Why is it we all so easily feel shame especially when it comes to mental health awareness? Honestly, two years ago I wasn’t talking about my mental health struggles. People in my inner circle knew, but I didn’t talk about it unless I absolutely had to.
Then a year and a half ago, I went through something so horrible, I knew it was time to start talking. It was time to break the stigma.
I think as women we are more easily prone to shame. Brene Brown said it best in one of her talks about what shame means to women:
Do it all.Brene Brown
Do it perfectly.
Never let them see you sweat.
Ugh. No truer words. Am I right, ladies? You frequently feel you’re never good enough. You ask, “Who do you think you are?” Shame highly coincides with depression and other disorders.
Here’s the good news: empathy is the antidote to shame.
The more we talk about mental illness, the more people can understand it. Once they understand, they can begin to empathize and the stigma starts to fall away.
Talking about mental health has come to the forefront of many family conversations recently. A couple of men in my family have openly admitted to not understanding depression at all. It’s okay, it’s not their fault. It’s hard to understand something you’ve never experienced. Even if you have some experience, it may still not make sense. Depression can present differently in each person.
If you’re struggling, start thinking about talking. Each person should only speak their truth in their own time, but think about how your life could improve from talking to a friend, a family member or even a therapist. We all deserve happiness and we all deserve love. Sharing more about who you are will only deepen those connections with others. And if they can’t handle your truth, don’t dwell on it. Recognize their short-comings and focus on your own self-improvement. But you may be surprised. Someone you think may not be open to hearing your story may become your greatest ally.
Do You Need To Talk to Someone?
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call 911, go to the nearest emergency room, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a 24-hour crisis center or text MHA to 741741 at the Crisis Text Line.
More resources here on how you can help a suicidal friend.