This article is a collection of poems about depression that offer language to describe the pain and struggles that come with depression in all of its forms. Keep on reading this list of poignant poems about depression.
Famous Depressing Love Poems
Even though it hurts, these poems assist us in processing our pain, which is a necessary step before we can pick ourselves back up, get ourselves up off the ground, and begin again.
Below you will find a wide range of depression poems, from contemporary pieces to classics from well-known poets. These are ones that resonate, whether they’re ones that are necessarily perfectly relatable.
Grab some tissues, buckle up and get into it!
1. The Swimming Lesson
Feeling the icy kick, the endless waves
Reaching around my life, I moved my arms
And coughed, and in the end saw land.
Somebody, I suppose,
Remembering the medieval maxim,
Had tossed me in,
Had wanted me to learn to swim,
Not knowing that none of us, who ever came back
From that long lonely fall and frenzied rising,
Ever learned anything at all
About swimming, but only
How to put off, one by one,
Dreams and pity, love and grace, –
How to survive in any place.
by Mary Oliver
2. Still Life with Antidepressants
The afternoon light lights
the room in a smudged
sheen, a foggy-eyed glow.
The dog digs at the couch,
low-growling at the mailman.
I’m spelling words with pills
spilled consolidating bottles:
yes and try and most of happy:
Maybe I’ll empty them all.
A woman I don’t know
is having a drill drill into her
skull. To get rid of the thing
requires entering the brain.
How to imagine a story
that ends with that ending?
I don’t know how to live my life,
but at least today I want to.
by Aaron Smith
3. Having It Out With Melancholy
1. From The Nursery
When I was born, you waited
behind a pile of linen in the nursery,
and when we were alone, you lay down
on top of me, pressing
the bile of desolation into every pore.
And from that day on
everything under the sun and moon
made me sad — even the yellow
wooden beads that slid and spun
along a spindle on my crib.
You taught me to exist without gratitude.
You ruined my manners toward God:
“We’re here simply to wait for death;
the pleasures of earth are overrated.”
I only appeared to belong to my mother,
to live among blocks and cotton undershirts
with snaps; among red tin lunch boxes
and report cards in ugly brown slipcases.
I was already yours — the anti-urge,
the mutilator of souls.
Elavil, Ludiomil, Doxepin,
Norpramin, Prozac, Lithium, Xanax,
Wellbutrin, Parnate, Nardil, Zoloft.
The coated ones smell sweet or have
no smell; the powdery ones smell
like the chemistry lab at school
that made me hold my breath.
3. Suggestion from A Friend
You wouldn’t be so depressed
if you really believed in God.
Often I go to bed as soon after dinner
as seems adult
(I mean I try to wait for dark)
in order to push away
from the massive pain in sleep’s
frail wicker coracle.
5. Once There Was Light
Once, in my early thirties, I saw
that I was a speck of light in the great
river of light that undulates through time
I was floating with the whole
human family. We were all colors — those
who are living now, those who have died,
those who are not yet born. For a few
moments I floated, completely calm,
and I no longer hated having to exist
Like a crow who smells hot blood
you came flying to pull me out
of the glowing stream.
“I’ll hold you up. I never let my dear
ones drown!” After that, I wept for days.
6. In And Out
The dog searches until he finds me
upstairs, lies down with a clatter
of elbows, puts his head on my foot.
Sometimes the sound of his breathing
saves my life — in and out, in
and out; a pause, a long sigh. . . .
A piece of burned meat
wears my clothes, speaks
in my voice, dispatches obligations
haltingly, or not at all.
It is tired of trying
to be stouthearted, tired
We move on to the monoamine
oxidase inhibitors. Day and night
I feel as if I had drunk six cups
of coffee, but the pain stops
abruptly. With the wonder
and bitterness of someone pardoned
for a crime she did not commit
I come back to marriage and friends,
to pink fringed hollyhocks; come back
to my desk, books, and chair.
Pharmaceutical wonders are at work
but I believe only in this moment
of well-being. Unholy ghost,
you are certain to come again.
Coarse, mean, you’ll put your feet
on the coffee table, lean back,
and turn me into someone who can’t
take the trouble to speak; someone
who can’t sleep, or who does nothing
but sleep; can’t read, or call
for an appointment for help.
There is nothing I can do
against your coming.
When I awake, I am still with thee.
9. Wood Thrush
High on Nardil and June light
I wake at four,
waiting greedily for the first
note of the wood thrush. Easeful air
presses through the screen
with the wild, complex song
of the bird, and I am overcome
by ordinary contentment.
What hurt me so terribly
all my life until this moment?
How I love the small, swiftly
beating heart of the bird
singing in the great maples;
its bright, unequivocal eye.
by Jane Kenyon
4. The Fury Of Rainstorms
The rain drums down like red ants,
each bouncing off my window.
The ants are in great pain
and they cry out as they hit
as if their little legs were only
stitched on and their heads pasted.
And oh they bring to mind the grave,
so humble, so willing to be beat upon
with its awful lettering and
the body lying underneath
without an umbrella.
Depression is boring, I think
and I would do better to make
some soup and light up the cave.
by Anne Sexton
5. Depression Is a Monster
Depression is a monster
That destroys both heart and soul.
It tortures without mercy
And consumes its victim whole.
It cripples and disables,
Making life too hard to cope.
It can make each day a nightmare
And leave a person without hope.
Some people feel this sadness
From the time that they are young,
And believe that they are different
And can’t be loved by anyone.
It’s reinforced by parents
Too depressed themselves to care
For that child, they’re supposed to love,
But instead forget is there.
Depression can be nurtured
Through violence and neglect
And fists used only to degrade
And words used to reject.
It’s hidden in those bullies
Who torture and demean,
Who use their words like weapons
To destroy all self-esteem.
It’s fueled by those substances,
That are used to help escape.
From that endless pain depression brings
And that unbearable heartache.
It can cause someone to just give up,
To lose all strength to fight.
It can annihilate one’s very soul
And make them take their life.
Yes, Depression is a vulture
That will make anyone its prey.
There is no one who deserves it,
And there is no one to blame.
We don’t need to make a judgment,
But we need to be aware
That those who suffer through this pain
Just need the world to care.
by Pat Fleming
6. He Resigns
Age, and the deaths, and the ghosts.
Her having gone away
in spirit from me. Hosts
of regrets come and find me empty.
I don’t feel this will change.
I don’t want anything
or person, familiar or strange.
I don’t think I will sing
anymore just now,
or ever. I must start
to sit with a blind brow
above an empty heart.
by John Berryman
Remember to find a healthy escape when feeling depressed. We believe this was worth your time and that you enjoyed going through them.
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Daily Time Poems.