Each of us are on the road to addressing and conquering shame and the ways that it has kept us distant and disconnected from those around us. A leading researcher, Brene Brown, defines shame as:
“Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.”
A lot of us experience shame primarily around our experiences with mental illness, and are not unfamiliar with the stigma that comes with it. Because of this, we can sometimes find ourselves in a vicious cycle as stigma intensifies feelings of shame, which can bring about greater fear of stigma. At the Arizona Center for Marriage and Family therapy, we hear you and we see you, you are not alone in these feelings. Shame can feel like it is consuming your life at times, but you can challenge shame by owning and taking control over your mental illness. Shame does not have to be your every day reality. Here are some ways you can take the control back from shame and feel greater confidence and joy in you life:
Educate yourself about your mental illness
Reframe what recovery would look like for you
Change your self-image by changing your self-talk
Challenge social stigmas you encounter
For more information on dealing with shame around mental illness and the article that inspired this post, click here.