Q: Hello. I have been overwhelmed with worry about an event which happened five years ago. The worry has led to a need to be perfect, a jealousy of people who had chances I didn’t have, and an extremely low self-esteem. I just want to let go of the past! Thank you.

A: I’m kinda stumped about what to say because I don’t know the nature of the event.

If it was a traumatic event that happened to you or someone you love and you have flashbacks of the moment it happened, that’s something for in-person therapy.

If it was a traumatic event but there are no signs of flashbacks, you need to clearly and directly face the whole thing and then notice that it fades away after that. Running from it by trying not to remember it won’t work. And you may need a therapist for this as well.

If it’s something you did that you later wished you didn’t do but which, at the time, seemed wise, you need to face that bad stuff happens even when we have good intentions. The support of the close people in your life might be enough but, again, a therapist could also help.

If it’s something that you did to purposely hurt someone else, and if you hurt them rather seriously (not just slight hurt feelings), you need to get off your own back about it, and apologizing to the other person would help (whether they accept it or not).

If it’s something you did that hurt someone slightly, you should see a therapist. You don’t need to pick on yourself for being human!

And I’m aware I haven’t covered all of the possibilities….

Hope this helps though!

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