Putting together a book isn’t just about writing. It’s important to do research. I’ll spend a lot of time looking for great, thought-provoking writing and art from a wide range of talented people. As part of(Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start The Conversation About Mental Health, this meant listening to and reading a wide range of voices, as well as digging into some great depression poems.
A writer and (former) poet, I find poetry a source of solace, comfort, and solidarity. I also use poetry to better understand my own experiences and those of others who deal with depression in ways that don’t match mine at all, as well as the experiences of those who deal with depression in ways that do. Many people have different experiences with depression, so the poems really show that no single experience can get it right.
Find below a wide range of depression poems, from modern pieces to well-known poems. These are the ones that make you feel, even if they’re not the ones that are exactly like you. Full poems, video performances, poets who are making a name for themselves, and a lot more are all in this book, as well. There will be something for everyone, even if they don’t deal with mental illness, so they’ll like what’s out there.
Knowing that these depression poems will talk about the realities of living with mental illness, be careful when you read them. 300 million people in the world are depressed. If you’re one of them or think someone you love might be, get help from someone you can trust.
Depression Poems For Those Who Struggle—and Those who want to better understand the illness
“It was not death, for I stood up” by Emily Dickinson
In other words, it wasn’t Death or Night, because I stood up, and all the dead lay down. All the bells rang for noon.
On my Flesh there was not Frost.
This one was different, but it still tasted the same as all the other ones I’ve seen set up for burial.
‘Twas like Midnight, and I could not breathe without a key.
To get rid of the sound of the beating ground when everything that ticked has stopped and space looks at you, or when the first frosts of Autumn come out.
They also like Chaos, which is always moving and cool. There is no chance to fight or even get a report of land to back up their desperation.
“Broken Wing” by @WrittenByWill
You can read this from my book, “Lost in Life’s Ocean.” This is one of my favorite parts. The title was based on a song by Joe Budden called “Stay.” Here, I talk about some of the feelings I had because of my depression, fears, and anxiety, and how I tried to make sense of them. Feelings like worrying that scars from the past would stop me from growing, that my fears would keep me from moving forward, and that people would get tired of waiting for me to heal. Who else can understand?
One of Will Reyes • Poetry Writer’s posts on Oct 16, 2018 at 1:00 pm PDT.
“Tulips” by Sylvia Plath
The tulips are too excited because it’s winter here.
A lot of things are snowed in and white.
I am learning how to be peaceful by lying down alone and quietly.
These white walls, this bed, these hands.
None of this is my business.
I have given the nurses my name and my clothes so that they can look after me.
And the anesthesiologist will know about my history and my body will be shown to the surgeons when I have surgery.
A pillow and a sheet-cuff have been used to prop my head up.
Between two white lids that won’t close.
This is a stupid pupil. It has to take everything in.
In the end, they don’t bother anyone.
As gulls fly in from the sea, they pass by with white caps.
With their hands, they did the same things as each other.
How many there are not clear.
They treat my body like water.
Smoothes the pebbles it has to run over, taking care of them.
They make me numb with their bright needles. They make me sleep.
Now that I’ve lost myself, I don’t want to carry around so much stuff.
My overnight bag is made of patent leather, and it looks like a black pill box.
My husband and child are smiling out of the picture in which we are all together.
Their smiles are like little hooks that stick to my skin.
There is a thirty-year-old cargo boat that I have let go of because I forgot about it.
clinging to my name and address with all my might.
They have swabbed me clean of all of the things I love.
scared and alone on the green plastic-pillowed cart
I looked at my tea set, my linen cabinets, and my books as they were being cleaned.
Sink away, and the water went over my head.
Nun: I’ve never been so clean.
Because I didn’t want any flower, I only wanted chocolate.
My hands should be turned up and I should lay down with them.
You don’t know how free it is.
So many people have been dazed by the peacefulness that it’s hard to keep up.
A name tag, a few small things.
Finally, they come to an end.
As if it were a Communion tablet, they closed their mouths on it.
First, the tulips are too red. They hurt me.
As they breathed through the gift paper, I could still hear them
A bad baby moves through their white swaddlings with ease.
Their redness talks to my wound, and it fits.
Because they are so small, they make me feel like I’m floating, even though they are weighing me down.
They made me angry with their quick tongues and their color. I didn’t like them.
Dozens of red lead sinkers are around my neck.
Before, no one looked at me. Now, I’m being watched.
The tulips look at me, and the window behind me opens.
where once a day the light spreads and thins,
There is a cut-out shadow of me on the ground.
Between the sun’s eye and the eyes of the tulips,
I don’t have a face, so I’ve tried to erase myself.
The bright tulips eat my air.
It was calm enough before they came.
Coming and going, breath by breath, without making a fuss about it.
Because of that, it became very noisy.
When they are in the air, it looks like a river.
Engine parts get caught in snags and eddies around a sunken rust-red engine
They made me pay attention, which made me happy.
Playing and resting without having to make a decision.
The walls, too, seem to be getting warm.
If the tulips are dangerous, they should be put in cages.
They are opening up like the mouth of a big African cat.
It is also clear to me that my heart opens and shuts.
Out of pure love for me, it has a bowl full of red blooms.
Warm and salty, like the sea.
Because health isn’t the same everywhere.
“The Fury of Rainstorms” by Anne Sexton
They sound like red bugs, and each one bounces off the glass. Painful as it sounds, they cry out as they hit each other. It looks like their little legs and heads are only stitched together. Those words make me think of the humble grave, with its awful lettering and the body that is lying there without an umbrella. People who are depressed aren’t very interesting, so I think I should make some soup and light the cave.
“Having It Out With Melancholy” by Jane Kenyon
In the first place, from the nursery.
As soon as I was born, you were waiting for me behind a pile of linen in the nursery. When we were alone, you lay down on top of me and pressed the bile of desolation into every single one of my pores.
And from that day on, I was always sad. Even the yellow wooden beads that slid and spun on my crib made me sad.
You taught me how to live without being grateful. Your words to God: “We are here only to wait for death; the pleasures of this world are overrated.”
As a child, I only thought I belonged to my mother. I lived with blocks and cotton undershirts with snaps, as well as red tin lunch boxes and brown slipcases for report cards. I was already yours. I was the anti-urge, the person who cut souls in half, and I was always there for you, too.
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.
You can take Elavil, Ludiomil; Doxepin; Norpramin; Prozac; Lithium; Xanax; Wellbutrin; Xanax; Nardil; Zoloft. It smells like the chemistry lab at school that made me hold my breath. The coated ones smell sweet or have no smell.
3.HELP FROM A FRIEND.
If you really believe in God, you wouldn’t be so down.
As soon as it’s dark, I try to go to bed. I do this to avoid the huge pain in sleep’s frail wicker coracle, which I try to push away.
5.WHEN THERE WAS LIGHT,
Sometimes in my early 30s, I saw that in the great river of light that moves through time, I was just a small piece.
I was floating with everyone else in the world. It didn’t matter if we were all the same color or not. We were all the same. Then for a few minutes, I floated, completely calm, and I didn’t hate that I had to live.
Crows can smell hot blood, so you flew over to pull me out of the stream. Then I’ll hold you up. Never let my loved ones drown! I cried for days after that.
6.OUT AND INSIDE
The dog looks for me until he finds me upstairs, lies down, and puts his head on my foot.
In and out, in and out; a pause, a long sigh….
A piece of burned meat wears my clothes, speaks in my voice, and sends off tasks slowly or not at all. It is tired of trying to be strong, tired to the point where it can’t keep going.
Moving on to monoamine oxidase inhibitors, we’ll talk about them now. It hurts all day and night, but then it stops. A pardon for a crime that she didn’t commit makes me wonder and bitter. I come back to my marriage and friends, to pink-fringed hollyhocks. I come back to the book I’m reading and the bookcase where I work.
Wonders of the pharmaceutical world can be seen at work, but I only believe in this moment of well-being. There is a good chance that the unholy ghost will come back to haunt us again.
Mean, rough, you’ll put your feet on the coffee table and lean back. You’ll turn me into someone who can’t speak, can’t sleep, or does nothing but sleep; can’t read, or call for help.
I can’t stop you from coming. In the morning, I am with you.
9.THRUSH OF WOOD
High above June and Nardil, the sky is clear. I get up at four and can’t wait for the wood thrush to start singing. It’s easy air and the bird’s wild, complicated song push through the screen.
Because of normal contentment. What has been so bad to me all my life until now? It has a tiny heart that beats so quickly that I love it. It has a bright, clear eye.