Moody Mondays: On the topic of guilt and shame

When talking to someone about our mental health problems there’s a tendency to feel a lot of guilt and shame. Blogging is no different. I often see people apologize for discussing their mental health woes.

Sorry for what I’m about to tell you. Sorry for bothering you. Sorry for ruining your day. Sorry for venting. Sorry for being negative. Sorry for talking about sad stuff. Sorry, sorry, sorry!

Allow me to offer the following definitions:

Definition of shame: “A painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.” (google.com)

Definition of guilt: “The fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime… a feeling of having done wrong or failed in an obligation.” (google.com)

I don’t know about you but I don’t see how discussing mental health fits either of those definitions!

There are of course legitimate things to feel guilt and shame over: violent crime, stealing, violating someone’s trust, saying mean things to someone for no good reason, etc. One shouldn’t feel shame or guilt for talking about their own mental health, though.

It’s the lingering stigma and people’s attitudes toward mental health that can cause us to feel this way.

I do feel like this is changing though. I was talking to a coworker recently and we were swapping a few notes about our various mental health struggles and also what has worked and not worked when it comes to therapy and medication and other stuff like that. At no time did I think, oh, I shouldn’t be talking about this kind of stuff at work. It just seemed rather natural.

It’s not quite the dark ages anymore. The lighted path is here and ready for our use.


Every Monday from now until I get tired of it I will be posting on various mental health topics. That’s a joke actually as I never get tired of talking about mental health!


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feeling shame and guilt for mental health, Selfishness and narcissism
Photo by Irina Iriser on Pexels.com

24 thoughts on “Moody Mondays: On the topic of guilt and shame

  1. I so agree about not having shame with mental health.
    I think it’s the effects and results from the mental instability that blight us with shame when talking about it.
    But apologizing before talking about it, is a lot better than not talking about it at all in the long run

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Much of this perceived “guilt” is vestigial, I think, remnant of a prior era in which such conversations would’ve been held in person.

    Now, with the online community’s ascendancy, one may offer such thoughts in anonymity. At least initially, and that should dissolve, over time, much of the reticence.

    That said, the facelessness lasts only so long, and only at the beginning. Long enough, perhaps, to encourage openness and honesty. Before long, however, friendships and genuine concerns develop, thus validating the approach.

    See, JoAnn, this whole internet thing does have its uses. Besides, this still is such a new medium, we have to get our bearings yet. Heck, I can remember a day when communicating online wasn’t a practical option.

    Well, not I, actually, because I’m getting younger by the day. Everyone else, though.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha ha, why can’t we grow young… that would be something… of course that would come with it’s own set of problems! Just like everything else in life!

      You’re very correct about the whole internet process of establishing friendships. I never trash the internet. It seems to me that it connects people together more than ever. I used to have the feeling of, at some point, meeting such friends in person but then I started to wonder how that would affect the dynamic. It’s an odd thing… the difference between in person communication and online communication, without the use of video that is. Yet another fascinating subject worth more exploration!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Maybe we only want to read positive things … there is so much negative happening in the world, and trying to remain positive is the only means to fill the ether with positive vibes.

    But writing about ones problems should be acceptable. Also for swapping methods to help oneself, like you said, JoAnn. But sometimes it is hard to relate to mental health problems, if oneself does not have any or does not know anybody with those problems. Usually what one does not understand, one does not click “like”.

    There is one blogger with a special mental health problem, where I can too well relate, because my mother had the same problem and did not want to do anything about it, and we could not force her. But at the same time she makes statements that I don’t agree with, so I don’t press “like”. And I don’t want to discuss that with her, because I don’t know if that would trigger something for her.

    The words “shame” and “guilt” should be completely wiped out in this connection though, they do not belong into the mental health context at all.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s very true… with all the negativity in the world it’s easy to get pulled down. It can be very depressing! That’s why I try to put a positive spin on most things and post fun stuff too. I think we all need that!!

      There’s a tendency that most of us have to become too wrapped in our own story… especially when you add in a mental health disorder. I suppose it’s to be expected yet getting too wrapped up in that story can be a real detriment as a person starts to believe their own lies and half-truths. There’s a lot to be said for attempting to see the bigger picture and how we can relate to each other…. there’s so many layers to that onion it can take a lifetime to peel them away!! Don’t you think??

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That is exactly what I am trying to do, give things a positive spin. I am against all categorizing of people, no matter if it is gender, colour, religion, nationality, mental health, whatever. We are all individuals. I wish we could drop this drawer thinking for good and just see each other as human beings. O.k., I draw a line at serial killers or killers in general. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I think that’s a good place to draw the line! I do wish we lived in a world where people aren’t judged for anything other than the content of their character! Maybe one of these day 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  4. What beautiful colors in those photos. And the cat is adorable.

    I have notice that my blog posts where I’m venting about my mental health get fewer likes. I think that people prefer to hear good news and happy stuff and that is why talking about unhappy stuff makes us feel guilty. It feels like an imposition on them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know I love that cat pic!! So purrfect for the subject. 🐈

      Talking about mental health can certainly be a dicey subject. When I first started my blog my fun posts were much more popular than my mental health posts but that’s been changing. Remembering that most people are selfishly involved in their own lives most of the time is helpful. Not judging as we are all guilty of it… some more than others… but it’s really just the nature of human beings. Teasing a little attention out of them and helping them connect without overwhelming them is the key. Well, now I’m just getting too philosophical!! 😂😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Feel free to get as philosophical as you want. You’re one of my favorite bloggers because of how you do what you do.

        I have to deal with my own brand of involuntary uniqueness and it shows in my blog from time to time. I am happy when I find someone who tries to understand and accept.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Nothing wrong with uniqueness! Thank you so much for the kudos!
          I was reading through your blog and trying to think what it might be like to be a nudist… 😂
          To be honest I’ve never consciously had that desire… I like the safety of my clothes I suppose… however, my family has stories… and maybe even a photo or two… of times when I was little and would take off my clothes and start running around outside just like normal… as you were describing doing the same in one of your posts. Apparently it was something I did quite often but I have no recollection of it at all!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I don’t believe that wearing clothing is something children actually want to do. I do suppose that a child in a cool climate would naturally wrap up in some warm item but that’s not something you’d have to train them for. Young children have to be trained to wear clothing for reasons other than warmth.

            Some parents are laissez-faire about it and some parents get all freaky over it. Most kids grow up in an environment where social nudity is NOT an acceptable thing and they carry that, to a greater or lesser degree, all their lives.

            I generally don’t get too “in your face” with my own nudity – at least not in person – unless I know the other people present are okay with it. It does show in my blog posts but I figure an “NSFW” warning is good enough. If someone were offended, easy enough to unfollow.

            And, unlike most nudists, I don’t care if the people around me are nude just that they are accepting. Most nudist resorts require nudity but I prefer clothing optional. I figure it would be hypocritical for me to insist they be nude while advocating for my own option not to be dressed.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I respect that. Some people love to shove their beliefs down other people’s throats. We are all individuals with our own decisions to make! I think that’s a great thing!

              Liked by 1 person

    2. Maybe it’s that word “like”. We might respect you for writing about the topic, feel for you, wish you well. But can’t say we like what you’ve been going through. I notice I hesitate in just this way.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi nice read i suffer like you but writing down my thoughts on my blog and telling the truth has helped me. I find people want to be interested how you feel and how quickly you can change from being happy and normal to a different person is very difficult for someone to understand when they don’t suffer from the deamons and thoughts that cause me to change so quickly. Blackie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that’s the beauty of blogging. There’s really nowhere else that you can pour out your heart and soul and actually connect with people who empathize. Writing is incredibly cathartic and sharing it is even better. Thanks for visiting!🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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