Depression often comes with feelings of embarrassment and shame. Sometimes these feelings come from ourselves; sometimes they’re put on us by other people.
Unfortunately, some stigma surrounding mental illness remains. But we shouldn’t have to feel ashamed. Depression is an illness, not an embarrassing habit.
We Are Not Alone
Depression affects more than 300 million people worldwide. We are definitely not alone in feeling the way we do. It’s nothing to feel embarrassed or ashamed about, it’s an illness that many people experience.
We Didn’t Choose It
Contrary to what we might tell ourselves, we didn’t choose to have depression. We didn’t wake up one morning and decide that being depressed would be a good idea. Depression is an illness, not a lifestyle choice. If we’re unwell, it’s not our fault.
Everyone Has Something
Nobody is perfect, and nobody’s life is perfect. Every single person has something going on in their life that they’re unhappy with. Everyone has something in their life that they would rather people didn’t know about.
Depression might be something that we want to hide from others, but we don’t need to out of shame. Depression is not our fault, we didn’t cause it or do anything to deserve it. It’s an illness.
It’s Not Our Fault
Depression is not our fault. It affects people from all backgrounds and all walks of life. With help and support, once we feel able to, we can begin to do things to try and help our depression. But it’s not our fault we got depressed.
Out Best Is Good Enough
Often we feel shame because we feel like we ‘should’ be doing better. That we ‘should’ be trying harder, or that we ‘should’ be able to fix it. This can lead to us feeling ashamed about the fact that we’re not recovered.
We need to let go of those shoulds. We can only do the best that we can do right now. And our best is more than enough.
Have Self Compassion
We often speak to ourselves in a way that we would never speak to one of our friends. If a friend told us that they had depression, we would treat them with kindness. We wouldn’t tell them off or have a go at them for not feeling better. And we certainly wouldn’t try and make them feel bad about the fact that they are unwell.
However, we often treat ourselves differently. We are our own worst critics, and judge ourselves for being unwell. To get through, we need to practice self-compassion. We need to learn to be a friend to ourselves.
Getting Help Isn’t A Sign Of Weakness
Often, we view reaching out for help and support as a sign of weakness. We tell ourselves that we should be able to power on alone. We think that needing the help and support from others means that we’re not as strong as we should be.
In fact, knowing when to reach out for help, and then doing so, is incredibly strong. It’s so difficult to tell others that things aren’t great. Finding the words can feel impossible.
Needing medication, or therapy, for depression is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s no different from needing help for any other condition. We have an illness and illnesses require medical help.
We Should Be Proud, not ashamed
Living with depression is hard work. Every single day we get up and do our best to live our lives alongside an illness which is determined to drag us down.
Regardless of what our brains may tell us, we’re achieving so much simply by carrying on. We should be proud of ourselves, rather than being ashamed.
It’s Not All Bad
Depression can affect our lives in so many different ways. It can seep into every aspect of our life and cause us to feel completely hopeless and ashamed.
However, sometimes it can have surprising benefits. It could introduce us to people who understand who end up being our closest friends. It could steer our career in a direction we’ve never considered, or help us open up in our relationships. It teaches us about the importance of self-care, and helps us see how strong we truly are.
Depression is horrible and cruel and we wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But by getting through it we grow, in resilience and resolve. And that’s something to be proud of.
We Are Not Broken
Depression can cause us to feel broken. The shame can swallow us whole and we want nothing more than to hide away from everyone and everything.
But we are not broken. We are not damaged. We are so much more than our than the stigma, than what our heads to say to us.
Yes, we have an an illness – but there is help for that illness. Recovery is possible. Truly: it’s possible. And in the meantime, we should be proud: of how hard we work to keep going, and of how far we’ve come.
We have depression and we are not ashamed.
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