how to have compassion for others, without having been through the fire myself.

    I wrote a post yesterday that you might like to read: “Hard to Believe.” Looking back at where I was years ago, I find it hard to believe I could be as well as I am now. There is so much hope, Gianna. And the hell you have gone through can form the building blocks that make you into an outstanding person, a person who knows how to survive…and thrive.


  5. Jim,
    thanks for that beautiful comment.

    It’s great to hear someone say they have no regrets. I used to feel that way…I felt like what you said…I did the best I could at any given time…

    I want to get back to that.

    thanks for sharing.


  6. This series of messages is really intense. Everyone is getting close to the hurt in the heart. I needed to face my hurt, disappontments, and most of all broken dreams. For years, I thought God was picking on me. It felt good to share all this hurt with my AA sponsor. Life has a way of throwing up giant walls. The timing, scheduling of the walls, varies with the person. some might be blind from birth. Others may get crippled as a teen. Others just drop over dead at 30 or 35. Why do these things happen? We may never know. Somehow, we have to make some sort of sense to it all then move on with life. Somehow, we have to accept ourselves as we are and the world as it is. Then we can make the best of whatever cards we were dealt.

    At present, I have no regrets. I do not wish that my life was any different. I used to beat myself up over bad decisions of the past. Today, I realize everything I did made sense at the time. I did the best with the information I had available to me at the time.

    Sure, I could have applied myself eary in life. Mayby, I could have gotten my doctorate and had much better jobs with lots more money. But, I really do not know if I would have been happier. My struggles have given me loads of friends and loads of gratitude for I still remember where I came from.

    I read a lot of newspapers and watch a lot of news. it seems that many rich people seem to have a lot of suffering. So many go through so many marriages and relationships with everyone writing about them. So many rich people end up bankrupt. So many prominent people get caught doing awful things.

    I think I’d rather deal with my problems. Thanks agian for this great blog. You make people think. You have a way of putting your pain down in a way that we can relate to. Keep up the good effort.
    Jim S


  7. I’m sending some more love your way too…
    My regrets are that I wasted so much of my youth working my a$$ off, & pouring ungodly amounts of time & energy into what ultimately turned into a dead-end relationship (1st marriage).
    I’ll never get that time back, but I’ve still got a few things I can do right now: enjoying these last few precious yrs of my son’s childhood in the limited time that I have to spend w/him, for one thing!


  8. Hey Gianna,

    i thought about your post all day (and about my son, your mom and of course my own mom)…so i decided to come back to tell you one more thing that’s really powerful, and knowing it just might have a huge impact on your healing…instead, i discovered how nice it was to find more of your kind words on subsequent posts–i especially needed to see the words on ‘bigness’ and ‘forgiveness.”

    thanks, again…oh, and that one more very powerful thing i wanted to tell you???? you already knew that, too and you wrote it tonight:

    …”But wow, she loves me so completely, nonetheless—as much as any person can love another.”

    i just wanted to be sure you know how much you are loved…


  9. Your psychiatrist is so right. And: you’re already playing that role. Have been doing so for quite a while. I’d say, from the moment on, when you decided no longer to let yourself be kept prisoner in an artificial and unconscious changelessness, rigidness.

    Me too, I sometimes mourn that I missed out on a lot, although it wasn’t psychiatry that took all that from me. It was “normality”. But then I wonder: would I be happier today, if I’d had kids, if I’d got my university degree, were married, living at my own place, driving my own car? Would I be happier today, if I’d been “one of them” with lots of friends, if I’d felt a sense of community, instead of one of alienation, if I hadn’t felt like an onlooker, watching everyone else living life, unable to participate, as a kid, as a teenager?

    Much, if not all, of which psychiatry terms “symptoms” of an “illness”, I today regard a gift, though certainly a “dangerous” one, yes. I missed out on a lot, but I got something else in return. It took a h… of a long time and an enormous amount of suffering to figure that out, and it isn’t recognized by “normality”. That in itself often being a source of suffering.

    Don’t go into the trap of thinking that “normality’s” values are the only ones really valuable! But, actually, I don’t think, I need to tell you. You know already, don’t you?


  10. Thanks everyone,
    these responses are very moving.

    I’m 43 now…somehow that gives me pause and makes me realize that all is relative. I mourn not having a child, you mourn not being able to be exactly what you wanted for your child…

    we both have today as the start of the rest of our lives, though, don’t we!

    I feel deeply grateful right now. Very sad still—the sense of mourning still intact—just took mom to the airport. I am grateful because without her I could not be getting healthy…she helps financially with my medical costs, none of which are covered by insurance.

    I rejoice that she is in my life and it hurts too because I love her and we cannot be emotionally close the way I’d like because that’s just the way that it is. But wow, she loves me so completely, nonetheless—as much as any person can love another. It’s very humbling.


  11. Gianna,
    What a touching post! I believe that mourning is an important part of the healing process. While I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 43, and didn’t begin the downward spiral on medication until I was 46, I still believe that drugs totally affected my ability to share my son’s childhood.

    The moment I was well, I was always there for him. And even when I was sick, I tried so very hard. But we missed out on so much that is irreplaceable.

    I mourned that for years. When I was done, I was finally able to pursue wellness without a heavy heart!



  12. Oh, about family reading blogs. I am not ready for that. I did tell one of my relatives. She emailed me back and said that she believed in me and she asked for the url. My daughter and my hubby know I have a blog, but the have never asked to read it. Daughter could probably figure it out if when she logs onto my computer if she really wanted to. I don’t think hubby would figure it out. Plus, he is sooo busy, I doubt he has time.

    Some day, probably in three years, I will become more public.


  13. Gianna–
    Just want you to know that you inspire me…you have so much insight and compassion, and your writing sounds so wise.
    Mourning is part of the natural progression of grief…it’s wonderful that you are now able to feel enough to be able to mourn.
    Love and hugs to you, my dear friend,


  14. j,
    also, I want you to try not to blame yourself for your son’s situation. I don’t know particulars but even if family dynamics are a part of the picture, they are much bigger than anything you may or may not have done. (in most cases anyway—of course in cases of extreme abuse it’s different, but I will assume that is not the case with you)

    we inherit our family dynamics and healing is a lifetime process for all of us in the human race.

    forgive yourself any imperfections and love all you can today. there are no perfect parents. you are not at fault, neither is my mom.

    all we can do is become as fully conscious as possible NOW…we cannot change the past…don’t beat yourself up…

    and I suppose I should take that advice for myself too…no changing the past…I am what I am because of my history…I can look to the future to see what I can still accomplish and use the wisdom of my history.


  15. yes, ng, you’ve got the gist of it.

    I also would have liked to create a more coherent career—so that I could have that sense of purpose I’m moving towards now earlier in my life.

    In any case I don’t feel like this all the time. Like I said, I do believe my mom made me regress.

    thanks for your good wishes. I hate to think I cause people pain in my writing, though I understand pain is not always a bad thing by any means. That I inspire you makes me glad.

    Mom is leaving at noon today, I’ll give her a hug.

    oh and, no, she doesn’t read my blog. She knows I have a blog but doesn’t know the name of it nor my pseudonym. I would not want any of my family reading my blog.


  16. Hi Gianna,
    I don’t know if I am hitting the gist of what you are feeling but here is how I feel:

    I think all of us who feel we have been duped by the psychiatric system want to be young again. We feel like our youth was stolen from us. I want to relieve my 20s and my 30s.

    But then sometimes I wonder if it isn’t just a natural part of aging to wish we could have done things differently.

    If I were young again, I would have never given up custody of my child. I would have never believed that I was not good enough for her.

    If I were young again, I would have found like hell to keep my marriage in tact.

    If I were young again, I would have known that there was nothing wrong with my brain. That in fact my terrible, debilitating depression was a normal reaction to what was happening in my life, or at least my perception of events.

    If I were young, I would know that I was okay just they way I was.


  17. Hi Gianna,
    …i am moved to tears, again(!)when i read this mournful post…whenever you write about your mom, i feel a knife go through my heart, wondering if that’s how my son feels about me, too…i’m a mom who is watching her (young adult) child suffer what you have…i cry every day. i search every day. i pray every day…real hard…i blame myself for some things, i know others were beyond my control, and i look for ways to make things right…i wonder if your mom ever reads your blog…i do and i thank you most sincerely for the understanding you have given me…i am sorry for your pain, Gianna, i pray for your complete healing…and i thank you, too, for the insight you give me (even when it hurts to read)…i would validate what your doc says about a purpose for all of your suffering–you are a mentor and a teacher to me…keep up the GOOD work you are doing…and please give your mom an extra hug for me if you read this before she leaves…she needs it…thanks again


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