Depression is a term often casually tossed around in conversations. However, it’s more than just a fleeting sense of sadness or a temporary mood swing. It can be a complex mental health struggle that impacts an estimated 280 million people worldwide (1).

One of the key challenges in understanding depression is the multiple ways it manifests itself. It is not a one-size-fits-all struggle; its symptoms vary from person to person.

While some grapple with an intense feeling of sadness, others may experience a loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy or find themselves caught in the unforgiving loop of fatigue, sleep issues, or changes in appetite. Even more troubling is the invisibility that depression often wears, making it hard to see in other people.

The World Health Organization identifies depression as a major contributor to global disability and suicide rates, highlighting the need for a robust understanding and approach to managing this disorder. This is especially necessary given that More than 75% of people in low- and middle-income countries receive no treatment (2).

The way we, as a society, view depression often causes a hurdle when trying to address it. Despite the progress in mental health awareness and acceptance, the stigma attached to it continues to survive in many of our cultures and communities. Unfortunately, in some cases, depression is dismissed as mere melancholy, a sign of weakness, or a lack of resilience, discouraging individuals from seeking help.

“If you have been brutally broken but still have the courage to be gentle to other living beings, then you’re a badass with a heart of an angel.”

— Keanu Reeves

Addressing depression, therefore, requires a deliberate approach. An important part of this approach is developing an environment where depression is recognized as a legitimate health issue worthy of attention and free of judgment.

Sometimes it helps to get some perspective on something we’re struggling with, and to that end, here are some quotes on depression.

(1) Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation. Global Health Data Exchange (GHDx). (Accessed 4 March 2023).

(2) Evans-Lacko S, Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Al-Hamzawi A, et al. Socio-economic variations in the mental health treatment gap for people with anxiety, mood, and substance use disorders: results from the WHO World Mental Health (WMH) surveys. Psychol Med. 2018;48(9):1560-1571.

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Quotes on Depression:

“I found that with depression, one of the most important things you could realize is that you’re not alone.”

— Dwayne Johnson

“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

“It’s not all bad. Heightened self-consciousness, apartness, an inability to join in, physical shame and self-loathing—they are not all bad. Those devils have been my angels. Without them I would never have disappeared into language, literature, the mind, laughter and all the mad intensities that made and unmade me.”

― Stephen Fry

“Find meaning. Distinguish melancholy from sadness. Go out for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a romantic walk in the park, spring at its most spectacular moment, flowers and smells and outstanding poetical imagery smoothly transferring you into another world. It doesn’t have to be a walk during which you’ll have multiple life epiphanies and discover meanings no other brain ever managed to encounter. 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

“Depression is your body saying, ‘I don’t want to be this character anymore. I don’t want to hold up this avatar that you’ve created in the world. It’s too much for me. You should think of the word ‘depressed’ as ‘deep rest.’ Your body needs to be depressed. It needs deep rest from the character that you’ve been trying to play.”

— Jim Carrey

“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

“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

“I have depression. But I prefer to say, ‘I battle’ depression instead of ‘I suffer’ with it. Because depression hits, but I hit back. Battle on.”

— Anonymous

“I have had to experience so much stupidity, so many vices, so much error, so much nausea, disillusionment and sorrow, just in order to become a child again and begin anew. I had to experience despair, I had to sink to the greatest mental depths, to thoughts of suicide, in order to experience grace.”
― Hermann Hesse

“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard 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

“It is important not to suppress your feelings altogether when you are depressed. It is equally important to avoid terrible arguments or expressions of outrage. You should steer clear of emotionally damaging behavior. People forgive, but it is best not to stir things up to the point at which forgiveness is required. When you are depressed, you need the love of other people, and yet depression fosters actions that destroy that love. Depressed people often stick pins into their own life rafts. The conscious mind can intervene. One is not helpless.”

― Andrew Solomon

“Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.”

― Stephen Fry

“Listen to the people who love you. Believe that they are worth living for even when you don’t believe it. Seek out the memories depression takes away and project them into the future. Be brave; be strong; take your pills. Exercise because it’s good for you even if every step weighs a thousand pounds. Eat when food itself disgusts you. Reason with yourself when you have lost your reason.”
― Andrew Solomon

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