10 Messages for People Who Feel Ashamed of Their Mood Disorders


Many people living with mental illness feel ashamed for feeling the way they do. This can be especially prominent if the mental illness affects someone’s expression of personality, like the 20 million people affected by mood disorders. But it’s important to remember there is nothing to be ashamed of about living with a mental illness. Having an illness is not a shameful thing, and neither is feeling or acting different because of that illness. This is why it’s so important to support the actions and feelings of people living with mood disorders — that validation can be one of the best ways to fight the stigma of mental illness.

We teamed up with the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance to ask people in our communities living with mood disorders what they would say to someone feeling ashamed of their disorder.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. “Accept you will be misunderstood, rarely accepted and your emotional and thought processes aren’t what society considers ‘normal.’ Doesn’t make them right nor you wrong. Learn your triggers and warning signs. People often fear or put down that which they don’t understand, but remember — light will always shine in the darkness!” — Byron T.

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2. “There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Normal isn’t real. We are different. Make it your own. Make peace with yourself. Accept your limitations and celebrate your gifts. Look into disability activism and the neurodiversity movement. You can do this.” — Jeannie B.

3. “Don’t be ashamed, it’s part of who you are but isn’t all you are. You are still the same person you were before it with a new twist.” — Diana F.

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4. “I am not bipolar. I live with bipolar. The operative is ‘live.’ I choose to live unashamedly the best I can each day.” — Lisa B.

5. “You’re not alone, no matter how you feel. We’ve been there and we will be here for you if you want us to be. Always.” — Claire W.

6. “Tell and show people what you are feeling. Coach them on what you need from them. True loved ones will support you.” — Eddie G.

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7. “Have compassion for yourself. Treat yourself the way you would treat someone you cherish. Love flows outward when you love yourself first.” — Elaine G.

8. “You’ll be amazed at how many other people will start discussing their mental health issues when you start discussing yours. Don’t be ashamed, it’s all part of the fabulous jigsaw that makes you, you!” — Holly W.

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9. “You have the ability to change the stigma associated with mental health. Grab it with both hands, find your inner strength and educate those still ignorant. You wouldn’t hide your broken leg so don’t hide the illness in your head.” — Natasha M.

10. “It is possible to live an amazing, exceptional and even ridiculously awesome life not only in spite of your illness, but because of it! It takes courage and work, as well as a lot of honesty with others, but it is worth it!” — Lauren Q.

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To learn more about DBSA’s “I’m Here” campaign, click here.

I’m here… is a program brought to you by DBSA made possible through the support of Rebecca’s Dream® Foundation.


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