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quotations about depression

Depression quote

Depression is a prison where you are both the suffering prisoner and the cruel jailer.

DOROTHY ROWE, Depression: The Way Out of Your Prison

Mysteriously and in ways that are totally remote from normal experience, the gray drizzle of horror induced by depression takes on the quality of physical pain ... it is entirely natural that the victim begins to think ceaselessly of oblivion.

WILLIAM STYRON, Darkness Visible

During depression the world disappears ... because the inner voice is so urgent in its own discourse: How shall I live? How shall I manage the future? Why should I go on?

KATE MILLETT, The Loony-Bin Trip

My depression is the most faithful mistress I have known -- no wonder, then, that I return the love.


I have a suspicion that society, in its heart of hearts, despises depressives because it knows they have a point: the recognition that life is finite and sad and frightening.

TIM LOTT, "What does depression feel like? Trust me -- you really don't want to know", The Guardian, April 19, 2016

Some authors have conceptualized depression as a "depletion syndrome" because of the prominence of fatigability; they postulate that the patient exhausts his available energy during the period prior to the onset of the depression and that the depressed state represents a kind of hibernation, during which the patient gradually builds up a new story of energy.

AARON T. BECK, Depression

Depression has been labelled the common cold of psychopathology. This comparison is unfortunate, for it conveys the impression of a frequent but mild complaint. In reality ... depression is not only the most frequent mental health problem, but is among the most serious.

PAUL GILBERT, Depression: The Evolution of Powerlessness

Depression is one of the few psychological disorders that can be said to be fatal. Of all the consequences, suicide is, of course, the starkest consequence of the individual's feelings of hopelessness and debility.


Depression is a choice.

A.B. CURTISS, Depression Is a Choice

Depression is a treatable medical illness like cancer and heart disease.


Depression is like a bruise that never goes away. A bruise in your mind. You just got to be careful not to touch it where it hurts. It's always there, though.


The way sadness works is one of the strange riddles of the world. If you are stricken with a great sadness, you may feel as if you have been set aflame, not only because of the enormous pain, but also because your sadness may spread over your life, like smoke from an enormous fire. You might find it difficult to see anything but your own sadness, the way smoke can cover a landscape so that all anyone can see is black. You may find that if someone pours water all over you, you are damp and distracted, but not cured of your sadness, the way a fire department can douse a fire but never recover what has been burnt down.

DANIEL HANDLER (as Lemony Snicket), The Bad Beginning

When you're in a Slump,
you're not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

DR. SEUSS, Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Sadness is no more than a bit of acid transfixed in the cerebellum.

ALAN LIGHTMAN, Einstein's Dreams

I have never been remotely ashamed of having been depressed. Never. What's to be ashamed of? I went through a really rough time and I am quite proud that I got out of that.

J. K. ROWLING, USA Today, Mar. 23, 2008

If depression is creeping up and must be faced, learn something about the nature of the beast: You may escape without a mauling.

R.W. SHEPHERD, Vogue magazine, July 1978

I inherited depression from my mother’s side of the family. Her father committed suicide. She committed suicide the year before I went to the moon.

BUZZ ALDRIN, New York Times, Jun. 15, 2009

What uniform can I wear to hide my heavy heart? It is too heavy. It will always show.

JEAN COCTEAU, The Miscreant

Something crucial about depression ... The smarter you were, the worse it was. The sharper your brain, the more it cut you up.


In depression this faith in deliverance, in ultimate restoration, is absent. The pain is unrelenting, and what makes the condition intolerable is the foreknowledge that no remedy will come- not in a day, an hour, a month, or a minute. If there is mild relief, one knows that it is only temporary; more pain will follow. It is hopelessness even more than pain that crushes the soul.

WILLIAM STYRON, Darkness Visible

A new study found that people who are depressed have a greater risk of stroke. Well that should cheer them up.

JAY LENO, The Tonight Show, Sep. 26, 2011

In the lives of the saddest of us, there are bright days like this, when we feel as if we could take the great world in our arms and kiss it. Then come the gloomy hours, when the fire will neither burn on our hearths nor in our hearts; and all without and within is dismal, cold, and dark. Believe me, every heart has its secret sorrows, which the world knows not, and oftentimes we call a man cold, when he is only sad.


Depression is the inability to construct a future.

ROLLO MAY, Love and Will

How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!


There is no point treating a depressed person as though she were just feeling sad, saying, "There now, hang on, you'll get over it." Sadness is more or less like a head cold -- with patience, it passes. Depression is like cancer.


People who drink to drown their sorrow should be told that sorrow knows how to swim.

ANN LANDERS, attributed, The Mammoth Book of Zingers, Quips, and One-Liners

What's a depression? The dictionary says a depression is a dent. And what's a dent? Everybody knows a dent is a hole. And what's a hole? You tell me what's a hole! And I'll tell you that a hole is nothin'!

JIMMY DURANTE, The Phantom President

Whenever I get depressed, I raise my hemlines. If things don't change, I am bound to be arrested.


Sometimes, my heart hurts so much, I beat it with my fists. I try to run. But you cannot run away from this. You cannot run from it. Wherever you run, it waits for you. Even when you think you have escaped it, it is there, where you have run to. It waits for you, to ambush you. It is like those vines called lianas, those tropical creepers that grow around you and strangle you. You cut off one branch, but there is another that grows. You leap over the wall of one ghetto and find yourself in another ghetto.

KLAUS KINSKI, Playboy, 1985

Living with depression is like trying to keep your balance while you dance with a goat -- it is perfectly sane to prefer a partner with a better sense of balance.

ANDREW SOLOMON, The Noonday Demon

That's the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it's impossible to ever see the end.


I was depressed ... I was suicidal. As a matter of fact, I would have killed myself but I was in analysis with a strict Freudian and if you kill yourself they make you pay for the sessions you miss.


Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any misery, any depression, since after all you don't know what work these conditions are doing inside you? Why do you want to persecute yourself with the question of where all this is coming from and where it is going? Since you know, after all, that you are in the midst of transitions and you wished for nothing so much as to change. If there is anything unhealthy in your reactions, just bear in mind that sickness is the means by which an organism frees itself from what is alien; so one must simply help it to be sick, to have its whole sickness and to break out with it, since that is the way it gets better.

RAINER MARIA RILKE, Letters to a Young Poet

Laugh at depression and depression will join in.


There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.


The term clinical depression finds its way into too many conversations these days. One has a sense that a catastrophe has occurred in the psychic landscape.

LEONARD COHEN, International Herald Tribune, Nov. 4, 1988


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