Mental Illness Isn’t Your Fault: Let Go of Self-Blame

There’s a lot of self-blame that comes with mental illness. Read this to understand and learn how to let go of self-blame.

Mental illness can be difficult to live with. It creates a lot of challenges and interferes in how people think, feel, and act. As if mental illness weren’t hard enough, it has an effect that is particularly cruel. 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 disorganized,” 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.

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APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2021, April 27). Mental Illness Isn’t Your Fault: Let Go of Self-Blame, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Last Updated: April 27, 2021

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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