Dear Alex,

I tend to perseveration on the past and define what could have been rather than what could be. I look back on my life and see it through a very foggy lens. If I try to switch up my thought focus, I tend to get down and have a very hard time bouncing back. Is this normal? Sometimes I have difficulty remembering. Is that a symptomatic or just a bad memory?

~ Lost in the Past | February, 2022

Dear Lost in the Past,

The experience you’ve described is a lot more common than you’d think and issues with foggy memory seem to go hand-in-hand. While perseveration and memory loss has been linked to a wide variety of causes, including neurological conditions and frontal lobe trauma.

I would assume from your question, that this experience is likely stemming from past emotional or psychological trauma. These traumas are often repressed by our sub-conscious, hence the foggy lens. Even though the cognitive memory has been repressed. Often the sub-conscious and the body still remember. This can cause a lot of confusion for your conscious self. Especially if you’re not aware of the triggers or the reasoning behind the experiences igniting this cycle.

The most traditional way to combat these episodes would be through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), with a licensed therapist or councilor. CBT is not easy and can be uncomfortable and you have to be willing to open up, become vulnerable and do the work. However, this isn’t always the best path for everyone and there are alternatives or accompaniments to CBT that can also be helpful. For example, exploring your sub-conscious through hypnotherapy. Working with a coach such as myself to better understand the past, how to move forward and get excited about the future. A spiritual coach, such as a pastor from your church can help find purpose and reason behind trauma, and guide you toward a greater faith in God’s plan. Finding a support person or group to talk openly about your experiences with can take away some of the self-guilt or loneliness of this experience. There’s also meditation, nutrition, and lifestyle changes that can support overall mental wellness and brain chemistry, so you can pull yourself out of these down feelings faster.

Without knowing your individual experience, I’m unable to provide specific resources. However, don’t hesitate to connect with me if you’d like explore this further. Same goes for anyone reading this and feeling similarly. You’re not alone and asking for help, is taking control.