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Shame has a bigger impact on mental health than most people realize. In fact, it can impact your entire life in a negative way if you let it take over.

People experience shame for a variety of reasons. One of the most common culprits is trauma. Those who have been through a traumatic event or experience, even through no fault of their own, often feel ashamed of what happened. They may even blame themselves entirely.

When you let shame get ahold of your life, it can change your entire trajectory. It can negatively impact your quality of life and make you see things from a negative perspective.

Unfortunately, it could also be preventing you from seeking the help you need to move forward.

So, how is shame really impacting your mental health, and what can you do about it?

It Cuts You Off From Your Support System

One of the main reasons why shame could be preventing you from seeking help is that it causes you to hide away. When you feel ashamed of something, the last thing you want is for the action behind that shame to be brought to light.

So, it’s not uncommon to distance yourself from friends and family. You don’t want to show vulnerability to anyone, because the “truth” may be revealed. That can be overwhelming, even when you know the cause for shame wasn’t your fault.

Unfortunately, when you hide away from people, you’re also cutting off your support system. People who care about you will often be the first to encourage getting help or seeking mental health treatment. They’ll also be there to support you on your journey. Without that support and care, it’s hard to work up the courage to seek help on your own.

It Makes You Feel Worthless

People who deal with shame also often deal with depression and a low sense of self-worth. Both of those issues can make it harder to seek out help. Depression often makes you feel unmotivated. Combine that with low self-worth, and you might not see a point in getting help. Or, you might be so down that you don’t feel you deserve it.

It’s also not uncommon for people who feel shame to suppress their emotions. You might find yourself pushing your feelings down and trying to ignore them.

The problem with that? Emotions demand to be felt. One way or another, they will resurface. When they do, they’ll usually be stronger and more intense than when you initially tried to ignore them. Getting professional help can give you the tools you need to process your emotions, rather than ignore them.

What Can You Do?

When you feel shame, you might also feel like there are countless obstacles in front of you. So, how can you get out of it? What can you do to break free from the chains of shame and understand that you deserve help and freedom?

First, commit to relationships with safe people. Who are the ones you trust most in your life? Who can you be vulnerable with? Even if you can only think of one or two people, that’s a start. When you can share your shame in a safe environment, it becomes weaker.

Don’t keep everything inside. The more you start to open up about what you’re feeling, the more you’ll be in control. You’ll even start to develop more self-compassion.

Feeling better about yourself and having a willingness to be vulnerable can encourage you to get professional mental health help. If shame also has you struggling with anxiety or depression, that’s your next step.

To overcome shame, you have to believe that it’s possible to heal. If you’re ready to get started, take that small first step in finding someone you trust. You might be surprised by how quickly you can find freedom.

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