Nine Depression Poems To Guide You Through Challenging Times

Medically reviewed by Karen Foster, LPC
Updated October 3, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Some individuals associate depression with silence, isolation, and darkness. However, poets throughout history have used their art to express these associations creatively, attempting to help others be less alone in their struggle. These poems may open a door for conversations around mental health, helping readers find others who may understand their experiences. In addition, words written years ago can resonate with people's feelings in the present day, showcasing unique humanity regardless of time. 

Explore Depression Poems Through The Years With A Therapist’s Guidance

Nine Depression Poems 

You may notice how poets from different times and places captured universal feelings and experiences by exploring poetry. Their words can provide comfort, understanding, and a sense of connection when navigating the complexities of mental health. Below are nine poems that dive deep into the topic of depression, some relating to difficult emotions and others offering solace and understanding.

"Acquainted With The Night "By Robert Frost

Imagine walking alone at night when the world is quiet, and you're left alone with your thoughts. Frost uses the scene of a nighttime walk to show how someone can feel lonely or isolated, even in a city. When he talks about walking beyond the city lights, it may be like perceiving yourself as disconnected or distant from the world around you, a common sentiment when struggling with depression.

"The Waste Land" By TS Eliot

When you think of April, you may picture blooming flowers and fresh starts. TS Eliot flips this idea, suggesting that what's generally seen as positive can seem overwhelming when you're not in a positive mental space. The theme of memory and desire shows the struggle of past regrets and future hopes. It may represent being stuck between what was and what could be.

"Lady Lazarus" By Sylvia Plath

Lady Lazarus is about bouncing back from life's challenges, much like the character Lazarus from the Bible, who was brought back to life. She talks about the idea of "dying" as a repeated challenge she faces. However, she isn't speaking about physical death but about moments in life when she feels defeated or down. By calling it an "art," she's highlighting how each person copes differently and finds their unique way back to life.

"There's A Certain Slant Of Light" By Emily Dickinson

Have you ever noticed how different lighting can change your mood? Dickinson talks about a specific kind of light in winter that seems heavy and sad. She compares it to the grand and sometimes overwhelming sensation of hearing church music. It may be similar to when a particular setting or song can suddenly make you feel blue without an apparent reason.

"Not Waving, But Drowning" By Stevie Smith

Not Waving, But Drowning discusses a person trying to signal for help, but everyone misunderstands his actions. It's a reminder that sometimes when people are distressed, their attempts to seek help might not be obvious. For example, someone might say they're "fine," but deep down, they might be struggling and trying to get support. 

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or urges, call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or text 988 to talk to a crisis provider over SMS. They are available 24/7 to offer support. 988 also offers an online chat for those with an internet connection.

"Refugee Blues" By WH Auden

Auden's poem captures the sense of being lost and not belonging, like how a refugee might feel being away from home. It could be like the sensation of being in a room full of people but still feeling alone or out of place. The repeated line about the city's millions of souls underscores this sense of isolation. In terms of mental health, it highlights the importance of understanding and belonging. Even when surrounded by many, it's the quality of connections and being understood that often matters.

"Alone" By Edgar Allan Poe

Poe expresses how he's felt different and isolated from others since he was young. Remember a time you thought you didn't fit in or your thoughts and feelings seemed out of sync with everyone else's. This poem speaks to that experience of feeling alone in a crowd or different from everyone else. It reminds readers that understanding and accepting your unique feelings and perspectives is vital for mental well-being.

"Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening" By Robert Frost

Frost describes a quiet moment in the woods on a snowy evening. The peacefulness of the scene is tempting, like the desire to escape from life's stresses and responsibilities. However, he's reminded of the duties and distances he still needs to cover. This poem may be akin to a moment when you want to withdraw from challenges, but remember your commitments. It's a gentle nod to the push-pull of wanting to escape yet recognizing your responsibilities to yourself and others.

"Hope Is The Thing With Feathers" By Emily Dickinson

Dickinson uses the image of a bird to symbolize hope. She explores the idea that even in the most challenging times, a little voice (like a bird's song) tells her to keep going. No matter how tough things get or how stormy life becomes, hope continues to sing its tune. It's an uplifting reminder that even in your darkest moments, there may be a spark of hope within you to pull you through.


What Are The Mental Health Benefits Of Poetry? 

If you have ever read a book and related significantly to its contents, there may be a cause behind it. Poetry can touch the heart and is often written from a place of emotion, which is why it may connect with your emotional challenges. Below are a few reasons poetry is beneficial for mental health. 

Poetry Puts Feelings Into Words 

Finding the words to say precisely how you're feeling may be challenging. Poetry can do the talking for you. It may be like having a friend say, "I get you," when you can't find the words yourself.  

Writing Can Boost Your Mood 

Try writing down your feelings in a poetic way, even if it's just for yourself. Jotting down thoughts, feelings, or daily happenings in a rhyme or free form can improve mood. Studies back up this theory, showcasing that any form of expressive writing can help people release emotional pain and improve mental health. 

Poetry Helps Humans Relate 

Not everyone may understand what it's like to experience depression. However, poems can showcase these symptoms and feelings in a raw form. Discussing a poem with a friend or family member can be like opening a window to your feelings, helping them see a situation from your perspective.

Poems Offer Hope 

Poems often talk about bouncing back and finding light in the darkness. Reading these can give a gentle reminder that your situation can get better. 

Poems Allow You To Connect 

Chatting about a poem you love or hate with others can be a way to connect. It's a same experience, like watching a movie or discussing a book together. In addition, realizing others feel the same way as you can be comforting. The next time you struggle to navigate your emotions, pick up a book of poems or try writing one yourself. It might not be a magic fix, but it could serve as a metaphorical warm blanket on a cold day. 

Explore Depression Poems Through The Years With A Therapist’s Guidance

Finding Support For Depression 

If you struggle with your mental health, you're not alone. Although poems can offer a comforting respite from a challenging symptom, they aren't a replacement for professional help. Talking to a therapist can allow you to receive expert guidance and start actively coping with these emotions and symptoms. 

Some people may struggle to reach out to a therapist due to barriers like financial insecurity or social anxiety. In these cases, online therapy through a platform like BetterHelp may be an effective alternative. With its blend of convenience and flexibility, online therapy offers a unique platform for those who find solace in poetry. Communicating over messages with your therapist means that if you've written a poem capturing your emotions, it can be instantly disucss with them. This immediate exchange allows for feedback during sessions. Coupled with the comfort of discussing feelings from one's own space, online therapy may make exploring emotions through poetry a more intimate and enriching experience. 

Online therapy has gained traction in recent years, with numerous studies suggesting its effectiveness in addressing various mental health issues. The convenience of getting qualified therapists from the comfort of one's home, coupled with the flexibility of scheduling, can make it easier for individuals to maintain consistent sessions.


Navigating the experience of depression can often leave individuals isolated and misunderstood. However, through the relatable nature of poetry, there exists a bridge to human experiences and emotions. 

The above depression poems to guide you through challenging times can offer solace through relatable words but may also serve as gentle reminders that you are not alone. If you are interested in further exploring your mental health experiences, consider reaching out to a mental health professional online or in your area for support.

Depression is treatable, and you're not alone

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