Depression and Ghosts of the Past, Present, and Future

December 12, 2019 Jennifer Smith

I've been rereading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, and it has occurred to me that depression brings its own ghosts of the past, present, and future. Just as Ebenezer Scrooge had to confront his ghosts, so must we.

Managing the Ghosts of Depression

When dealing with the ghosts of the past, depression often leads us into feelings of guilt or negative thinking patterns about things we did or said in the past. Dwelling on regrets is harmful and can wreak havoc on our ability to cope with depression. We should apologize to those we hurt and then move on. All we can do is learn from our mistakes and then do better. The important part is to be sure that we truly learn and then carry those lessons with us and apply them in the future.

The ghosts of the present are everchanging and also cycling. For me, they include dealing with the varying degrees of ups and downs that accompany major depressive disorder, parenting a child with special needs, being a stay-at-home parent, dealing with financial issues, family stress, health problems, as well as other concerns that haunt me. Thankfully, antidepressants and the techniques I learned in therapy help me to manage the ghosts of the present pretty well.

Finally, the ghosts of the future create anxiety and worry about all the things that could go wrong. Since depression can cause negative thoughts,  it's easy for us to feel that the worst is going to happen. Many times, when I've been able to take a step back and think through things, I've realized I was either catastrophizing or trying to reason using my emotions. 

I've been able to fight the past, present, and future ghosts of depression through the help of antidepressants and therapy. In what ways do you struggle with these ghosts? How do you fight them? For my thoughts on how others can help us fight the ghosts of depression, watch this video.

APA Reference
Smith, J. (2019, December 12). Depression and Ghosts of the Past, Present, and Future, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 16 from

Author: Jennifer Smith

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Lizanne Corbit
December, 16 2019 at 12:30 pm

I think this is a wonderfully insightful and relatable account of something we all face. In one way or another, we are all guaranteed to face some sort of past/present/future ghosts. I think viewing them in this light is actually particularly helpful as well because we can feel truly haunted by these thoughts and feelings when they arise (guilt, depression, worry, anxiety). The holiday season is such a marker of time it can be extra triggering for these ghosts. Wonderful suggestions.

December, 17 2019 at 2:30 pm

Hello, Lizanne. Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your insights. I often feel haunted by these ghosts/thoughts and know that the holidays can trigger strong emotions in many people.

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