How Have Others Expressed Depression in Words?

People express their depression in words, and these words poignantly convey deep, difficult concepts. These depression descriptions will move you.

Depression can be difficult to deeply understand. Expressing what it’s like is tough because when you have major depression symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, lethargy, apathy, and thinking and concentration problems (that’s right—depression is much more than feeling sad) impede your ability to communicate. However, being able to express depression in words is valuable. It can help you reach out to others for support and connection, and it can help you understand yourself when you’re experiencing an illness that seems beyond understanding.

Turning to descriptions of depression’s symptoms is important and provides necessary insight. However, this provides a somewhat limited explanation of depression. Symptoms tell us what depression is clinically and provide an intellectual understanding. They fall short of describing what depression feels like, an emotional understanding of this debilitating illness.

To truly know depression requires us to tune into each other and listen to words that convey the depth of the experience. If you’re having difficulty putting your own experience into words or are interested in understanding what depression is like for others, settle in comfortably and read through these snippets of insight written by people suffering from depression. They come from various online public forums and discussions, such as Reddit, Facebook pages, and Twitter. Perhaps you might recognize your own feelings and experiences in some of these, and maybe others will help you realize what you don’t experience with your own depression. These words expressing depression might also help you express your own.

How Others Express Depression in Words

“It's like trying to build a sandcastle. At the bottom of the ocean.”

“Imagine you're a cellphone. You're charged for the day. 85% goes to battle depression. 12% goes to your daily events, leaving you 3% to function!”

“Physically, it feels like I have the flu. Body aches, chest pain, upset stomach. Mentally, I feel like I deserve the flu.”

“After suffering in silence for so long, I'm just an invisible shell.”

“I get so frustrated with myself when I see how many great supportive people I have in my life, but that lingering empty feeling of having nobody always remains.”

“I didn't want to die, and I most certainly didn't want to kill myself. I just wanted everything and everyone to just go away. I wished I could just curl up in a corner and disappear. More than that, I wished I had never existed in the first place because then no one I love would miss me or be hurt by my loss.”

“Feelings seem so hard to put into words and when I do, nobody comprehends. Becoming more and more internalized.”

“There's this tightness in my brain, around what I know to be the amygdala, and then tears start streaming out of nowhere.”

“Plus the irritation and anger spikes. Makes me feel dangerous and undeserving to be around anyone. Sometimes I'll withdraw for weeks or months. The self-loathing is very intense.”

“The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality. And it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me at that moment. Everything there was to do seemed like too much work. I would come home and I would see the red light flashing on my answering machine, and instead of being thrilled to hear from my friends, I would think, 'What a lot of people that is, to have to call back.'"

“It’s like I’m watching life on TV instead of living in it, and all I want to do is change the channel.”

“There are times where it absolutely cripples me because I just want to go back to being the younger me who was able to love life. Back when every experience could be new and exciting, and when things were just more simple and easy.

“When you keep on saying to yourself that everything will be okay but deep down there, it's getting uncontrollable.”

“My therapist wants me to quit saying "I'm a terrible person", but I literally don't know how to express how hard it is to talk to myself nicely without feeling like I am the world's biggest liar, which then makes me feel like a terrible person.”

“Just hope my friends and family see how hard I am trying.”

“Depression is such a cruel punishment. There are no fevers, no rashes, no blood tests to send people scurrying in concern - just the slow erosion of self as insidious as cancer. And like cancer, it is essentially a solitary experience; a room in hell with only your name on the door.”

“I'm a burden to so many that being alone is the only way to survive.”

“To me, it feels like I'm walking around wearing a lead blanket that dentists put on you for x-rays. I feel like my limbs weigh 100 pounds each.”

Your experience with depression is entirely unique and simultaneously part of something shared by millions of people everywhere. How do you describe your depression?

APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2021, December 30). How Have Others Expressed Depression in Words?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 20 from

Last Updated: January 9, 2022

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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