The Shame of Depression

Shame of Depression

The shame of depression is so overwhelming that it truly makes the experience so much worse. I know… keeping silent for my entire life and hiding everything from my family wasn’t one of my best choices.

I was in my late teens (1987 or 1988) and had already tried to commit suicide at least twice when I saw Patty Duke come on Oprah and talk about her Big Black Hole (depression) and her book ‘Call Me Anna‘. She was the first adult I had ever heard speak about the things that I tried to keep secret from the world. I remember that my father was home from work that day and we watched it together. The memory of breaking down in tears right in front of him is sharp and I don’t know if he understood completely why.

Big Black Hole Of Depression and the Shame That Comes With It.
The pull of the big black hole of depression can seem tremendously overwhelming. You are so much stronger than you know and you can fight it off.

I was very sorry to hear about what she had been through, but it was such a gift to have someone put words to all the horribleness (yes, I’m making up that word) that had been in my heart and my thoughts for so many years. It was such a gift to know that I wasn’t alone in feeling the way I did. I was so moved by her bravery.

Some years later, in my late 20’s – I finally broke.

All that I had carried with me since I was 9 came flooding out and I had a nervous breakdown.

As I repaired myself, one of the things I did was journal online about the process. I preached that depression was just like any other physical ailment and there was nothing to be ashamed of and at that time it was true for me. Eventually, I got to a certain level and moved on to different activities. I didn’t have that driving need to advocate any longer. A base of self-acceptance was achieved and I learned to live my life. I knew for a short time that there was no shame in depression.

Fast forward: Giving birth and having children somehow changed things for me.

I was more cautious in my self-deprecating humor as I got involved with playgroups. I became filled with fear that they would figure me out and not want their kids playing with mine. After all, there are days when I cry – a lot, when I hate myself to the core and when I can’t talk to anyone. I can’t go to crowded places. I don’t deal well with loud noises. And did I mention the crying?

Social Media surprisingly helped.

Facebook came into my life. The kids were a little older and I was going through a rough yet interesting time in my life. I became rebellious against my fears and was open on FB about going to therapy and I would make jokes about meds. I became silent again after certain extended family members came to me explaining that they felt I was being inappropriate and that these were things I should never talk about. Being told that sent me into another tailspin. I became wrapped up in the thought that I needed to be ashamed of who I was. It didn’t matter what I had been through that put me at that point. The message was loud & clear that I should be embarrassed about bringing such private matters out into the open. The shame of depression was back even more oppressive than ever before.

This set off a snowball effect of CPTSD and a black hole that swallowed me whole for a very long time.

It’s been another few years since then and I’m finally ready to say: Fuck That.

It's okay to be you.

There is no shame in having depression. There is no shame in whatever illness you have to deal with that people don’t understand or can’t see like diabetes or lupus or being bipolar or having anxiety or PTSD or ADHD. As long as you’re taking charge of your illness and you are striving to do your best to improve most of the time, then there is no shame.


I might have depression and all the rest of the mental illness labels, but that is not all of who I am. I’m a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. I’m a classroom mom and do a lot of volunteer work trying to make the world a better place. I am loving and curious and open and a score of other positive things. I still make a contribution to those around me and my community.


So do YOU in your own way. Please realize that YOU are needed. YOU are a whole person who just happens to deal with this one thing that may make you a little different. But it also allows you to see the world from a unique perspective.

Own all of the little bits and pieces that make up who you are and don’t ever give someone else the power to make you feel bad about yourself. You are here for a reason, even if you haven’t figured that out yet.

P.S. I originally wrote this in 2012. The experience of being in and out of that big black hole more times than I can count allows me to update regularly. I am in one now, but thankfully I found a ladder and I’m making my way back up again. Having children, especially older aware teenagers, brought back a lot of those feelings of shame. It was good to get this reposted so I could remind myself of the lesson.

P.S.S. Disclosure: The link to Patty Duke’s book is an affiliate link. That means I may make a small commission if you end up purchasing the book using that link.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Trending Posts

Edit Template

The Get-To-Know Me Posts:

© 1996 – 2024 Melissa Ruppert Olivero Daydreamlane All Rights Reserved

Created with Royal Elementor Addons