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Mental Illness Is Like Playing Mouse Trap – It’s Full of Snares!

Mental Illness is like playing Mouse Trap its full of snares smWhat Is A Snare?

The dictionary defines a snare as “a trap for catching birds or animals, typically one having a noose of wire or cord.” Some other synonyms would be “a trap,” “noose,” “pitfall,” or “deadfall.”

It’s like the Mouse Trap game – did you ever play it? It’s filled with different types of traps to ensnare you so your opponent can win. It’s  somewhat complicated for a children’s game because of all the parts, but even so, it was always fun to play.

But, it’s no fun playing it as part of “real” life!

We all can become ensnared and trapped by many different circumstances, but the one thing I hear more often that not when it comes to living with Bipolar Disorder and Depression…is the emotional snare. That snare is guilt and shame!

Mental Health humor Cartoon by Chato Stewart

Caption: Mental Illness is like playing Mouse Trap, it’s full of snares! 

Shame because we may have said or done something in the past because of an uncontrolled episode (living with a mental illness, I know ninety-eight percent of us fall into this category). Or maybe just having a mental illness is something we may view as shameful. We may be weighed down by guilt and unable to forgive ourselves. Yes, guilt and shame are two extremely debilitating emotions that are proliferating our “brain dis-ease” (as actor Joe Pantoliano calls mental illness).

We lose our mindfulness on our own recovery when we can’t avoid the trap of feeling so much guilt and shame.

Too Much Guilt and Shame?

If you have “screwed up,” “pitched the pooch,” or “stepped barefooted into the stinky stuff,” you may feel guilty. That kind of guilt is good. Guilt can be good if it means that you still have a conscience and the ability to know right from wrong. The problem is guilt and shame are also the ammunition for “brain dis-ease.” Carrying too much self-inflicted pain per day is not healthy!

A wise man once said:

“For my own errors have passed over my head; Like a heavy load they are too heavy for me. My wounds have become stinky, they have festered, Because of my foolishness. I have become disconcerted, I have bowed low to an extreme degree; All day long I have walked about sad.”

Being burdened by a heavy load of guilt and shame is disconcerting, causing us to be thrown off balance and to feel unsettled.

We must first recognize and not devalue the reason behind our guilty and shameful feelings. Hey, there may be a valid reason for guilt. We may need to make reparations in order to repair damage we may have caused physically, emotionally, financially or spiritually. The reparations may be to ourselves. Yes, until we can forgive ourselves, it’s almost impossible to forgive others.

Forgiveness leads to recovery. It can help one avoid the mouse trap snares of guilt and shame. It all starts with three words…I FORGIVE ME! – Can you forgive me, too?!


Friend me on Facebook @chato B Stewart.



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Originally Posted on YOU need permission use ©2011

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Mental Illness Is Like Playing Mouse Trap – It’s Full of Snares!

Chato Stewart

Chato Stewart has a mission, to draw and use humor as a positive tool to live, to cope with the debilitating effects symptoms of mental illness. Chato Stewart is a Mental Health Hero and Advocate. Recovery Peer Specialist board-certified in Florida. Chato is the artist behind the cartoons series Mental Health Humor, Over-Medicated, and The Family Stew - seen here in his blog posts. The cartoons are drawn from his personal experience of living with bipolar disorder (and other labels).

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APA Reference
Stewart, C. (2012). Mental Illness Is Like Playing Mouse Trap – It’s Full of Snares!. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2020, from


Last updated: 21 Jun 2012
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