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These 25 Quotes Prove Depression Is More Than Sadness

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For people who experience depression, it’s more than a prolonged period of sadness. Depression has both mental and physical symptoms, or sometimes feels like nothing at all. We asked our readers to describe their own experience with depression, and we received more than 500 poetic and honest responses. If you can relate, you are not alone.

1. “Having depression is being in an abusive relationship with yourself.” — Emily Dotterer

2. “It’s like a daily guilt trip.” — Tommy Sorg

3. “Sometimes it’s heavy… like you’re carrying an elephant. Sometimes it’s dark… you wonder if you’ll ever see light. Sometimes it’s bleak… you wonder if you’ll make it through. And some days there are no words to describe it.” — Tonia Funk Brassell

4. “Having depression is like seeing a rainbow in grayscale.” — Hazel Strickland


5. “It feels like you’ve swallowed a bag of stones. A heavy feeling somewhere between your heart and stomach.” — Kyla Dale

6. “Depression feels like apathy and shame are your new best friends.” — Julie Riley

7. “I feel like I’m in the ocean with big waves and small waves, just trying to keep my head above water and not drown — but the waves come and go and I’m alone without a life preserver trying to stay afloat.” — Melissa Cote

8. “It’s like someone unplugged you from the socket of feelings.” — Brenda Sue Hagen


9. “Having depression is like being trapped in a really bad thunderstorm. You don’t know when it’s going to hit, you never know how long it’s going to last, and when it finally passes, you’re left to survey the damages and pick up the pieces.” — Tiffany Johnson

1o. “It’s like having something heavy sitting on your head all the time.” — Megan Heasley Cutter

11.Depression is like being in a totally round room and looking for a corner to sit in.” — Laura Sloate


12. “Depression is like falling so deep down the rabbit hole you forget what the sky looks like.” — Robin Brodsky Curtin

13. “Depression is frustrating. It’s knowing there’s so much to be grateful for and happy about and to enjoy, but you just can’t get there.” — Allie Griffin

14. “Depression is like being in a distorted glass prison. It affects your perception of the world and creates an invisible barrier between you and ‘regular’ people.” — Karen Glorsky Epstein

15. “It feels like you’re walking through peanut butter.” — Riley Lee


16. “Depression is like quicksand — the more you try to escape on your own, the deeper you sink. Use the supports, tools and resources thrown at you from those on the outside.” — Jamie Awtry McClintic

17.It’s an inability to feel anything at all.” — Miriam McCallum 

18.It’s like being in a glass elevator in the middle of a crowded mall; you see everything and would love to join in, but the door won’t open so you can’t.” — Lisa Moore Sherman


19. “Depression is watching yourself from behind your right shoulder [as you] pretend to live and feel and function.”  — Carol Stewart

20. “Depression is having everything you ever wanted and you’re still not happy.” — Beaulieu Mellem

21. “It’s like having a bully in your head.” — Nicky Limmer


22.Depression is like living without any of your senses.” — Drew McCaig

23. “Like you’re trying to swim against the flow… in molasses.”  — Alice Evers Sanborn 

24. “It’s like being trapped in a state of mind between awake and asleep.” — Bri Marie


25. “It’s the chance to look inside you, deeper than anyone else, to understand your feelings, to grow spiritually and to be understanding with others because you know what it feels like to be down.” — Maria Barbato-Arabatzis

*Some answers have been shortened and/or edited.

Do you have a story about your experience with mental illness? We want to hear it. Please send it to and include a photo for the story, a photo of yourself and a 1-2 sentence bio. More info here

Originally published: August 6, 2015
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