When Depression Clings to Pain from the Past—Learn to Talk Back

By Natasha Tracy

We can move beyond the negative, distressing events of our past—that is, if depression isn’t forcing us to relive these agonizing moments.


I have painful things in my past, just like everyone. And what I find is that depression makes it really difficult to move on from that past pain.

For example, let’s say there’s a breakup in my past, just like for most people. That’s fine. Breakups hurt. You mourn, you get over them, you move on. The thing about depression is I find it really clings to that pain. It clings to that breakup and doesn’t let me move past it.

It’s like a broken record of pain in my head that just keeps playing over and over and over so that I can’t take the next step.

I can’t take the step to just forget about it and move on. I can’t seem to do that.

What seems to happen is that depression looks for painful things from my past to remind me of, to actually repeat them in my brain saying “pain, pain, suffering.” It’s a weird thing. It’s a depression loop. It’s a depression loop that clings onto the past.

I find this really difficult. The only thing that I can think to do is talk back to that pain and say, “You’re in the past. I’m moving beyond you.”

And to talk to the depression and say, “I know you’re doing this. I know you’re bringing back this pain. I know it’s not reasonable. I know I need to be over it, I need to get over it. A reasonable amount of time has passed.”

That’s the only thing I can think to do about it but I hope you have better ideas. If you find that depression makes you cling to the pain of your past, let me know how you deal with it.

My name is Natasha Tracy and this is bp Magazine’s bpHope vlog


About the author
Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant. She has written the acclaimed book, Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression and Bipolar and continues to write her own work on Bipolar Burble and elsewhere. She was also the proud recipient of the Beatrice Stern Media Award from Didi Hirsch in 2014. She works to bring quality, insightful and trusted information on bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses to the public. Natasha is considered a subject matter expert in bipolar disorder and her thoughts on it have been sought by the media and academics. Find Natasha’s book Lost Marbles on Amazon (via this link: http://amzn.to/2FsJ3aV) and find her work on Bipolar Burble (https://natashatracy.com/topic/bipolar-blog/), on Twitter (https://twitter.com/natasha_tracy), on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/BipolarBurble/), and on Google+ (https://plus.google.com/u/2/+NatashaTracy).
  1. Hi Natasha,
    Since i went Vegan three years back, i truly believe i am a better person than 99% of the world population. Now, past and present stuck records have stopped bothering me. How can anybody else hurt me (mentally) if i am at a different level altogether.

  2. Hi Natasha,
    Since i embraced Vegan three years back, i truly believe i am a better person than 99% of the world population. Now, past & present stuck records do not bother me much. How can anybody else hurt me (mentally) if i am at a different level altogether.

  3. Dear Mina,
    I hope you don’t mind me intruding in your comments, however, I hope these might help a little bit.
    I realized there are several comments from your side, which I could easily recognize as symptoms of several problems you might be trying to deal with.
    The first one is being hyper-verbal, and in the content, finding the person or patient repeating him or herself a lot, with disorderly ideas, writing in all caps, and a fixation with what is called Transference and Projection, for these in particular, a psychologist could be of some help for you.
    For the very first one, I would be hesitant to offer any advice, if the hyper-verbality comes from an episode, definitely a proper physician, more specifically a psychiatrist could be necessary for you to deal with this issue and those that can’t be seen beyond the messages.
    Now, having addressed this, here are just a few comments on the little content I could find in your several messages. You mention three points that caught my attention, the first one, is a major incongruence in statements and the presentation of your comments. To explain, in a statement you try to establish credibility (‘Graduated with honors in pharmacy school’) then, the lack of content regarding the major difference between treatments of unipolar and bipolar depression (also, the correct spelling is “bipolar”, not “bi polar” which would be evident for someone who is as highly educated.
    Next, the desperation you try to convey in your messages to tell Natasha to get help, while the article she writes is a calm and composed message about one of the many problems that come attached with the disorder and offering healthy advice on how she deals with it – without bragging or assuming of her method is a one-size-fits-all, or even a perfect way to deal with it.

    See the difference? One article, video included, transcription of video, in one succint, to the point, item.
    In your case, I’ve counted more than four messages, all with a tone of desperation, all of them verbose, and shooting statements on people like Kate Spade (RIP) from whom, unless you offer a little more info and happen to be a close relative or an attending doctor she had, well, it’s pretty arrogant and provides little research – not to mention lack of tact – to say she didn’t take or search for help or to state she would still be alive.
    Next, you mention that your advice – which you could have easily summarized in just one message as in ‘I think you’re in crisis, I hope you get help, your friend, Mina’, – would not work on you since you have a different diagnosis, but presume that it would work on Natasha, and that’s putting it lightly, since your messages carry a lot of passive-aggressive desperation to the point of being offensive.
    You mention that you suffer from “Major Depression” which is one of the broadest spectres in the DSM and usually a catch-all diagnose, many times treated just with anti-depressants; which are not the ad hoc line of treatment for bipolar, yet, your comments do not reflect the traits and commonalities of Clinical Depression.

    Now, since it’s easy for anyone without any experience to submit some criticism, I’d like to lay that to the side by mentioning the background, since 2012 I’ve been running a non-profit org in Mexico, for bipolar disorder information, as well as suicide prevention. I prefer showing rather than telling, you could look for vidabipolar.com , even if the website is in Spanish, I think it might be enough info to establish that I’m not just shooting off the hip.

    The main reason I intervene here is because most of the cases I’ve managed – with the Neurology and neurosurgery national institute (MVS) in Mexico – especially those that either get too close to suicide or are plain suicidal, usually have one thing in common; people offering unhealthy advice from what they don’t understand. (Snap out of it, think happy thoughts, keep your brain busy, reach to God – most of these, I can see interspersed in your messages).
    Just some food for thought.

    Thanks and hoping you find some help or at the very least, stop providing unhealthy advice for people who might be in need of professional help – Which, I hope you know, Natasha is, including her degree in psychology, not just as an award winning writer – which represent already, more than enough credentials for her to have her say on the matter.

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