Depression is more common than many realize. Writers, therapists, and everyday people are no strangers to it. There is some comfort to be had in that, though: No matter how bleak it may feel, humanity reminds us we are never alone.
Here are 35 quotes, anecdotes, and advice for those with depression from people from all walks of life:
1. “The richest and fullest lives attempt to achieve an inner balance between three realms: love, work, and play.” – Erik Erikson
2. “Change your thinking, change your mind. Act the way you want it to be and soon you will be the way you act. Master your mind or your mind will master you.” – Les Brown
3. “Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also harder to bear. 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, The Problem of Pain
4. “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” This quote is not directly related to depression, however, it teaches us that even in the midst of difficult situations, with the right mindset, we can overcome any battle and succeed.” – Edelys Diaz, LMFT
5. “Not every day will be good, but there’s something good in every day.” – Beth Tyson, MA
6. “Depression is anger turned inward.” – Sigmund Freud
7. “I believe that words are strong, that they can overwhelm what we fear when fear seems more awful than life is good.” – Andrew Solomon in The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression
8. “You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.” – Timber Hawkeye
9. “Open the window of your mind. Allow the fresh air, new lights, and new truths to enter.” – Amit Ray
10. “You will have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” – Robin Williams
11. “Knowing Oneself comes from attending with compassionate curiosity to what is happening within.” – Dr. Gabor Maté
12. “It occurred to Pooh and Piglet that they hadn’t heard from Eeyore for several days, so they put on their hats and coats and trotted across the Hundred Acre Wood to Eeyore’s stick house. Inside the house was Eeyore.
“Hello Eeyore,” said Pooh.
“Hello, Pooh. Hello, Piglet,” said Eeyore, in a Glum Sounding Voice.
“We just thought we’d check in on you,” said Piglet, “because we hadn’t heard from you, and so we wanted to know if you were okay.”
Eeyore was silent for a moment. “Am I okay?” he asked, eventually. “Well, I don’t know, to be honest. Are any of us really okay? That’s what I ask myself. All I can tell you, Pooh and Piglet, is that right now I feel really rather Sad, and Alone, and Not Much Fun To Be Around At All. Which is why I haven’t bothered you. Because you wouldn’t want to waste your time hanging out with someone who is Sad, and Alone, and Not Much Fun To Be Around At All, would you now.”
Pooh looked and Piglet and Piglet looked at Pooh, and they both sat down, one on either side of Eeyore in his stick house.
Eeyore looked at them in surprise. “What are you doing?”
“We’re sitting here with you,” said Pooh, “because we are your friends. And true friends don’t care if someone is feeling Sad, or Alone, or Not Much Fun To Be Around At All. True friends are there for you anyway. And so here we are.”
“Oh,” said Eeyore. “Oh.” And the three of them sat there in silence, and while Pooh and Piglet said nothing at all; somehow, almost imperceptibly, Eeyore started to feel a very tiny little bit better. Because Pooh and Piglet were There. No more; no less.” – The Complete Tales of Winnie-The-Pooh, by A. A. Milne
13. “People who don’t understand think that depression is being unhappy, in a bad mood, or sad. Depression is like being in a hole with no escape.” – Eli Bliliuos, certified hypnotist in New York City
14. “I have struggled with depression (and anxiety) and still do. When I learned to leverage my depression and triggers, I learned to change my lifestyle accordingly and start turning the drawbacks of this mental state into something that can benefit me. Learning to leverage adversity can help people thrive. My depression and anxiety both helped me leave places and people not meant for me which helped me discover my true potential, rather than stay around places that saw this part of me as a limitation.” – Karisa Karmali, Founder of Self-Love and Fitness
15. “As a mid-twenties professional working woman fresh out of college, depression was a huge detriment not only to my mental health but my financial stability. Choosing to go to therapy and get the professional help I needed has been the single best decision I’ve made in the last several years and has really turned my life around. In September I was depressed and constantly suicidal to the point that my boyfriend refused to let me get off the phone sometimes because he was afraid of what I would do to myself. Mid-September was when I started therapy and got on some antidepressant medication and it has revolutionized my life. I’ve been working through childhood trauma that I barely remembered but what I’ve discovered has had a huge impact on my adult life, and today I’m consistently able to find that even the darkest days aren’t debilitating even though the brightest days were depressing a few months ago.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy. And no one in my life could have ever chosen it for me. Even today I have to constantly choose to dwell on the good and remind myself that depression is OK and doesn’t have to rule my life. But the stark contrast of where I am today as opposed to where I was just 3 months ago is proof that depression is never the end.” – Susannah Scheller, Technology Director and Coordinator for Grow Disrupt
16. “Depression isn’t what you are, who you are, or what you are chronically afflicted with—it’s an experience that you are going through. There is a reason for depression. Often it’s natural and normal to experience depression. Since it is part of the cycle of the birth of new feelings and experiences, we don’t have to attach to it or feel shame about it. We can honor depression. We can respect depression. We can get through depression. We can accept any depression that we may go through.” – Sonya Zappone RYT, C.MI, C.LAC – Author & Life Coach
17. “Depression gets a bad rep, but actually can be a signpost that something is missing….something is not working for you…..and you know there is a better way to live. Use this pain as a helpful indicator that something needs to be fixed or resolved or addressed in your life, and find something/someone to help you do so.” – Nancy B. Irwin, PsyD, C.Ht.
18. “Understanding depression as a defense helps appreciate the power of this mood change. It can be seen as the last coping mechanism that will create distance from what has hurt us, is painful, or what we can no longer withstand. The symptoms of depression (like social withdrawal, apathy, fatigue, pessimism, criticism, disconnection from self and others) are ways to cope with painful circumstances and emotional overwhelm. In this shutdown state, our autonomic nervous system protects us.
From this newfound perspective comes a compassionate stance. A stance that understands the protective role of depression, and can gently offer support through calming tools, movement, social connections, etc.” – Myriame Lyons, MA RCC CCC
19. “As a human that has a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, and a mental health advocate and educator, one quote I say a LOT both to myself and when I am teaching is: ‘Feelings aren’t facts but feelings do have power.’ In other words, when I am feeling really down or when my depression kicks in, I have to remind myself that the feelings that I am feeling—no, I can’t build a house with them, they are ‘just feelings.’ BUT, if I don’t listen to them, if I don’t take care of myself, then I am giving that feeling a TON of power that it does not deserve.” – Archie Messersmith-Bunting, M.S., MHFA, mental wellness coach
20. “If you can recognize that what you are experiencing (i.e., depression) is something that feels off to you, your True Self is already working to help heal you by guiding you to that awareness. If you were meant to be depressed, you would not notice that it was an unpleasant state of being; it would feel natural. In other words, you are not your depression and it is not you!
Lean into the voice that knows something is off, not the one that keeps you feeling off. Listen to what the True Self is telling you to do. That may be to get counseling, volunteer, or help others in some way, be less critical of yourself, or even to learn more about how others have worked through depression. Your True Self will know what you need. Get quiet, be curious, and listen.” – Rachel Astarte, licensed marriage and family therapist
21. “Depression is difficult to battle but we can get through it once we decide to wake up from our bed no matter what. Doing small tasks seems like moving a mountain with depression but if we keep moving forward, the weight of depression feels less on our shoulders.” – Job Kapilakan, CEO of Abundance No Limits
22. “To me, at one time, depression made me feel like I was trying to move through a foot-deep layer of peanut butter. The simplest things took enormous effort. Getting up. Brushing my hair. Putting on makeup was the worst. Maybe that was because I was trying so hard to look normal when inside I felt like I was dying. When I was told depression was caused by bottled-up anger, I was horrified! Me? angry? I was never allowed to be angry. And then the dam burst and anger flowed out in every direction. Then came the task of learning how to manage this powerful force that I was turning on those around me. Someone who’s never been depressed cannot possibly understand. Others just want you to act normal, perform normally, not rock the boat. Medication can help. It helped me. But it’s not the whole answer. Eventually, depression and anger introduced me to my true self in exchange for exposing and discarding the false self I’d been wearing for so many years…a gift!” – Nancy Landrum, MA, Author and Relationship Coach
23. “You don’t always have to do stuff or achieve stuff. You don’t have to always spend your free time productively. You don’t have to be doing yoga or painting or bread making. Sometimes you can just be and feel things and get through and eat pasta and survive, and that is more than enough.” – Aisling, Blogger
24. “Don’t let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.” – Richard L. Evans
25. “There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.” – John Green
26. “You say you’re ‘depressed’ – all I see is resilience. 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
27. “In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus
28. “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Confucius
29. “I think that little by little I’ll be able to solve my problems and survive.” – Frida Kahlo
30. “Suffering has been stronger than all other teachings and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.” – Charles Dickens
31. “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on.” – Robert Frost
32. “Even from a dark night, songs of beauty can be born.” – Mary Anne Radmacher
33. “Getting better from depression demands a lifelong commitment. I’ve made that commitment for my life’s sake and for the sake of those who love me.” – Susan Polis Schutz
34.”If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” – Fred Rogers
35. “Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen
When to See a Therapist for Depression
If there’s one thing you should have picked up from these quotes, it’s that you’re not alone. Therapy for depression can help you make your way through a challenging or depressing time. When you’re ready, use an online therapist directory to find a therapist in your area.