What Depression Looks Like

I could tell you that you don’t always know if someone is depressed just by looking at them. I could say that depression doesn’t have a face. Or that it has many faces. But those things have already been said. Instead, I want to show you what depression looks like from the inside out. Here is my attempt: a short piece—is it an essay? A story? Prose-poetry?—about “a day in the life,” which I hope captures what the world can look like through the lens of depression.


Depression looks like colors much dimmer than those you find in your dreams, from which you awake unwillingly.

Depression looks like bright lights; like plodding feet. Like a funhouse mirror.

Depression looks like a bed; a ceiling; a wall; the insides of your eyelids.

Depression looks like images flashing by on a TV screen that do not make sense, and do not matter.

Depression looks like a hand bringing a spoon to your lips, slowly, monotonously.

A bed.

A ceiling.

A wall.

The insides of your eyelids.

Depression looks like a door opening, and stepping inside is your worried husband; father; friend.

Depression looks like concern in their faces, or exasperation. It looks like what your mind wants it to look like.

To you, today, depression looks like me: expressionless. I am holding it all in, hiding behind a tight, controlled mask. I am doing this for you.

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