I'm translating the following passage, which is said by a black woman living in America:
But the doctor was right: I was depressed. Like most people in my community, I had the misconception that depression was a sign of weakness, a character flaw. But I wasn't weak; I was a high achiever. I was too ashamed. I didn't think I had the right to be depressed. I had a privileged life with a loving family and a successful career. And when I thought about the unspeakable horrors that my ancestors had been through in this country so that I could have it better, my shame grew even deeper. I was standing on their shoulders. How could I let them down? I would hold my head up, put a smile on my face and never tell a soul.
I need to know what the sentence I was standing on their shoulders mean? Does it mean I had to continue the way they had started? Does it mean I had much better conditions than theirs?