I was introduced to a song the other day that hit home, and brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it. The song (with some lyrics below) touches on something that is not discussed in detail SHAME.

I cannot begin to tell you even 17 years after my Bipolar diagnosis the shame I still feel inside. 

The definition below is just one of many that define shame;

Shame: (a) a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety (b) a condition of humiliating disgrace or repute.

Some adjectives includes: blame, fault, embarrassment, anguish, distress, sadness.

While others may feel differently and may not feel shame, I do. So how does it effect me currently and play a role in my life? The answer is constantly. 

I’m on SSDI and on Medicare. My husband is the breadwinner. His job is stressful for him, and he too suffers from Bipolar. When he is upset about work, which is frequent, it makes me feel a sense of shame. Shame that I cannot contribute to finances by working, and shame that he feels stressed on a daily basis. While he tells me he feels nothing of the sort, I still cannot get rid of the negative thoughts and worthlessness I feel.

I think a big reason for sources of shame, is stigma. To tell or not to tell that is the question. How are folks going to react? I feel a large part is due to the stigma and judgments of the way we feel people will react. We are scared that telling people will make them think, or say things about us…“She’s crazy”; “He needs his Prozac.” These are not uncommon comments!

Shame affects all those involved in the individual’s life diagnosed with a mental illness. Including the circle around them, i.e. family, friends, etc. For me I feel like I am not living up to the norms those others without bipolar feel. I feel flawed, broken, and judged. Revealing the diagnosis to those persons who do not relate negative judgments or evaluation fuels my shame.

Many times shame leads to isolation and withdrawal socially. This just fuels the depression, one is feeling already, and possibly even creates a sense of anger. Negative emotions such as hurt and sadness are not uncommon, as well as worthlessness. The feeling of worthlessness it what drew me to this topic of shame.

 So the question is how to deal with shame? The answer from my point of view is it is hard. Nevertheless, there are suggestions from various sources that suggest beneficial ways to improve one’s self confidence. Such as getting involved in a hobby that you enjoy and feel successful at. Positive affirmations may help such as, “I’m a good and kind person that people enjoy to be around.”

Emeli Sande sings the song that started me thinking about this topic. The name of the song is “Read all about it.” I have chosen only pieces of the song that I feel really reflect the topic and hit home regarding shame.

“You’ve got the words to change a nation but you’re biting your tongue. You’ve spent a life time stuck in silence afraid you’ll say something wrong If no one ever hears it how we gonna learn your song”

“You’ve got a heart as loud as lions. So why let your voice be tamed? Baby we’re a little different there’s no need to be ashamed. You’ve got the light to fight the shadows so stop hiding it away”

“At night we’re waking up the neighbours while we sing away the blues making sure that we remember yeah cause we all matter too if the truth has been forbidden then we’re breaking all the rules”

“Yeah we’re all wonderful, wonderful people so when did we all get so fearful? Now we’re finally finding our voices so take a chance, come help me sing this.”

Here is the link to the full version of this song….

Please feel free to comment on this topic, I think it’s a topic that’s not frequently discussed.

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