I can guide you to overcome self-stigma because I once brutally self-stigmatized. However, now I clearly see that self-stigma hurt me in the past far more than the problems caused when anyone else stigmatized me. Follow this guide to overcoming self-stigma and feel much better about life, your mental illness, and being able to handle it all.
My Guide to Overcoming Self-Stigma: When, Why and How
When Can You Overcome Self-Stigma?
You overcome self-stigma when you choose to overcome it. You have to choose to reach for happiness and increased self-worth. No one chooses to have a mental illness, and you can’t choose to not have one. What we can choose is what we do with our mental illness. We can choose to let it control us and destroy our lives or we can choose to work with it.
Why Overcome Self-Stigma?
Throughout my many years of depression, I had convinced myself that I was unworthy of happiness or much else good in my life. To cope with my unworthiness, I convinced myself that happiness didn’t exist; that happy people were in fact deluded and it was only I who knew the truth. That’s what self-stigma does to you. It creates lies to support lies and changes your reality into delusion.
How Did I Overcome Self-Stigma?
Today I work hard to think rationally. In my mental illness, emotion often doesn’t reflect the truth of what I should feel. Like when you know there’s nothing to be afraid of, but you can’t reach out and touch a germ-laden doorknob. My emotions can lie.
What helps me today is thinking rationally about my mental health challenges. If I’m feeling down, I know that rationally, exercising would make me feel better. But in the past, I often chose to stay trapped in my depressed feelings. Today as a rationally-minded person, I no longer afford myself the twisted luxury of staying trapped in my dismal feelings. I know what works to get out of them and I don’t allow myself excuses for not doing what I should be doing.
Takeaways from This Overcoming Self-Stigma Guide
So, as a guide to overcoming self-stigma, proper nutrition, adequate sleep, exercise and a fulfilling social life can go a long way towards increasing feelings of self-worth.
- By exercising regularly, you will no longer view yourself as weak; as a victim of your illness.
- By getting enough sleep, you will notice a reduction in anxiety and depression.
- By eating healthy, you will provide your brain with the necessary nutrients to keep your ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters firing.
- And, finally, engaging in social activities will help you work with your social anxiety.
I know this all sounds a little too good to be true, but it really isn’t. The first and only time I ever experienced a decrease in my symptoms of mental illness was when I absorbed myself in getting better and made recovery my first priority every day.
Every person is, of course, very different. But these seemingly tiny adjustments can make a world of difference for anyone suffering from self-stigma and other mental health challenges.