A Letter to the Depressed

It’s a fragile thing, this life we lead.
If I think too much I can get overwhelmed by the grace
By which we live our lives with death over our shoulders*


I am currently in the process of watching you spiral down. Again.

It’s hard and it sucks and it’s not the first time you have been down this road, but just like every time I hope it’s the last.

Depression sucks.

Depression tricks you into thinking you don’t matter and that nothing you say or do will work to get rid of it anyway. So you try things that make you feel good in the moment, make you forget that your brains sucks at being a brain.

You take risks because, why not? When you’re not risk-taking you feel like garbage, so you may as well try all the things that will make you fee–at least for a little while–like none of the trash in your head matters.

Depression is heaps and heaps of bags of rotting trash leaking all over your brain. Leaking into your thoughts and memories. Tainting every day activities and routines and making them unbearable.

You can’t get through even mundane tasks because it feels like such a heavy burden.

Depression dupes you into thinking that making the same old bad choices will somehow have a different outcome and that things will be better this time.

Instead you barrel towards the pit again, and you are surprised to find that all those things you did to try to hide the rubbish piles in your brain didn’t help…again.

You cycle.

You get just far enough out of the pit to tell yourself that this time will be different.

But you don’t follow through with finding a permanent solution to the trash removal.  You think, because depression tells you so, that you can handle all that refuse on your own because you feel better. You’ll haul it all out by yourself with your new-found energy.

Slowly you’re overwhelmed. You’ve gotten rid of a few of the bits of litter only to find that Depression has piled on a whole new truck load.

You cycle.

Depression tells you to do the things that felt good before.  The ones that put up the curtain, the screen. You can’t see the depression when you do those things…but that doesn’t mean it’s gone.

It’s never gone.

Life is fragile.

But you know that because, well, you just know. Depression even told you a few times that life was worthless. And you believe that.

You want it to go away…you want it all to go away.

But you don’t want to change.

Change is hard. It’s scary. You don’t know what you look like without all this.

What if…what if it’s not better?

But what if it is?

You can’t keep living life in a constant state of “barely” forever.

You can’t keep living life staring at the ground in front of you wishing it would change.

You need to look up–despite what Depression tells you about there being nothing there. There is. Something there, I mean. It’s a light.

But you need to look up to see it.  And probably squint really hard.

Ok so maybe from where you are, with all the garbage bags piling up, you can’t see it. But it’s there.

You can’t see the air, but you know it’s there because you are breathing it, and you are alive.

The light is there too.

You know because you are alive.

You can go to that light. You can be warmed by it’s energy-giving light.

But you have to want to.

You have to want to make a change. You have to decide to go against everything Depression is telling you.

It’s a lot of work. It’s hard. It’s scary.

Change seems way less secure than the dangerous things you’re doing now.

It’s scary to open your mouth and tell those around you, “I need to stop and change because I’m broken, and if I keep this up I will be dead.”

It’s hard to believe you matter, but you do. You are important. The hard work will be worth it.

I know. I’ve done it.

I am doing it.

Every day.

I hope this time you will join me.

We can do hard things…together.

We can claim the light for you too.


*lyrics from “Sirens” by Pearl Jam

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. Oh Katie. I love your bravery, but I want to kick Depression in the butt for all the pain it’s causing you. Hang on, hang tight, the light is there. xo

    • And I realized after that this letter is for someone else, and I want to say to her – hang on, the light is there, and you have people who love you.

  2. Thank you for these words. I have clinical depression and I am on the light side and have been for some time, but it is a process and you wrote about it beautifully. Thank you.

  3. You are bravery and light. xo

  4. oh Katie. Do you realize You just became the light for so many people? So many people like me, who love having you in our dark rooms.

    Love. Love. Love.

  5. So powerful and moving, Katie.
    You are bringing light just by sharing this.

  6. wow. how powerful. Your light truly shines for many people. xoxoxo

  7. Yes. I know this feeling.

  8. so many people need the support of your words. The pull of depression is so real and you nailed the feelings.

  9. Just hugs for you Katie. xoxo. The writing you’re doing is important.

  10. so powerful – and so uplifting for so many.
    No one has ever described it so well, that a person like me who doesn’t know and understand, might get more than just a glimpse. You’ve helped those of us who want to help and be there for our friends who suffer too! That’s a Huge thing!

  11. I’m so glad you wrote this. It needs to be read by so many people, and I know you are touching some very special people with your words.

  12. This is positive and beautiful and encouraging. Just what so many need to read. 🙂


  13. I love the hell out of this and you, brave, wonderful, powerful, you!

  14. <3

  15. So powerful, Katie. I hope that this letter helps at least one person who is suffering from depression. Your image of depression as rotting bags of garbage that ruins everything is a perfect metaphor.