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20 Quotes about depression from people who’ve been there

The purpose of Depression Awareness Week to raise awareness about a serious, cruel and still much misunderstood illness.

And if you’re suffering from depression it can be comforting to read the words of those who’ve been there and can relate to what you’re going through. If someone close to you is struggling with this illness, the more you understand it, the more you can help and support them.

1. “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, The Bean Trees

2. “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

3. “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

4. “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, The Problem of Pain

5. “I couldn’t be with people and I didn’t want to be alone. Suddenly my perspective whooshed and I was far out in space, watching the world. I could see millions and millions of people, all slotted into their lives; then I could see me — I’d lost my place in the universe. It had closed up and there was nowhere for me to be. I was more lost than I had known it was possible for any human being to be.” Marian Keyes, Anybody Out There?

6. “Depression is melancholy minus its charms.” Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor

7. “One day, we will look back and wonder how on earth we used to believe that depression was a lifestyle choice, only to be debated and taken seriously when an A List film star took his life, and the world filled with people saying how shocked and saddened they were.” Alastair Campbell

8. “Depression is as real as the weather… it’s all about a kind of mental umbrella. ‘Hey-ho, it’s raining inside: it isn’t my fault and there’s nothing I can do about it, but sit it out. But the sun may well come out tomorrow and when it does, I shall take full advantage.'” Stephen Fry

9. “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” Ernest Hemingway

10. “Until you’ve had depression I don’t think you’re qualified to talk about it.” Geoffrey Boycott

11. “I have had issues with depression all my life, and it’s probably true to say there was a tendency towards it even when I was very young, during my schooldays. There was often — and this is quite common with comics — a sense of not feeling as if I belonged anywhere.” Jack Dee

12. “If you’re depressed right now, then let’s remember that we only have to do today, that’s all. Nothing more. We can do just a day, can’t we? And don’t forget, we haven’t always been like this. The good days will come back. We’ve just got to do as much as we can, when we can.” Annabel Giles

13. “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” Ernest Hemingway

More: It’s #TimetoTalk — and the subject is mental health

14. “Depression is when you have lots of love, but no one’s taking.” Douglas Coupland

15. “Negative thinking patterns can be immensely deceptive and persuasive, and change is rarely easy. But with patience and persistence, I believe that nearly all individuals suffering from depression can improve and experience a sense of joy and self-esteem once again.” David D. Burns

16. “This is what I am. I have periods of enormous self-destructive depression, where I go completely off my trolley and lose all sight of reality and reason.” Siobhan Fahey

17. “When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder the year I turned 50, it was certainly a shock. But as a journalist, knowing a little bit about a lot of things, I didn’t suffer the misconception that depression was all in my head or a mark of poor character. I knew it was a disease, and, like all diseases, was treatable.” Jane Pauley

18. “Depression isn’t about, ‘Woe is me, my life is this, that and the other,’ it’s like having the worst flu all day that you just can’t kick.” Robbie Williams

19. “Depression can seem worse than terminal cancer, because most cancer patients feel loved and they have hope and self-esteem.” David D. Burns

20. “There’s nothing, repeat, nothing to be ashamed of when you’re going through a depression. If you get help, the chances of your licking it are really good. But, you have to get yourself onto a safe path.” Mike Wallace

Find out more about Depression Awareness Week.

For information on depression see the Rethink Mental Illness fact sheet. If you need advice, someone to talk to or urgent support see the Rethink Mental Illness list of crisis contacts.

More on mental health

Making people with mental health issues wear wristbands is a terrible idea
“Get the Picture” aims to change how we view people living with mental illness
To my patient with depression: What I want you to know

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