Depression quotes can do a lot to explain how people with depression feel on a daily basis, or to help someone who’s struggling on their mental health journey.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, about 6.7% of the American population age 18 or older is affected by depression in a given year. Ages 18-25 are most likely to become depressed.
Despite it being one of the most common mental disorders, explaining what depression feels like can be tough.
These depression quotes do a pretty good job of making you feel less alone.
When someone is depressed, they may feel low, hopeless, and unmotivated.
Whether it’s caused by genes, hormonal changes, stress, grief, or substance abuse, depression knows no race, education level, or economic background — everyone is at risk.
If you have depression, you might find it difficult to express the way you feel. Others might not understand what you are going through and might try (with good intentions) to try to cheer you up, only to end up confused as to why you are still depressed.
We’ve gathered the best depression quotes to help you interpret your feelings of sadness, help you determine if you need to seek help, and to remind you that you are not alone in your emotions.
1. “Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” ― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
2. “Sometimes I just think depression’s one way of coping with the world. Like, some people get drunk, some people do drugs, some people get depressed. Because there’s so much stuff out there that you have to do something to deal with it.” — Ned Vizzini
3. “You are allowed to feel messed up and inside out. It doesn’t mean you’re defective — it just means you’re human.” ― David Mitchell
4. “Sad hurts but it’s a healthy feeling. It is a necessary thing to feel. Depression is very different.” ― J.K. Rowling
5. “In addition to my other numerous acquaintances, I have one more intimate confidant… My depression is the most faithful mistress I have known — no wonder, then, that I return the love.” — Soren Kierkegaard
6. “If you are chronically down, it is a lifelong fight to keep from sinking ” ― Elizabeth Wurtzel
7. “Don’t try to solve serious matters in the middle of the night.” ― Philip K. Dick
8. “Our Generation has had no Great war, no Great Depression. Our war is spiritual. Our depression is our lives.” — Chuck Palahniuk
9. “One swallow does not make a summer, neither does one fine day; similarly one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy.” ― Aristotle
10. “Depression is melancholy minus its charms.” ― Susan Sontag
11. “My mental health problems are real and they are valid. I will not judge myself for the bad days when I can barely get out of bed. I will not make myself feel worse because someone else appears to be handling their mental illness better than I am handling mine. Recovery is not a competition.” — Matt Joseph Diaz
12. “I am living in a nightmare, from which from time to time I wake in sleep.” ― Ursula K. Le Guin
13. “Do not be afraid of spending quality time by yourself. Find meaning or don’t find meaning but ‘steal’ some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self. Opt for privacy and solitude. That doesn’t make you antisocial or cause you to reject the rest of the world. But you need to breathe. And you need to be.” — Albert Camus
14. “I am in that temper that if I were underwater I would scarcely kick to come to the top.” — John Keats
15. “You think you deserve that pain but you don’t.” — Richard Swersey, Me and You and Everyone We Know
16. “The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist fears this is true.” — James Branch Cabell
17. “It is very hard to explain to people who have never known serious depression or anxiety the sheer continuous intensity of it. There is no off switch.” — Matt Haig
18. “When you’ve suffered a great deal in life, each additional pain is both unbearable and trifling.” — Yann Martel, Life of Pi
19. “Very jaded and tired and depressed and cross…Must fill my mind with air and light, and walk and blanket it in fog.” — Virginia Woolf
20. “Have you ever been so melancholy, that you wanted to fit in the palm of your beloved’s hand? And lie there, for fortnights, or decades, or the length of time between stars? In complete silence?” — Sarah Ruhl, Melancholy Play
21. “Depression is like a war — you either win or die trying.”
22. “I drank to drown my pain, but the damned pain learned how to swim…” — Frida Kahlo
23. “You will have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” — Robin Williams, Good Will Hunting
24. “Whether an illness affects your heart, your arm, or your brain, it’s still an illness, and there shouldn’t be any distinction. We would never tell someone with a broken leg that they should stop wallowing and get it together. We don’t consider taking medication for an ear infection something to be ashamed of. We shouldn’t treat mental health conditions any differently. Instead, we should make it clear that getting help isn’t a sign of weakness — it’s a sign of strength — and we should ensure that people can get the treatment they need.” — Michelle Obama
25. “Need a whole new syntax for fatigue on days like this” — David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
26. “It was against my principles and all, but I was feeling so depressed I didn’t even think. That’s the whole trouble. When you’re feeling very depressed, you can’t even think.” — J.D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye
27. “Tonight, once more, life sinks its teeth into my heart.” — Simone de Beauvoir
28. “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” — Lao Tzu
29. “That is all I want in life: for this pain to seem purposeful.” ― Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation
30. “Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.” ― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
31. “I will not say do not weep, for not all tears are evil.” — J.R.R. Tolkien
32. “There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.” — Laurell K. Hamilton, Mistral’s Kiss
33. “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
34. “If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather.” — Stephen Fry
35. “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.” — Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation
36. “Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever, they always list depression among the side effects of cancer. But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying.” ― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
37. “Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear.” — C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
38. “The worst type of crying wasn’t the kind everyone could see—the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived. For people like me and Echo, our souls contained more scar tissue than life.” ― Katie McGarry, Pushing the Limits
39. “The worst type of crying wasn’t the kind everyone could see — the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it.” — Katie McGarry, Pushing the Limits
40. “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.” ― Barbara Kingsolver
41. “Noble deeds and hot baths are the best cures for depression.” — Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle
42. “Seek out the memories depression takes away and project them into the future.” — Andrew Solomon, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression
43. “The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say ‘My tooth is aching’ than to say ‘My heart is broken.'” — C.S. Lewis
44. “Once you’re grown up you can’t come back.” — Peter Pan
45. “When you’re surrounded by all these people, it can be lonelier than when you’re by yourself. You can be in a huge crowd, but if you don’t feel like you can trust anyone or talk to anybody, you feel like you’re really alone.” ― Fiona Apple
46. “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.” — Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye
47. “I’ll never forget how the depression and loneliness felt good and bad at the same time. Still does.” — Henry Rollins, The Portable Henry Rollins
48. “Depression, instead, is flat, hollow, and unendurable. It is also tiresome.” — Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
49. “It’s my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other easily understood disease just to make it easier on me and also on them.” — Jennifer Niven, All the Bright Places
50. “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
If you or someone you know is dealing with depression, call SAMHSA’s National Helpline (1-800-662-4357) for free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information. For free and confidential emotional support, call 800-273-TALK no matter what problems or type of stress you’re dealing with.
Helen Luc is a frequent contributor to YourTango. Her writing focuses on love, relationships, and pop-culture topics.