It isn’t easy to live with debilitating anxiety and depression, even if you are a celebrity. Last week, hip hop artist Kid Cudi checked himself into a mental health facility, bravely citing on Facebook his longstanding struggles with depression and suicidal urges, and the shame he has felt about it.
SELF asked me to help readers understand how common shame is, and how to know what kind of treatment you might need should you struggle with depression and suicidal urges. I was pleased to help out on this great piece.
In fact, feeling a persisting sense of shame is one of the diagnostic criteria for depression, licensed clinical psychologist Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D., tells SELF—and it can prevent people from getting the help they need. “If left unchecked, it can have life-threatening consequences,” she says.
Understanding that shame and guilt are the result of mental distortions fueled by depression can help. “I sometimes say that shame is ‘your depression taking the wheel’ or ‘your mind playing tricks on you,’” Clark says. “This is not to say that the negative beliefs and feelings aren’t real, they just are part of the vicious cycle of depression—both its byproducts and its fuel.”
Inpatient care is often a good idea when a person is suicidal, Clark says, adding “for people grappling with severe problems, inpatient care is a critical lifeline.”
Clark says safety is the number one concern to consider when it comes to deciding on inpatient or outpatient care. “If you can’t keep yourself safe, then you need to seek inpatient help,” she says. It’s also important to determine whether outpatient care is helping you—if it is, you’re probably OK to stick with that.
If you’re unsure what kind of care you need, ask an inpatient service coordinator or licensed mental health professional for guidance. “Reaching out to get the information is sometimes the hardest, but most important, step,” Clark says.