Depression Thinking about the Past — What Can You Do?

Written by: Maheen Asif – M.Sc (Clinical Psychology)

Last updated date : March 23, 2023

“The good old times. I wish I could go back and live through those times again. Nothing will ever be as fun as hanging out with my friends when I was a teenager, spending the holidays with my family, or having fun with my friends, and pets when I was a kid. Or a lot of other times I wish I could go back to in the past or in my childhood.” Do you face depression when thinking about the past? Do you want to live your present, stay happy and deal with nostalgic depression?

When you think about the past with fondness, like when you’re sad or missing someone, that feeling can be complicated and even painful at times. When people talk nostalgically about the “good old days,” they are saying that things were better then, than now.

Many people have trouble with how nostalgia affects them and how it holds on to them. For some people, depression is made worse by nostalgia and not dealing with losses. People always feel like the best parts of their lives are behind them, stuck in their memories of the past.

In this article, you will learn about depression when thinking about the past. Following this, we will provide with tips and advice to deal with Nostalgic depression.

Before we begin, let us look at the definition of some key terms that you will come across in the article:

  • Depression – Depression is a feeling of sadness and loss of interest that lasts for a long time.
  • Nostalgia – Nostalgia is the feeling of longing and sentimental feelings. These feelings come up when you think about important past events, relationships, places, and other things.

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Chapter 1:

Depression When Thinking About The Past

People may have said, “ Nothing will ever be as fun as hanging out with my friends when I was a teenager, spending the holidays with my family, or playing with my pet when I was a kid. Or a lot of other times in the past I wish I could go back to.”

Nostalgia isn’t a bad thing, but in the world we live in now, where so much bad stuff is going on, it may start to be something we do to get away from it all and not something we all do.

This longing for the past can lead to depression if you compare the past to the present and the present starts to look bad.

You might start to wish you could go back in time and do things differently, which can make you angry about the present and afraid of the future.

At the same time, you might start to think about mistakes you’ve made and say to yourself, “I wouldn’t take it for granted this time. I’d be aware of how special every moment is as it goes by.”

This can make you feel like you’ve made so many mistakes in your life, which can make nostalgia feel like depression all of a sudden.

Nostalgia can sometimes make you feel sleepy and can make things from the past seem better than they were. This can make the present seem bad because it feels so bad right now.

Chapter 2:

How To Cope With Nostalgic Depression?

If there is a depression when thinking about the past ,Seek help!

You can also try the following tips to get over nostalgic depression:

Keep Things In Perspective

You might think, “I’ll never feel so close to anyone else again,” when you remember happy times with your friends. Or, “I’ll never live in such a lovely place again,” when you remember a great apartment.

Instead of letting your skewed memories influence you, try digging a little deeper to get a more accurate picture.

You and your friends had a lot of fun doing things you don’t care about anymore. Also, when you think about your relationship, you realize it wasn’t nearly as strong as the ones you have now.

And yes, that apartment was beautiful, with bright rooms but, you could hear all the sounds that your neighbors made, and your shower was never at the temperature that you wanted. These are two problems you don’t have in your current apartment.

Find Relationships That Make You Happy.

When memories of old friends and loved ones make you miss them, you can fight feelings of loneliness by focusing on the important people in your life right now.

New relationships might not be able to take the place of the ones that were so important. They can, however, help you remember that you do have love and friends, and that other people value you just as much as you value them.

You should also take the chance to talk to the people you miss the most. Time changes almost everyone, so you might find that your friends have changed a lot like you have. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get back in touch and maybe even find something new to talk about.

Do Something New

After you’ve spent some time thinking about the memory, do something that makes you happy, like;

  • Play a happy song
  • Listen to some podcasts
  • Go for a walk
  • Play with your dog

If there is depression when thinking about the past, just stop thinking and do something. Take a break from thinking.

Experience It Like Reality

Maybe if you remember it all over again in your mind, you’ll feel like you can finally get over it and move on with your life in the present and look forward to the future.

Seeking Support

Even though a mental health professional might not be able to identify nostalgic depression, they can help when nostalgia causes long-lasting emotional pain.

Depression can make you feel tired and hurt your relationships with other people. When thinking about the past makes it hard to do well in the present, it’s always beneficial to reach out and talk to a therapist or counselor.

Spontaneous nostalgia, or memories that come up in everyday life, tends to make people feel worse than feelings of nostalgia that come up when someone asks them about a meaningful time in their lives.

Chapter 3:

Final Thoughts

Life only goes one way, and that is “forward.” When you think about the past, you might feel sad for a long time. This can stop you from moving forward and keep you stuck in the past. But they can also help you find your way to the future you want.

If you can break free of nostalgia, you can move on from a stuck and unfulfilling present and into a future where the end doesn’t have to be the past, and you can still live the rest of your life. You might want help from a professional to figure out the problem, treat it, and start doing healthier things.

We also have a lot of courses on mental health on our Epsychonline website. There is a course on Low self-esteem. This course helps us to know how it impacts our mental health. You can enroll in a course online and learn more about it. Take the first step today towards building your mental health. All the courses are self-paced.

"Learnt a lot from this course" Sally

51 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

$9.00 $12.00

25% discount