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Depression Insight! Having Mixed Feelings And Depression

Feelings, we all have them. Some of us have more than we know what to do with and sometimes they can get bundled up like one of those confusing cable tv packages where you get fifty more channels than you’ve asked for and you end up watching The Wedding Channel during your free time. Mixed feelings can lead to depression and anxiety but are also a fact of life. We are complicated creatures with sophisticated brains that are active even when we don’t realize it and they are constantly reflecting on events in our past and the people we are with. This article aims to explain the phenomenon of mixed feelings and help you understand why they exist so that you can better process them in the future and avoid falling into a depression or anxiety.

Depression From Having Mixed Feelings For Events In Your Past

There may be events in your past that you have mixed feelings about. Something may have happened to you that you thought was good in the moment but upon reflection feel negative about in the present and vice-versa. This is a process called modular constructivism. Imagine you are looking at the event with a magnifying glass and in this magnifying glass you interpret the event in the same way that you did when it happened. This may make you feel sad. Now, imagine pulling out another magnifying glass and in this magnifying glass you interpret the event from your current state. This may be as little as a week later or as much as several decades later. You may now know things that you didn’t know then, or see the event from a different perspective and have a different feeling about it than you used to. As time goes by, you will be continuously adding magnifying glasses to this event but you won’t be taking any away. There will be a magnifying glass for when the event took place as well as one for the current moment and all the times inbetween.

depression and mixed feelings

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Now, imagine examining the event and all the different magnifying glasses under one big magnifying glass. This is having mixed feelings about an event. An example of this would be a person reflecting on being yelled at as a child. As they get older they may remember that they were pulled back by an angry parent as they were about to run out onto a busy street full of cars and realize that their parents yelled at them because they were scared. Another example would be of domestic abuse cases where the person being abused thought they had done something wrong when it happened. At a later date they may realize that they had not done anything to deserve being physically abused and years later they may come to the conclusion that the person hitting them had an insecurity based on an event in their past and end up feeling sympathy towards the person. Reflecting on events in the past will lead to several layers of interpretation which viewed in its entirety leaves a bittersweet taste in the minds of the beholder. By processing these interpretations together instead of separately, we end up feeling conflicted which in turn can lead to depression and anxiety.

Depression From Having Mixed Feelings For Someone

Now apply the same concept to relationships, whether it is with a parent, a sibling, a colleague, a friend or if it is a romantic relationship for that matter. Throughout the duration of our relationships there will be good times and bad times, these can all be examined with the same magnifying classes as with the previous examples and in the same way we will feel conflicted when viewing all of the magnifying glasses and the event in question under one big magnifying glass. The same goes for romantic relationships that end. We tend to reflect on the good moments and the bad moments together which causes us to feel unsatisfied at the way the relationship ended or the fact that the relationship ended. It is this conflicted feeling and the lack of being able to use the magnifying glasses separately which can cause us to fall into depression and anxiety.

Philip Andersson

Life Coach

Cross Culture Therapy


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Philip Andersson – Life Coach

Philip Andersson is a life-coach who is currently studying to become a psychotherapist. He treats people suffering from depression, phobias and anxiety. Having been raised in Hong Kong and having lived in England and Japan as an adult, Philip also treats people who are overcome with feelings of displacement and rudderlessness associated with a global-nomad lifestyle such as Third Culture Kids, Cross Culture Kids, Migrants and Asylum Seekers.

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