This post is a conglomeration of various quote posts I’ve done over the years. The first few gems in the post full o’ quotes are mental health-related tidbits from Eeyore, Winnie the Pooh’s eternally pessimistic friend. When I was young, I had Winnie the Pooh wallpaper, and Eeyore was my favourite. A sign of things to come, perhaps, given that I ended up with depression…
Table of Contents
“No brain at all, some of them, only grey fluff that’s blown into their heads by mistake, and they don’t Think.”
This is sort of what it feels like when depression has knocked my brain out of commission.
Eeyore: “Good morning, Pooh Bear. If it is a good morning. Which I doubt.”
Pooh: “Why, what’s the matter?”
Eeyore: “Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can’t all and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.”
Pooh: “Can’t all what?”
Eeyore: “Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush.”
You certainly won’t find me dancing ’round the mulberry bush!
“I’m not asking anybody,” said Eeyore. “I’m just telling everybody. We can look for the North Pole, or we can play ‘Here we go gathering Nuts in May’ with the end part of an ants’ nest. It’s all the same to me.”
Same shit, different pile!
“Everybody crowds round so in this Forest. There’s no Space. I never saw a more Spreading lot of animals in my life, and in all the wrong places.”
This one pretty accurately sums up my view of my own surroundings. More Space please!
“I’d look on the bright side… if I could find it!”
“I was so upset, I forgot to be happy.”
“Don’t worry about me. Go and enjoy yourself. I’ll stay here and be miserable.”
“It’s the only could in the sky and it’s drizzling, right on me. Somehow, I’m not surprised.”
Mental Health and Depression Quotes
If you’re going through hell, keep going.– Winston Churchill
Churchill didn’t say this about mental illness, but it sure does apply.
That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end. The fog is like a cage without a key.– Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation
Depression is feeling like you’ve lost something but having no clue when or where you last had it. Then one day you realize what you lost is yourself.– Unknown
Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: It is easier to say ‘My tooth is aching’ than to say ‘My heart is broken.’C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
No amount of love can cure madness or unblacken one’s dark moods. Love can help, it can make the pain more tolerable, but, always, one is beholden to medication that may or may not always work and may or may not be bearable.Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind
They always call depression the blues, but I would have been happy to waken to a periwinkle outlook. Depression to me is urine yellow, washed out, exhausted miles of weak piss.Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects
Depression is the most unpleasant thing I have ever experienced. . . . It is that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad. Sad hurts but it’s a healthy feeling. It is a necessary thing to feel. Depression is very different.J.K. Rowling (interview in The Times)
Depression is being colorblind and constantly told how colorful the world is.Atticus, Love Her Wild
Having depression is being in an abusive relationship with yourself.Emily Dotterer
What is depression like? It’s like drowning, except everyone around you is breathing.Unknown
A big part of depression is feeling really lonely, even if you’re in a room full of a million people.Lilly Singh
Depression presents itself as a realism regarding the rottenness of the world in general and the rottenness of your life in particular. But the realism is merely a mask for depression’s actual essence, which is an overwhelming estrangement from humanity. The more persuaded you are of your unique access to the rottenness, the more afraid you become of engaging with the world; and the less you engage with the world, the more perfidiously happy-faced the rest of humanity seems for continuing to engage with it.Jonathan Franzen, How to Be Alone
When you are depressed, you need the love of other people, and yet depression fosters actions that destroy that love. Depressed people often stick pins into their own life rafts. The conscious mind can intervene. One is not helpless.Andrew Solomon, The Noonday Demon
Life and Death
Losing your life is not the worst thing that can happen. The worst thing is to lose your reason for living.Jo Nesbo
If I can’t feel, if I can’t move, if I can’t think, and I can’t care, then what conceivable point is there in living?Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind
It’s so hard to talk when you want to kill yourself. That’s above and beyond everything else, and it’s not a mental complaint-it’s a physical thing, like it’s physically hard to open your mouth and make the words come out. They don’t come out smooth and in conjunction with your brain the way normal people’s words do; they come out in chunks as if from a crushed-ice dispenser; you stumble on them as they gather behind your lower lip. So you just keep quiet.Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story
The bravest thing I ever did was continuing my life when I wanted to die.Juliette Lewis
I like this because it captures how difficult a prospect living can appear to be. Sometimes, for some people, that decision may need to be repeated over and over every day. It’s not an easy thing, this mental illness life.
The literal meaning of life is whatever you’re doing that prevents you from killing yourself.Albert Camus
This quote is based on Camus’s absurdist philosophy. Absurdism is based on the contradictory coexistence of “the human tendency to seek inherent value and meaning in life, and the human inability to find these with any certainty” (Wikipedia). Mental illness adds another layer, though, as the killing yourself bit can be a much closer prospect than it would in Camus’s sense.
It’s pretty much inevitable that we’ll face adversity at some point, especially if mental illness or any other sort of chronic illness is in the picture, so here are some quotes to inspire.
The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.Confucius
There are uses to adversity, and they don’t reveal themselves until tested. Whether it’s serious illness, financial hardship, or the simple constraint of parents who speak limited English, difficulty can tap unexpected strengths.Sonia Sotomayor, My Beloved World
One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity.Albert Schweitzer
And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore
The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow.Robert Tew
You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.Maya Angelou
The best way out is always through.Robert Frost
Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.Maya Angelou
If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting the rest of our lives.Lemony Snicket
When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.Mahatma Gandhi
Anybody who’s had to contend with mental illness… actually has a fair amount of resilience in the sense that they’ve already had to deal with suffering already, personal suffering.Kay Redfield Jamison
Kindness is the language which the deaf can see hear and the blind can see.Mark Twain
Kindness is loving people more than they deserve.Joseph Joubert
The true greatness of a person, in my view, is evident in the way he or she treats those with whom courtesy and kindness are not required.Joseph B. Wirthlin
Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.Scott Adams
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.Aesop
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Quotes from Yogi Berra
When you come to a fork in the road… take it.
You can observe a lot by watching.
It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.
This is apparently misattributed, and the actual source is unclear, but it certainly sounds like a Yogi Berra thing to say.
Classic Seinfeld Lines
” don’t trust the guy. I think he regifted, then he degifted, and now he’s using an upstairs invite as a springboard to a Super Bowl sex romp.Jerry Seinfeld
I need the secure packaging of Jockeys. My boys need a house.Kramer
You have the chicken, the hen, and the rooster. The chicken goes with the hen… So who is having sex with the rooster?Frank Costanza
He took it out.Elaine Benes
If you’re not familiar with “he took it out”, I definitely recommend watching this Seinfeld clip.
Quotes We All Get Wrong
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
This is regularly attributed to Victor Frankl, and while it sounds like something he might say, there’s no indication that he did. Stephen R. Covey popularized it, but he didn’t come up with it. He said he read it in a book about Frankl, but he couldn’t remember the name of it, and it remains a mystery. (Quote Investigator)
“If you don’t read the newspapers, you are uninformed. If you do read them, you are misinformed.”
No, Mark Twain did not say this.
“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”
Nope, Benjamin Franklin didn’t say it.
“Elementary, my dear Watson.”
This was never, in fact, said by Sherlock Holmes. (Wikiquote)
“Good things come to those who wait.”
This actually comes from a Guinness beer commercial, as per Wikiquote.
“The British are coming!”
Even non-Americans like me know that Paul Revere shouted this as a warning … except he did no such thing. I guess he didn’t want to warn the British that he knew they were coming. (Wikiquote)
“Beam me up, Scottie.”
We all know Captain Kirk said that, right? Apparently not. (Wikiquote)
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
This was not, in fact, said by Albert Einstein. It appeared in a book by Rita Mae Brown, which I thought was the name of Whoopi Goldberg’s character in Ghost, but that was Oda Mae (Mashable)
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
This didn’t come from Dr. Seuss; the actual source is unknown. (Readers Digest: 13 Popular Quotes That Constantly Get Misattributed)
“An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.”
Gandhi? Nope, but used in 1915 by a Canadian parliamentarian.
Another non-Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” (RD)
“Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing, after they tried everything else.”
I hadn’t heard this before, but I like it! It gets attributed to Winston Churchill, but, while he should have said it, he didn’t. (RD)
Do you have any favourite quotes you’d like to share?
The Reflecting on Powerful Words guided journal matches amazing quotes from people like Maya Angelou and Winston Churchill with prompt questions that relate to each quote as well as beautiful images. You can find it on the Resources page.