Last modified on 6 December 2014, at 19:09


A low serotonin level . . . can dry up the wellsprings of life’s happiness, withering a person’s interest in his existence and increasing the risk of depression and suicide.
Ronald Kutulak
Vincent van Gogh's oil painting

Depression can refer to either a sad mood or a medical condition in which persistent sadness or misery has a major impact on one's ability to function.


  • As a confirmed melancholic, I can testify that the best and maybe only antidote for melancholia is action. However, like most melancholics, I suffer also from sloth.
    • Edward Abbey, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness (Vox Clamantis in Deserto) (1990)
  • None are so desolate but something dear,
    Dearer than self, possesses or possess'd
    A thought, and claims the homage of a tear.
  • Desolate—Life is so dreary and desolate—
    Women and men in the crowd meet and mingle,
    Yet with itself every soul standeth single,
    Deep out of sympathy moaning its moan—
    Holding and having its brief exultation—
    Making its lonesome and low lamentation—
    Fighting its terrible conflicts alone.
    • Alice Cary, Life; reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 189.
  • The term clinical depression finds its way into too many conversations these days. One has a sense that a catastrophe has occurred in the psychic landscape.
    • Leonard Cohen (b. 1934), Canadian musician, poet, novelist. International Herald Tribune, 4th November 1988.
  • That terrible mood of depression of whether it’s any good or not is what is known as The Artist’s Reward.
    • Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961), American author. Letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald, September 13, 1929. Selected Letters, edited by Carlos Baker (1981).
  • In addition to my other numerous acquaintances, I have one more intimate confidant.... My depression is the most faithful mistress I have known—no wonder, then, that I return the love.
    • Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855), Danish existentialist philosopher. “Diapsalmata,” Vol. 1, Either/Or (1843, trans. 1987).
  • Enough has been said about the light-mindedness of the age; it is high time, I think, to say a little about its depression. … The egotistical depression naturally fears on its own account and, like all depression, is self-indulgent in enjoyment. … Sympathetic depression is more distressing and also somewhat more noble; it fears itself for the sake of the other.
    • Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or Vol. 2, Hong p. 24-25.
  • Sometimes, my heart hurts so much, I beat it with my fists. I try to run. But you cannot run away from this. You cannot run from it. Wherever you run, it waits for you. Even when you think you have escaped it, it is there, where you have run to. It waits for you, to ambush you. It is like those vines called lianas, those tropical creepers that grow around you and strangle you. You cut off one branch, but there is another that grows. You leap over the wall of one ghetto and find yourself in another ghetto.
    • Klaus Kinski, as quoted in Playboy (USA) November 1985, Vol. 32, Iss. 11, pg. 84-86+178-190, by: Marcelle Clements, "Klaus Kinski & The Thing".
  • A low serotonin level . . . can dry up the wellsprings of life’s happiness, withering a person’s interest in his existence and increasing the risk of depression and suicide.
    • Ronald Kutulak, in his book Inside the Brain. Cited in Awake! magazine, 10/22 2001.
  • No one is so accursed by fate,
    No one so utterly desolate,
    But some heart, though unknown,
    Responds unto his own.
  • Abomination of desolation.
    • Matthew, XXIV. 15; Mark, XIII. 14.
  • Depression is the inability to construct a future.
    • Rollo May (1909-1994), American existential psychologist. "Love and Will", ch. 9 (1969).
  • People here [in Congress] often think of depression as being sad; no matter what I tell other legislators, they don't know. They don't understand how it is emptiness, how it is a vast nothing.
  • Living with depression is like trying to keep your balance while you dance with a goat -- it is perfectly sane to prefer a partner with a better sense of balance.
  • Depression is melancholy minus its charms—the animation, the fits.
    • Susan Sontag (1933–2004), American philosopher and essayist. Illness as Metaphor, ch. 7 (1978).
  • … the best thing for being sad… is to learn something.
    • T. H. White, The Sword in the Stone (1963), Merlin, to Arthur.
  • In a strange way, I had fallen in love with my depression. I loved it because it was all I had. I thought depression was the part of my character that made me worthwhile. I thought so little of myself, felt that I had such scant offerings to give to the world, that the one thing that justified my existence at all was my pain.

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