Mental illness can be difficult to live with. It creates a lot of challenges and interferes in how people think, feel, and behave. Mental illness can make people incredibly hard on themselves. Self-blame and guilt are common mental illness sidekicks. Part of healing involves knowing—and believing—that you are not to blame for your illness. Mental illness isn’t your fault.

Comments such as, “I’m worthless,” “I’m stupid” and “I give myself migraines because I worry so much,” are tragic. They’re tragic because they’re untrue. Mental illness is something you experience. It isn’t who you are, and you didn’t do anything to cause it. Nor do you cause your symptoms to flare. Mental illness is complex with multiple causes. Genetics can play a part, as can functioning of and chemical activity within the brain and nervous system. Sometimes, things happen to people that rewire the brain and lead to ongoing symptoms. Your actions do not cause mental illness or its symptoms.

To help yourself let go of self-blame, catch your critical thoughts and immediately remind yourself, “This is something I live with. I didn’t cause this.” Keep your statement simple and firm to help it stick. When you replace self-blame with this simple fact, you will begin to believe in your inherent worth.