How Poetry Helps Depression and Could End Depression Stigma

May 31, 2018 Jennifer Smith

Poetry helps depression, whether you write it or read it, feel it or don't. Read some depression poetry and learn how poetry helps depression at HealthyPlace.

Expressing ourselves through poetry helps depression and, at the same time, it can help eradicate the stigma surrounding depression. Many of us find that it is easier to express our feelings, experiences, and struggles through creative expression than it is to express these things through dialogue or even direct writing. Also, writers have a way of conveying messages through poems that people are able to understand; through depression poetry, the reader often feels empathy for the writer. 

I'd like to share a poem that I wrote during one of the darkest times of my depression battle. By writing this piece of poetry, I was able to take the pain and numbness that was inside of me and release some of it (Using Metaphor to Describe the Pain of Depression). When I shared this poem, it opened others' eyes to the depths that depression had taken me. I was able to use poetry as a depression coping tool, while also helping to end stigma by expressing how it feels to battle depression. This poem that I wrote is entitled Struggle.

I feel them closing in/The clouds of night descend again.

Covering me in Darkness deep and vast/Surrounding me with Sadness I feel will never pass.

You scream at me from far away/I struggle to make sense of what you say.

I am lost and I am alone in this Place/My emotions and my very existence - erased.

I close my eyes/A feeble attempt to block out the Pain.

I open them up to see that Nothingness/In all of its coldness and cruelty, still remains.

Why must I come here/And why can't I truly leave?

What is this hold the Abyss has over me/I can walk away for a time, but will I ever be free?

Poetry helps depression, but I also write poetry when I'm having good days. It's important to me that I express myself when my moods are positive as well as negative. Plus, I want people to understand that those of us with depression aren't always sad (Is Depression Just Sadness?). That's a common misconception that further stigmatizes depression. Here is a poem I wrote on an upbeat day; it is called Mountain.

Laughing, smiling, starting again/Finding what's been buried within

Discovering all the secret parts of me/Setting free the person that I'm meant to be

Awakening, breathing, living for the first time/Bravely facing each mountain I must climb

Soaring ever higher, breathing in fresh air/Facing each challenge that meets me there

Stumbling, falling, feeling the pain/Getting back up and starting again

Not allowing failure to define me/Armed with the knowledge that I am free

To marvelous heights I will ascend/Even though the roads may bend

The way will never be completely straight/Because easiness does not pave the way to what is great

Through the toil and through the tears/I will continue to face my fears

I know I will reach the mountaintop/Victory belongs to those who refuse to stop

It's true: Poetry helps depression. Poetry has been and continues to be one of my favorite ways to cope with depression. It has also been an excellent tool for helping others understand depression, which helps to end mental health stigma. What creative outlets have you found to be effective in helping you cope with depression?

APA Reference
Smith, J. (2018, May 31). How Poetry Helps Depression and Could End Depression Stigma, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 17 from

Author: Jennifer Smith

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December, 14 2022 at 7:50 am

Thank you for this. If it helps my daughter I feel blessed. Thank you for sharing your emotions thru poetry.

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