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Anxiety about Past Mistakes

Community Member

Hey so, I've made some bad mistakes that I really regret because I used to be an addict. Some of them really stupid and questionable, others that hurt people I care about. It's been a quite a while since I've done these things and I've focussed on becoming a better person through counselling. But every now and then, I'll see something that'll trigger a spiral of anxious thoughts and overthinking, usually centred on thoughts that tell me that I'm still a bad person, no matter what I do to change myself. That my past mistakes will always haunt me no matter how much I improve myself.

I'd just like some advice for dealing with these anxious and intrusive thoughts.

7 Replies 7

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion


Errors made in the past can haunt many of us. Immaturity, addiction, mental illness, family disunity , financial struggles or lack of wisdom can cause us to act irrationally.

As to how we can reduce the Intrusive thoughts pertaining to this it's limited but here some are-

  • Acceptance. Accept that it's in the past. You can't change the past
  • Distraction. Keep busy
  • Time. Thoughts reduce over time
  • Make amends, eg assault, we can apologise

Here is a thread that might help


All the best


Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello shadowprince,

Welcome to the forums!

I'm hearing that you're feeling regret and anxiety over your past actions. While you may feel that you haven't changed, I think recognising the mistakes you made and regretting that you made them in the first place shows that you have grown into a better person. You know that you would never make those same decisions again and that proves that you have changed.

I also understand that it is hard to see these changes in yourself. You've mentioned going through counselling, I would recommend continuing with counselling or discussing options with your GP. Journalling may also be helpful. You can look back on your thoughts and reflect on any changes you see. Also, if there are specific triggers, can you avoid these?

Hoping this helps,


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi shadow prince,

Wellcome to our forums.

Your past mistakes are just that “ past mistakes “ they are in the past they where “ lessons “ not a life sentence.

Forgive yourself for these past mistakes and then let them go and move forward.

Forgiveness will set you free and letting go will help you to grow.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello shadowprince, we all make mistakes no matter how hard we try not to, but the only way we learn is to make these mistakes so that we can progress and learn from them.

Once we are able to improve, then these will slowly disappear, especially when people acknowledge the progress we have made.


Community Member

Hi Shadowprince.

Welcome to the forums. Youve come to a place where there are people from all walks of life and with different experiences who are very thoughtful and help full. Your story resinates with me in that i have spent a lot of time thinking of my past mistakes and where i feel i went wrong. In talking to people i have come to understand that everyone has regrets about certain things. I know from a personal perspective you may feel alone in this but please understand thats not the case. You are quite inspirational to me and im sure others in what you are doing and in your words {focused on becoming a better person.}

Im sure you are a great person and please remember all of the good things youve done in life . Hope your going ok and Happy to talk more Beaser/ Brett.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi there,

I am sorry this is happening. You cannot change the past, so best to try and stop fretting.

However, it is amazing you are bettering yourself. Keep doing this and focus on the present, that's all you have!

Keep moving forward,

jaz xx

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi shadowprince,

I can relate strongly to your post. Cringing, agonizing or worrying about past behaviour from a time when we weren't at our best. It's an easy trap to fall into and can cause so much pain in our minds.

Thought traps like this take a bit of practice to break but with a few simple steps you can definitely improve things.

When you notice yourself caught in a thought trap about something you did or said in your past you aren't happy with, start by reminding yourself that you were doing the best you could with where you were at at the time. Addiction is a difficult thing to deal with and we're not fully ourselves when we are suffering from it.

Then, it can help to practice a bit of self-love to interrupt your train of thought and replace it with something positive. For me, I put my hand over my chest and say aloud to myself statements like "You are exactly where you need to be" "You are on the right path towards your goals" "You are loved and safe" .

Whatever resonates for you.

The more you can catch the thoughts and redirect them the less they will surface and bother you.

Hope this helps!