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When You Feel Shame About Your Mental Illness

A mental illness affects everything from your thoughts to your behavior to your relationships. It may sap your energy, mood and sleep. It may distort your beliefs about yourself and sink your self-esteem. It may feel like your days are regularly filled with a series of obstacles.

Navigating life with a mental illness is tough enough. But many people also feel an overwhelming sense of shame.

“Nearly all of my clients have struggled with shame about having a mental illness, or even about having feelings that are inconvenient or that seem out of sync with what others seem to feel,” said Lea Seigen Shinraku, MFT, a therapist in private practice in San Francisco. She focuses on helping clients relate to themselves and their lives with greater self-compassion.

3 Comments to
When You Feel Shame About Your Mental Illness

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  1. Everyone has problems, and I everyone needs to realize at the end of the day that everyone is human. Everyone is different, but that doesn’t make them completely abnormal or completely alien.

  2. I enjoyed this article. It DID forget to mention that people with mental illnesses have the added burden of oppressive and brutal mental health systems hanging over them. This is a BIG factor in any person with a mental illnesses’ life and how they feel about themselves. It’s terrible, to be blunt.

  3. I know how this feels. I deal with this. Whats wierd is that Ive gotten rid of all my former aquaintances and family to eliminate shame but its still there. I feel like i have to live up to some standard for people and since im not up to that standard, im a bad person in my mind. My grandmother died and i still feel like ill be in trouble if i dont finish college and be the best. But shes dead. The people i feel insecure around, ive gotten out of my life and gotten rid of all ways for them to contact me. I still feel like they ll find out I suffer from major depression and have bouts of anxiety frequently; but ive eliminated the contact. Its irrational thought I see, sonce ive got rid of the stressor. But the shame is still there. I use to be confident and capable. Now im sad and doubtful. Ive been consumed by self degradation and shame. And I understand that and its terrifying. I dont know if the depression will get better but I do know it will be back.



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