15 Quotes That Describe What Depression Feels Like

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People who are depressed often feel sad, experience changes in appetite and sleeping, and as if they are dragging themselves through a heavy quicksand. Things which used to hold enjoyment are no longer pleasurable, and life becomes empty and devoid of meaning. One of the most difficult symptoms of depression is also the loneliness that one experiences. When feeling depressed, it can often feel as if no one in the world can possibly understand what you are going through, as if there is no way out.

But the truth is that there are people out there who do understand, who have experienced depression, who have made it through the darkness, and survived. Below are 15 quotes describing what depression feels like.

  1. “I can't eat and I can't sleep. I'm not doing well in terms of being a functional human, you know?”

    ― Ned Vizzini, It's Kind of a Funny Story

  2. “I don't want to see anyone. I lie in the bedroom with the curtains drawn and nothingness washing over me like a sluggish wave. Whatever is happening to me is my own fault. I have done something wrong, something so huge I can't even see it, something that's drowning me. I am inadequate and stupid, without worth. I might as well be dead.” 

    ― Margaret Atwood, Cat's Eye

  3. “Its so hard to talk when you want to kill yourself. That's above and beyond everything else, and it's not a mental complaint-it's a physical thing, like it's physically hard to open your mouth and make the words come out. They don't come out smooth and in conjunction with your brain the way normal people's words do; they come out in chunks as if from a crushed-ice dispenser; you stumble on them as they gather behind your lower lip. So you just keep quiet.”

    ― Ned Vizzini, It's Kind of a Funny Story

  4. “because wherever I sat—on the deck of a ship or at a street café in Paris or Bangkok—I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air.”

    ― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

  5. “I don't want any more of this try, try again stuff. I just want out. I’ve had it. I am so tired. I am twenty and I am already exhausted.”

    ― Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation

  6. “When you're lost in those woods, it sometimes takes you a while to realize that you are lost. For the longest time, you can convince yourself that you've just wandered off the path, that you'll find your way back to the trailhead any moment now. Then night falls again and again, and you still have no idea where you are, and it's time to admit that you have bewildered yourself so far off the path that you don't even know from which direction the sun rises anymore.”

    ― Elizabeth Gilbert

  7. “Others imply that they know what it is like to be depressed because they have gone through a divorce, lost a job, or broken up with someone. But these experiences carry with them feelings. Depression, instead, is flat, hollow, and unendurable. It is also tiresome. People cannot abide being around you when you are depressed. They might think that they ought to, and they might even try, but you know and they know that you are tedious beyond belief: you are irritable and paranoid and humorless and lifeless and critical and demanding and no reassurance is ever enough. You're frightened, and you're frightening, and you're "not at all like yourself but will be soon," but you know you won't.”

    ― Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

  8. “The sun stopped shining for me is all. The whole story is: I am sad. I am sad all the time and the sadness is so heavy that I can't get away from it. Not ever.”

    ― Nina LaCour, Hold Still

  9. “And I felt like my heart had been so thoroughly and irreparably broken that there could be no real joy again, that at best there might eventually be a little contentment. Everyone wanted me to get help and rejoin life, pick up the pieces and move on, and I tried to, I wanted to, but I just had to lie in the mud with my arms wrapped around myself, eyes closed, grieving, until I didn’t have to anymore.”

    ― Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year

  10. “Depression is the most unpleasant thing I have ever experienced. . . . It is that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad. Sad hurts but it's a healthy feeling. It is a necessary thing to feel. Depression is very different.”

    ― J.K. Rowling

  11. “It seemed silly to wash one day when I would only have to wash again the next.

    It made me tired just to think of it.”

    ― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

  12. “I saw the world in black and white instead of the vibrant colours and shades I knew existed.”

    ― Katie McGarry, Pushing the Limits

  13. “Depression presents itself as a realism regarding the rottenness of the world in general and the rottenness of your life in particular. But the realism is merely a mask for depression's actual essence, which is an overwhelming estrangement from humanity. The more persuaded you are of your unique access to the rottenness, the more afraid you become of engaging with the world; and the less you engage with the world, the more perfidiously happy-faced the rest of humanity seems for continuing to engage with it.”

    ― Jonathan Franzen, How to Be Alone

  14. “If you are chronically down, it is a lifelong fight to keep from sinking ”

    ― Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation

  15. "Sleep just isn't sleep anymore, it's an escape."

    — Unknown

Depression Treatment and management

If you are feeling this way, it’s time to get help. Either medication or psychotherapy alone can bring relief from depression symptoms. However, the combination of both medication and psychotherapy has been found to be particularly effective, with significant rates of improvement.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based treatment that has been found to be effective for depression as well as to prevent its future relapse. Research supports it use with individuals of all ages, including children, teens, and adults. CBT focuses on targeting unhelpful thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes, to promote positive behaviors and emotions. It is a problem focused, and goal oriented form of therapy, in which you are supported in developing effective strategies to decrease symptoms and to address identified goals.

CBT in McLean, Falls Church, Arlington and Vienna

Victoria Chialy Smith, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist providing individual therapy to children, teens, and adults. Our practice provides Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), mindfulness based therapies, and other premier evidence-based treatments, and serves the Falls Church, McLean, Great Falls, Vienna, Arlington, Alexandria, and the greater Washington DC region. Call, email, or schedule an appointment with us online today. We’re happy to help!