Let’s talk about: Ridicule, judgement and rejection

Let’s talk about: Ridicule, judgement and rejection

This week we are looking at the shame triggers that are ridicule, judgement and rejection. Shame triggers are moments that cause you to feel shame. They can be caused by another person or circumstance, or by perceived shame, which is when you believe that you have been shamed when you haven’t. People living with a mental health difficulty, know the experience of shame all too well. Below our Ambassadors share with you, their experiences of feeling ridiculed, judged or rejected and what they think would have been more helpful in that moment.

The trigger

“When I was experiencing chronic treatment for resistant depression I was trying to reach out particularly to my family to try and get more support especially with my daughter. I already felt like a total burden and it was so difficult to reach out for help as I’m usually a very independent person and like to help others and not be the one needing help.


However, I received so much misunderstanding and judgment. My family thought I was attention seeking and how could I still be that sick I must be making it up. As a result of being so badly misunderstood and judged I feel I didn’t get the support I needed, I felt more ashamed of my depression, I felt completely overwhelmed to try and continue being a good mother and I felt rejected with nowhere to turn. I feel it slowed my recovery process a lot.


I remember asking my Mam for help one time with my daughter as I really was not able to cope and barely looking after myself. I had suicidal depression. She shouted at me to ‘pull up my socks and look after my daughter. I’m 30 and need to grow up.’


I felt very hurt for a long time about these judgements and lack of understanding and support. It really was like living through a nightmare. I’ve done a lot of therapy to process my hurt and realised that it was just ignorance and lack of understanding of how bad things really were for me however, if my family had truly understood what I was going through then maybe I would have recovered quickly and wouldn’t be now alienated from my daughter.”


What would have helped


“Unconditional support and understanding from my family. I’m not an attention seeker. I was genuinely struggling and very ill and feel if I had been as severely physically ill, it would have been so different, and I don’t feel that’s right at all as I didn’t choose to be that sick for so long. It was like being in a nightmare.”



The trigger

“You don’t look like someone who has Depression or Panic attacks. Sure, you are always smiling and laughing how can you be depressed”

Another comment

“How can you be Anxious you don’t have anything to worry about there are people who have it harder than you”.


These comments I felt at the time dismissed that I am someone who has struggled with depression, anxiety and panic attacks. They have at times made me feel that my experiences don’t count and that because I haven’t looked or been a certain way to others that I don’t understand or know what a mental health difficulty is like.”


What would have helped


“What would have helped in the moment is that I was believed and that my feelings and experiences were acknowledged. Not everyone looks the same or has the same signs and symptoms when going through a mental health difficulty. It is important that others don’t judge someone on the way that they look or that someone shames another because they have an image in their head of what something looks like. I always remind people that someone can look absolutely fine on the outside, yet on the inside be living in inner turmoil.”



The trigger

“I lost my friends at a festival before which resulted in me having an anxiety attack. Later one of my ‘friends’ was explaining what happened to another and as a form of explanation she said ‘maybe she didn’t take her medication that day’. It was repeated back to me. I felt multiple shame triggers…judgement, rejection, ridicule.”


What would have helped


“It would have been helpful for her to try to understand why I panicked and also not use something I shared privately with her to invalidate my feelings.”


If you are having a tough time at the moment and need to reach out for support, please contact any of the following

Shine: phil@shine.ie

Samaritans: 116123

Pieta House: 1800 247 247

YourMentalHealth.ie: 1800 742 444

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