It is typical to feel frustrated and embarrassed about your mental health condition. (Image via Freepik/ wayhomestudio)

5 easy ways to stop feeling self-conscious about your depression

Depression is one of the most common mental health problems in America. It is a mental illness characterized by persistent sadness, despair and negative mood.

The World Health Organization estimates that depression affects 350 million people worldwide. Although depression and other mental health issues are widespread, they are still stigmatized. According to research, only 25% of adults who experience mental health symptoms believe that others have compassion for people struggling with mental health issues.

The stigma surrounding mental illness can cause shame and embarrassment for many people. This prevents them from seeking the desired help and treatment. It can also make associated symptoms worse.

While our society is progressing in terms of the perception of mental illnesses, there is still a long way to go so that people with mental health problems do not feel shame and guilt.

Ways to Stop Feeling Embarrassed About Your Depression

You are not the only one with a mental health problem. You’re also not the only one feeling shame and embarrassment about your condition, but you don’t have to keep feeling that way.

Shame and embarrassment are like a spiral. This can give the impression that they are not fully present in a situation. Here are five ways to stop feeling self-conscious about your depression:

1) Write it down

Writing down or even thinking freely about your shame can be almost as helpful if you’re hesitant to tell anyone else, even a compassionate therapist.

Writing is a simple approach to cultivating mindfulness and creating healthy distance from negative thought patterns. Simply put: writing down your experience helps you be more in the moment and more aware of the reality of your situation.

For example: you can write a few paragraphs describing how you felt when someone mentioned your depression or when your colleague pointed out that it was just laziness.

After 20 minutes of writing, you will almost certainly be able to step back and look at the experience more objectively. You may find that even if it doesn’t feel as bad or terrible the next day, it certainly won’t feel that way in a week, month, or year.

2) Ignorance is not bliss

Many pop culture artists, actors and musicians have opened up about their mental health issues. They do this by recognizing that ignorance is not the key or the cure for mental health issues.

When we ignore the emotions, thoughts, and behaviors associated with what harms our well-being, we fall into a deep spiral.

However, you will discover something unexpected if you reflect, discuss or write about what made you ashamed. You start to feel a lot less ashamed after the first few minutes of talking about it, or even after the first few seconds.

3) Show yourself compassion

We are often much harder on ourselves than we are on our loved ones, close friends or strangers. Try to be kind to yourself if you criticize your depression. What would you say if someone else went through the same thing?

“A study suggests that self-compassion-focused interventions for people with recurrent depression can reinforce feelings of kindness toward self and others, and lessen negative mood over time.”

The nature of depression can make it very difficult to practice self-compassion. Self-care is simply not a priority due to negative thoughts, depressed mood, exhaustion and lack of motivation.

Although it may be difficult, admit that you are having difficulty. Allow yourself to heal without the pressure of having to meet unreasonably high standards. Every day, no matter how small, remember to rejoice in your victories.

4) Ignore negative comments

Some phrases, such as “get over it” and “others are worse off than me,” imply that all it takes to treat depression is a positive thought. If that doesn’t happen, you might feel humiliated or even guilty for not thinking favorably enough.

Positive self-talk is fundamental to maintaining the energy and strength you need while you rest and recharge. Beneficial side effects of positive self-talk include enhanced immunity, better coping skills, resistance to depression, and stronger mental health.

Keep in mind that depression impacts brain function. You wouldn’t advise someone with high blood pressure to think up nice thoughts to lower their blood pressure, and the same goes for depression. There is never any shame in needing medical treatment for depression to control the symptoms.

5) Ask for help

It's fine to seek help when you feel depressed. (Image via Pexels/Lalesh Aldarwish)

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