Beyond My Shame – A Poem About Stigma

Beyond my shame

my soul lived

waiting to break free.

Could you see me?

I was in there.

The real me buried beneath my pain and shame.

The real me underneath the stigmatized me?

Stigma lessened me,

made me feel inadequate.

I never measured up.

I felt inferior because of the label I was given.

It wasn’t so much the label of mental illness

but the stigma society put on my label.

I was in there living beneath the shame–

trying to break free.

I caught the shame you threw at me

and absorbed it inside myself.

Stigma is contagious

like a virus

spread by many.

No one is immune.

Mental illness stole my identtiy and the life I planned on living.

I had to redefine myself from beyond the pain of shame.

The shame was always there

even when I pretended it wasn’t.

I could feel it gnawing at me

interfering with my abiity to fully live my life.

It was not my shame to wear

and was not my pain to bear.

So, I give it back to you.

You can have it.

I am not ashamed and I will not wear the shame of stigma anymore.

Beyond my shame I reemerged into the me that was waiting to be free–

the me that deserves a chance to live and love fully.

Will you give me a chance and let me show you I am more than you think I am–

more than you thought I was.

I am a fully capable, strong, smart, kind and good person.

I made mistakes behind my shame.

Please forgive me

and let me show you who I really am beyond my shame.

While I was imprisoned behind my shame, I grew stronger, wiser and kinder

and transformed into a better version of  myself.

I had no choice. I had to.

I am still transforming but I am going to make it beyond the shame

–beyond the stigma.

There is mental wellness

and I have obtained it.

Shame ate my soul

but I will continue to rise above

and beyond

the stigma

and shame

of mental illness.

~written by Susan Walz

“Shame needs three things to grow exponentially in our lives: secrecy, silence and judgement.” ~Brene′ Brown

“The only way to get rid of your past is to make a future out of it.” ~unknown

“If we share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” ~ Brene′ Brown

© 2019 Susan Walz | | All Rights Reserved



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