How shame saved my life and my mental health (UNPOPULAR OPINION?)
Aloha and welcome back to my blog! In today’s post I am going to share what I think might be an unpopular opinion, and that is how shame can actually improve your mental health. The reason I have this opinion is because shame saved my mental health and my life for that matter. So if you want to learn about my shame story and see if it can be applied to you, sit back, relax, make a tea, and don’t forget to comment your thoughts at the end of this post.
So… what is shame?
First and foremost, I am going to define shame.
I like the dictionary.com definition the best. They define shame as, the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another.
I know some people can experience shame because of something done to them by another person – this type of shame – depending on the situation – is not reasonable. This is why we have mental health professionals to help people work through unreasonable feelings of shame. I want to make it clear that I am not a mental health professional and I am not talking about that type of shame in this video.
In this post, I am talking about shame arising from something done by oneself, particularly arising from poor health decisions.
Allow me to share my story …
If you’ve been following me for a while you might already know I had a rock bottom to breakthrough transformation at the end of 2017 after I attempted to take my life. For anyone who is thinking “uh oh, I don’t want to talk about suicide right now” I promise you, this is not going to be a dark story — this is a story about my breakthrough.
Rewind to October 2017, I planned to take my life. I am not going to share any details of what I did because I do not want anyone doing the same. That evening, while all this was going down, 911 was called and the first responders busted down my door because I refused to open it (yes I was conscious during this time). As they were busting down the door, all I could think was “holy smokes is this really happening?”
At that point, I scurried into the washroom and hid in the bathtub. All I could think in that moment was “God, if you can just open up the wall of the bathroom so I can crawl in it and hide until this sh*t is over, that would great.” But of course that did not happen. And as that door came down and those first responders came in, I felt the absolute worst I’ve ever felt in my life. That moment I felt at my absolute rock bottom and I felt so much shame.
Fast forward, I ended-up taking some time off work and school. I found a psychologist who was incredibly helpful and I was so incredibly motivated to invest in self-care. I felt like, from that day, I actually started to love living for the first time.
So what happened?
Well, it took me 3 years to realise it, but because I felt so much shame it that moment I knew I was doing something wrong in my life. See, there I was hiding in the bathroom from these first responders who were about to stop me from doing something I had 100% control over. One hundred percent.
I felt shame because every time I had an opportunity to make a good decision for my mental health, I made a bad decision. No one put my under duress, nobody was forcing me to make poor mental health decisions, I was making them on my own. And then more I made poor decisions, the easier it became to make a subsequent poor decision and the harder it became to make a good decision. I made a video talking about how bad decisions lead to bad decisions and you can watch that by clicking the video here.
From that moment, because of the intense shame I felt, I knew I had to start making better decisions.
I’ve had people tell me “well you shouldn’t feel ashamed for feeling sad.” And I say to them, “you’re right – I didn’t feel shame for feeling sad. I felt shame because I knew I could make better decision for my mental health – starting with opening the door for the first responders – but I was not. Shame lets you know when you are doing something wrong. So if you feel shame as a result of something you’ve done – that might be for a good reason. I encourage you to have the conversation about shame with a mental health professional.
If you have any thoughts on shame, please leave them in the comments below. And if you found this post helpful, please don’t forget to share this video with at least one friend. Every time you share it helps me continue creating free content 🙂
As always I hope you have a great day and don’t forget to make this the #YearofYou!
Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional health advice.