Marjan Apostolovic / Shutterstock
Every action has a reaction, and sometimes the reaction is much more awful and lasting than we could ever imagine. The following people made conscious decisions in their life and now having to live with the permanent, haunting consequences. Content has been edited for clarity.
Mila May / Shutterstock
"I decided not to change my official address from my mom's house despite no longer really living there at all (pop in every so often for dinner, a movie, or just reading a book) while I lived with my dad.
Two members of Homeland Security arrived at my office one day to inform me that child smut was detected being downloaded by my mom's IP address, and I am the prime suspect.
I was told I could not return to work (I work with kids) and I had to tell all my clients that I couldn't see them anymore. It broke my heart. They took my computer and phone, as well as those at my mother and father's houses, with no indication of how long before I get them back. When executing the warrant, I was lying in bed reading, and within 10 seconds of hearing a pounding on the door had four men in riot gear in my hallway pointing weapons at me. That memory has made it twice as hard to sleep as it already was as I irrationally await being arrested for something I not only didn't do and find abhorrent, but can't imagine anyone that had access to my mom's internet doing.
I can barely eat. I find little enjoyment in activities. I can't tell my friends what's going on due to a mix of shame and attorney advice. I feel like I'm living in a nightmarish parallel world where my real life is passing by without me. People keep telling me not to worry, that being innocent means I have nothing to worry about. As if innocent people have never been convicted of crimes before. I feel vulnerable as glass all day, terrified that no matter how things turn out, my career as a family therapist is over.
All because I decided it was too much bother to officially change my address from my mother's."
"I learned a lesson the hard way. About 10 years ago, during the height of my partying days, I accepted a white substance from a person who I (incorrectly) considered a friend. He told me not to worry about what it was. I stupidly accepted that.
Well, I experienced the worst fear I'd ever felt in my life. I couldn't move, couldn't talk, could barely breathe. I felt like I was choking and lost all feeling in my body. My limbs turned into jelly and I starting falling. He sat me down on a couch in the after-hours club we were in. I had this very clear feeling, that I still remember to this day, that death was a gigantic, dark bird. It was perched upon my shoulders, getting heavier and threatening to crush me under its weight.
It took all my effort to try to force words out of my mouth. I said, 'Can't breathe...hospital...home.' He called a cab and he and one of his bouncer buddies dragged me up the stairs to the street. He got in the cab beside me and took me home.
My boyfriend was away for the weekend, a fact this 'friend' was aware of. He took the keys from my purse, let himself into the apartment, and ended up taking advantage of me. In my (and my boyfriend's) bed. Later, he denied everything (even though I couldn't move). I didn't know anything about that stuff before this happened and after doing some reading about it, I guess I must have slipped into a 'k-hole.' I'm just lucky that I didn't die.
I went into a self-destructive mode for a couple of years afterward. My boyfriend dumped me (he blamed me for what happened and called me a harlot). He kicked me out of our apartment, I had to go back home to live with my (emotionally abusive) mother and start my life over from scratch. I ended up going to a 12 step program and have been clean for 8 years.
I learned my lesson; never accept substances from strangers, or suffer the consequences."
Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock
"I have a few:
1) I loved a woman that wasn't clean and I knew it... ended up with Herpes a month later. 1.5 years later and a move to Michigan so her father could pay for her master at MSU, she cheated with a frat boy and broke things off with me. In the course of moving up there, I used all financial resources I had available and some I technically didn't (welcome to credit card debt and low-wage employment at Walmart). I was also never able to get back into school after moving up there (despite trying for 6 months) so I eventually went into default.
So let's recap... Herpes, flawless 750+ credit score and savings to credit card debt, awful credit, so poor you're living in your grandparent's spare bedroom, defaulted student loans and did I mention herpes? I've been single now for almost 6 years and lonely. Prior to being afflicted, I was always in a relationship.
2) Smoking. Hey, it was fun and cool at the time...20 years later I'm starting to cough when I laugh hard.
3) My mother was going through some very difficult times through my teenage years and when I hit 20 or so, I needed to leave and get things moving... by that time I had already started regretting earlier decisions and felt I hadn't made the right progress. 6 months later she went downhill and I don't feel I was there enough for her - I was a state away and working through my own issues, I thought she would pull out of it. Instead, she put a weapon to her temple and pulled the trigger. 3 days later I had to make the call to take her off life support. Things could have ended a lot differently had I not been a poor son.
As for things now... I feel that if I don't pull myself out of my own hole, I may have a similar fate - I'd by lying if I said the thought didn't cross my mind often. Ever feel that you're at a turning point in your life and if you don't change something drastic now, things will become exponentially worse?"
Damir Khabirov / Shutterstock
"I decided to try and be a parkour expert. My crappy coordination didn't kill my motivation... Until one evening, I was at a local park, and decided to do a massive wall jump that failed epically. I fell on top of a jabbed surface and tore my intestines. Due to this injury, I now have a permanent colostomy at the ripe age of 16. Mistakes man, they suck."
ruigsantos / Shutterstock
"I got a tattoo with my wife's name. She got one with mine, too. We were married six years at the time, and just absolutely blissfully in love. It lasted another 8. Now I just wanna chop my arm off."
"When I was 20 or so I was poor, my family was poor, and things got really bad that year. I decided I could make some quick money flipping stolen items (buy cheap, sell for a profit). I was an idiot and got busted. I got a felony for it, and 7 years of probation. Now I'm 28, can't get a freaking job anywhere, and life is nearly pointless at this juncture.
I've been on the good side of the law since that all went down, and with each month that passes where I wonder if I'll eat tomorrow or have a roof over my head, I think more and more that, 'I could solve this by getting back into crime...' It's a vicious cycle, and I'd rather be shot in the mouth than go through all of it again. I have no clue how ill ever get my freaking life back on track."
Kleber Cordeiro / Shutterstock
"Taught my 21 yr old best friend/roommate to drive, then pushed him to get a moped while he saves up for a car. I was his sole transportation for two years, and it was starting to wear me down making four trips to our work and such every day. Found him a moped, got it fixed, let him drive it. Freedom at last, right? Wrong. Had moped two days, ran a red light, hit by an SUV. He went brain dead a few days later and they pulled him off life support. This past few has been the hardest week and a half of my life. I'm sorry Mike."
"Going to get smokes for a couple friends in College. Back in 1988 I was a sophomore at small upstate NY college. I was back early that year as an orientation guide. Ran into a bud from my hometown that night (he was gonna be a freshman, no idea what he was doing there yet). He had 2 girls with him, and a case. We went to my apartment, drank it all and some more, and they needed smokes. I don't smoke. We decide to walk ONE HALF MILE to the mini mart. Now, this is a TINY college town, one stoplight. We start walking and just then it starts raining. The girls see my car - 1977 Red Trans Am. 'Ohhh is that your car? Lets take that!' I remember looking down at my keys thinking 'Nope, shouldn't do that.' But I did. Start the car, vrrroom, peel out, tear off toward the mini mart. Doing probably 50 in a 30, and RIGHT PAST THE VILLAGE COP. I kept going to the mini mart, where I was met by the OTHER cop car, and arrested by all 4 Alfred, NY cops. I later had the distinction of being the first driving while under conviction in that village. It has followed and affected me numerous times since. It's even cost me jobs. I lost my license for a year, had to sell the car, went into the 'risk pool' for insurance for 7 years. When I could finally afford another car basic, no frills, no collision, insurance cost me $3500 a year in 1991, my car cost $3000. Most recently, I'm now 40 freaking five, and I wanted to go to Canada with my wife and kids this summer. Can't get into the country with a record. Have to apply to the freaking magistrate and prove that Im 'rehabilitated.' Will cost $250-500, several months, and no guarantees. I have an otherwise totally clean record."
"Not mine, but my moms. Trusting a sketchy dentist because he was in the neighborhood and took Medicaid. For every filling he gave us, he drilled out entirely too much healthy tooth and gave us each root canals. In each of our mouths (me and my older sister), the tooth that had root canal treatment completely broke off to the gum and all the teeth that he filled ended up breaking. He has since been put out of business and been charged with malpractice."
Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley / Shutterstock
"Not breaking up with my ex-wife while we were in college. One night we were doing laundry and we were right on the verge of breaking up. She had a bad relationship with her mom. She was too dependent on me. She tried to isolate me from my friends to have me all to herself. We almost broke up, but I backed down. We ended up getting married and had a couple of kids. My life is very messed up because of her now 15 years down the road...but I have two wonderful kids from the relationship, that would not exist if we had broken up that one night. Funny how so much of my life seems to pivot around that one night and that one decision. Without making the decision I made I would not have my kids. But my life would not be messed up. I think about that at night a lot."
"It was a very gradual shift over the course of a year from 'if I eat a little less and exercise more' to 'if I eat absolutely nothing and exercise for 4-5 hours a day' that did it to me. The entire time I felt like I was making a conscious, independent choice as I slipped further and further into a mental illness that kills 20% of its sufferers. Now I have a serious heart problem, osteopenia, and people still do not think I am sick. I would have less health problems if I were overweight. My doctors had to let me go once I was a 'healthy' weight but that didn't help my mental health at all. Every day I struggle with putting the food I need to live into my body. To try to help you understand, for a lot of people with disordered eating, 'healthy' is a codeword for 'fat.' To someone recovering, it literally means you are gaining weight and that is terrifying. Anorexia puts you in a state of constant vigilance, because there is no way to maintain that sort of obsessive dieting and exercising for any long-term period. When people begin noticing that you are gaining weight (looking more 'healthy'), then you think of that as a slip-up, and thus you recommit.
I wouldn't wish this on anyone."
WAYHOME studio / Shutterstock
"Seven years ago, I was a young tranny in CS. I had two jobs and regularly tempted, which had mostly paid for college, leaving me less than $5000 in debt. I got a job as a C# programmer developing Office plugins while still a freshman, and I had just interviewed with Microsoft. My clubs and quiz bowl team were supportive of me going full time. Finally, I had four classes left until being eligible to graduate with a double major, and a job waiting for me up in Redmond --- and thanks to always taking one or two classes above a full load, I had a semester and a half to study whatever I wanted. I felt blessed, invincible, and thought the old American maxim --- that hard work leads to good results --- held true.
So, when my parents came to visit just before finals, I told my parents I was going to live full-time as a girl, and there wasn't anything they could do to stop it.
After rocking finals, I went out and spent my summer visiting friends, learning to drive, and doing odd jobs --- the most fun you can have while working at Labor-Ready. By the end of the summer, when I returned to school, I found I was no longer a student. Turned out my scholarship had been canceled, my grants had been cashed elsewhere, my school account had been drained, there were credit cards taken out in my name, and my parents had given my name when approached by debt collectors. My debt owed went from four-figure to six figure, and I was now ineligible for just about all grants and scholarships.
Just to drive the point home, I started receiving voicemails from my mother, stating that no matter what hardships I was going through, God loved me and there were churches that specialized in 'curing confusion.' So now, I've spent these past seven years just trying to scrape together enough funds to pay for four classes straight up so I can finish my degree. Naturally, the recruiters who were so excited to see me during my junior year won't return my calls or email, and I can't get a job in programming because all HR sees is that I'm a kid that quit school four classes short of graduation."
"Blew the $600k my grandpa left me when I was 18 on substances, gambling, a BMW and the club lifestyle. Aggressive investing in the stock market right before the crash didn't help either. I was broke by 22 and now I'm 26 and hate my younger self. At least I helped my other grandpa and my mom out with the money while I still had it, but I could have done so much more good if I wasn't such an idiot."
PhotoMediaGroup / Shutterstock
"I took a job fresh out of high school at a major plant. One of the largest in the world. It was great, 8 years ago I started at 60k a year...I figured with all the loans I could skip and education time I would net more in my lifetime earlier & could retire very easily early. Ended up getting taken advantage of by the company, had a class action lawsuit for unsafe work practices (that doesn't even pay for food now) and have constant issues with my internal organs & bacterial infections. Almost no money to pay for medical bills or any education for a job to do to make a living other than manual labor which compounds the health issue."
A and N photography / Shutterstock
"Getting my gallbladder out. I had been having mysterious symptoms for a long time and the doctor suggested getting my gallbladder out, even though my symptoms didn't really match gallbladder attacks. They ended up convincing me, and then when they took it out nothing was wrong. And I still was in pain for another year. They thought it must be IBS then. But when I got off the birth control I was on, viola - my symptoms are gone! Soooo, three and a half years of pain and doctors appointments, daily diarrhea and cramping, medications and surgery, and not one doctor suggested it might be my birth control. I feel fine now except when I eat anything fatty or very spicy - I can never eat bacon again, and more than 1 egg roll or 1 slice of pizza and I'm sick because of no gallbladder. Ugh!"
Luis Molinero / Shutterstock
"Not wearing hearing protection at concerts, and generally not paying attention to noise level. Now I have tinnitus, and I'll never not hear this sound: eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee."
Ollyy / Shutterstock
"Cheating on the love of my life. Guys... Never, EVER cheat. I know it's a common knowledge thing, but when you're in the situation I was in and somebody is literally throwing themselves at you (she kept pretending to trip and fall on me, and she would just stay there and try to kiss me and would grab my butt as she was getting back on her feet), it's really hard to say no. I messed up my entire future with the person I loved most in the world all because of some woman who knew my girlfriend and I had been fighting that week. I regret that decision every day of my life...Don't do it. If you're even considering it, either get out of whatever relationship you're in, or push that thought out of your head. I promise, hooking up with some girl is NOT worth losing someone as important as she was."
Marjan Apostolovic / Shutterstock
"When I was 17 I was in love with an 18-year-old girl. We both thoroughly loved to drink. Like a lot. A whole lot. Anyway, I used to write her love poems all the time. She had a boyfriend but she told me she planned on ending it soon. Well, she finally broke up with her boyfriend and she came to my house that night and stayed over. We never officially dated. Honestly, I didn't see the point, we were best friends who were in love. Easy enough. For a few months this continued. She would come over and we would get wasted with my dad (he let me drink on the weekends) and then we would hook up. One day, she, my father and I went to watch a play a few towns over. After the play, we decided to stay across the street in a historic resort type hotel. They had the biggest hot tub ever. It was like a freaking pool. Well around 2 AM we bought a case and sat in the hot tub drinking for hours. Eventually, I got rather toasty. I went inside to the pool area and jumped in for a bit to cool down. When I went back out to the hot tub, she and my father were hookup up hardcore. Right there. In front of me. They didn't stop when they saw me. They told me to leave. I got the room key, went upstairs to the room and cried a lot. Then I got angry. Very angry. Dad had left his phone in the room. I called my stepmother and told her everything. Then I called the girls mother. And grandmother. Needless to say, I felt somewhat satisfied by my petty revenge. Fast forward one month. My dad shot himself because my stepmother left him. So yeah. I guess that's my biggest regret."
gabczi / Shutterstock
"When I was around 5 or 6 I was learning to ride a bike. I had 'training wheels' and was learning to ride without them with the assistance of my dad. One Sunday dad was working and I wanted to ride. He told me he was busy so what did I do? Got my bike out and started riding anyway (without a helmet). I fell off in my driveway and hit my head so hard I got a concussion and now I have debilitating migraines. All because I was too stubborn to wait for my dad..."
Amazingmikael / Shutterstock
"Chased down a guy who stole my phone from out of my hand, done what I can only describe as a ninja kick into his back and landed on a wet metal covering and slipped, fell onto my neck and was unconscious for a good while. That was 7 years ago. I've been in constant pain ever since with nerve and disc problems (I also have severe tremors in my hands) and it has effectively destroyed my hopes of becoming a police officer, ruined the most important relationship I've ever had because of my severe depression and has irreparably changed my personality."
"Took my doctor's recommendation to take a pill without questioning it. Ended up taking Paxil to help with my anxiety at the time and it didn't chemically work for me. Ended up going crazy for a week, ending with me jumping off a parking garage from about 70 feet onto the street below. Now I have a wrist plate, replacement elbow joint, metal rods in both legs and a half cage in my spine that was put in wrong initially, causing me to lose function of my legs. I now have a little function of my lower legs, and have managed to get myself walking again with the use of a cane. Unfortunately this happened just before I was 18 and haven't had a job since as I can't drive and live with my family in a manual labor driven town. I can feel my independence slipping away with each day and it came down to trusting my doctor and the medication."
"When I was 14, I was getting ready in my room for school and from my window upstairs I could see my dad putting stuff into his truck to leave for work. I thought about opening the window and telling him, 'Have a good day, I love you,' and then thought, 'Nah, that window is hard to open and I'll see him tonight.' I did see him that night... in a hospital bed. He was a contractor working on a 2 story roof and fell onto a brick patio. He was in a coma for 23 days and then we had to let him go. He knew I loved him and all that, but I still had one last chance to tell him and I didn't take it for laziness."
Rommel Canlas / Shutterstock
"I got a call one morning that a slot in a prestigious school program I'd been vying for had opened up early (I'd been on the waiting list). I was groggy, lazy, and for some reason, I'll never forgive myself for when the instructor asked if I could start that morning - I said no. I guess I figured I'd just wait and start the next term, as planned. I was anxious, hesitated, wanted to stay in bed that day... I dunno. Before the next session started I was arrested and now carry charges that disqualify me from the program permanently... If I hadn't had said no that morning I'd be in my dream job right now instead of at this awful cubicle."
Oleg Golovnev / Shutterstock
"I missed the signup for my company's health insurance. I didn't really care; I was healthy and hadn't been to the doctor or hospital for more than ten years. A few months later I was at a party and some plastered guy decided to swing a bottle of Capt. Morgan around and clipped me on the noggin with it. I spent two weeks in the hospital, had to have surgery for a blood clot in my brain, and walked out with a bill for over $100,000."
Roberto Caucino / Shutterstock
"I tried to climb the highest mountain, Pico Duarte, in the Dominican Republic. My father took me and my brother there with some friends. The problem is that I have sickle-cell anemia, and due to the low oxygen I just couldn't go further but I did anyway. Bad idea. My spleen and appendix almost burst, and I had to wait for 24 hours in agonizing pain before a helicopter rescued my butt. Had to get my spleen and appendix removed. And now I can't do any 'hard' exercise, ever."
"I decided to break up a fight. It was a success at first, but then some guy came from behind and tackled me. I was stronger than him and gave a few good ones, but he was obviously a trained a fighter. He put my leg in some type of jiu-jitsu hold and tore my ACL. I was an uninsured student at the time. Ten years later, I still cannot play any sports and I have to be extremely cautious in the snow."