30 Metaphors for Depression: Understanding the Unseen Struggle + Quiz


It’s a bit like trying to explain a color you’ve never seen or a song you’ve never heard. That’s where metaphors come in handy.

They paint a vivid picture of what it feels like to experience depression, making it easier to understand for those who haven’t felt it themselves.

So, let’s embark on this journey together to explore these metaphors and shed some light on the elusive nature of depression.

metaphors for depression

What is a Metaphor for Depression

Before we jump into our list of metaphors, let’s quickly chat about what a metaphor actually is. In simple terms, it’s a figure of speech where you describe something by comparing it to something else, without using “like” or “as”.


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What is a simile?

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Identify the simile in the following sentence: “She swims like a fish.”

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What is a metaphor?

4 / 20

Which of the following is a metaphor?

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What is an idiom?

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What does the idiom “break the ice” mean?

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What is an adjective?

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Choose the adjective in the following sentence: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

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What is an abbreviation?

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What does the abbreviation “e.g.” stand for?

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What is a verb?

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Identify the verb in the following sentence: “The cat sleeps on the sofa.”

13 / 20

“Out of the frying pan into the fire” is an example of:

14 / 20

Which of the following is an adjective?

15 / 20

The abbreviation “NASA” stands for:

16 / 20

Choose the metaphor in the following sentence: “Time is a thief.”

17 / 20

What does the idiom “hit the books” mean?

18 / 20

Which of the following sentences contains a simile?

19 / 20

“LOL” is an abbreviation for:

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Identify the verb in this sentence: “They whispered secrets into the night.”

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When it comes to depression, metaphors are a powerful tool. They help convey the depth and complexity of the experience in a way that’s relatable and easier to digest.

Now, let’s dive into our list of metaphors, shall we?

Here’s a summary of all the metaphors for depression in a table format:

MetaphorMeaningUse in a Sentence
A Dark Cloud Hanging Over One’s HeadPersistent gloom and sadness looming over a person.He’s had a dark cloud hanging over his head since the incident.
Sinking in a Bottomless OceanFeeling overwhelmed and helpless with no end in sight.She felt like she was sinking in a bottomless ocean, struggling to keep afloat.
Trapped in a Deep, Dark WellIsolation and being stuck in a deep emotional pit.He’s been trapped in a deep, dark well of depression.
Wandering in a Foggy MazeConfusion, disorientation, and feeling lost in thoughts.Lately, she’s been wandering in a foggy maze, seeking clarity.
Carrying a Heavy, Invisible WeightConstant, unseen burden that weighs heavily.He feels like he’s carrying a heavy, invisible weight.
Stuck in a Never-Ending StormRelentless, turbulent nature of depression.She’s been stuck in a never-ending storm of emotions.
A Suffocating Blanket of DespairOverwhelming force that restricts one’s ability to breathe freely.He feels a suffocating blanket of despair wrapping around him.
Walking Through a Field of ThornsEvery step and day is painful and difficult.For her, every day is like walking through a field of thorns.
Lost in a Dense, Dark ForestBeing lost, alone, and unable to find a way out of gloomy thoughts.He finds himself lost in a dense, dark forest of his mind.
Drowning in QuicksandBeing pulled down by depression, struggling to escape.She feels like she’s drowning in quicksand, the more she struggles, the deeper she sinks.
A Black Hole Swallowing LightDepression consuming all positivity and hope.His depression is like a black hole, swallowing light and happiness.
Trapped in a Labyrinth of ShadowsComplexity and confusion of navigating through depression.She’s trapped in a labyrinth of shadows, with more uncertainty ahead.
Chained to a Massive BoulderImmobilizing and burdensome nature of depression.He feels as if he’s chained to a massive boulder, unable to move forward.
Falling into an AbyssSudden, overwhelming descent into deep depression.She feels like she’s falling into an abyss, with no one to catch her.
A Relentless, Cold WinterA never-ending, bleak period devoid of warmth and life.His life feels like a relentless, cold winter, lacking happiness and hope.
Walking in a Desert with No OasisEndless searching for relief or happiness, without success.She’s been walking in a desert with no oasis, her thirst for joy unquenched.
Being Engulfed by a Tsunami of SadnessBeing overwhelmed by intense and uncontrollable sadness.He’s felt engulfed by a tsunami of sadness, unable to escape its grip.
A Night Without Stars or MoonComplete darkness and hopelessness.For her, life is like a night without stars or moon, utterly devoid of light.
A Wilted Flower in a Vibrant GardenFeeling out of place and unable to thrive amidst others’ happiness.In her friends’ happiness, she feels like a wilted flower in a vibrant garden.
An Unplayable, Broken InstrumentBeing broken to the point of losing one’s purpose or function.He feels like an unplayable, broken instrument, no longer able to produce life’s music.
A Never-Ending, Uphill ClimbConstant struggle, with no ease or relief in sight.Every day is a never-ending, uphill climb for her.
A Colorless PaintingLife devoid of joy, vibrancy, and color.His life has become a colorless painting, lacking vibrancy.
A Silent Scream in a Noisy WorldBeing unheard and unnoticed amidst chaos.Her pain is like a silent scream in a noisy world, unheard and ignored.
Living in a House with No Windows or DoorsFeeling trapped and isolated from the outside world.He feels like living in a house with no windows or doors, cut off from the world.
A Tree Stripped of Its LeavesBeing bare

Depression is like a heavy, dark cloud that hangs over your thoughts and emotions. You can find more comparisons like this in a list of similes for depression here: Similes for Depression. And when it comes to expressions about depression and the feelings of sadness and despair, there are idioms that capture the depth and challenges of this emotional state, which you can explore in this collection: Idioms for Depression.

Metaphors for Depression

1. A Dark Cloud Hanging Over One’s Head

Meaning: This metaphor describes a constant sense of gloom and sadness that looms over a person, much like a persistent, dark cloud.

In a Sentence: Ever since the incident, he’s had a dark cloud hanging over his head, unable to shake off the feeling of sadness.

2. Sinking in a Bottomless Ocean

Meaning: This metaphor captures the feeling of being overwhelmed and helpless, with no end or relief in sight.

In a Sentence: She felt like she was sinking in a bottomless ocean, each day harder to keep afloat than the last.

3. Trapped in a Deep, Dark Well

Meaning: This metaphor reflects feelings of isolation and being stuck in a deep emotional pit, unable to escape.

In a Sentence: He’s been trapped in a deep, dark well of depression, unable to see the light at the top.

4. Wandering in a Foggy Maze

Meaning: This metaphor illustrates confusion, disorientation, and the feeling of being lost in one’s own thoughts.

In a Sentence: Lately, she’s been wandering in a foggy maze, unclear of which way to turn for clarity.

5. Carrying a Heavy, Invisible Weight

Meaning: This metaphor represents the constant, unseen burden of depression that weighs heavily on a person.

In a Sentence: He walks through life carrying a heavy, invisible weight, making even the simplest tasks feel exhausting.

6. Stuck in a Never-Ending Storm

Meaning: This metaphor conveys the relentless, turbulent nature of depression, with no clear end in sight.

In a Sentence: She’s been stuck in a never-ending storm of emotions, each day as tumultuous as the last.

7. A Suffocating Blanket of Despair

Meaning: This metaphor portrays depression as an overwhelming force that suffocates and restricts one’s ability to breathe freely.

In a Sentence: He feels a suffocating blanket of despair wrapping around him, making it hard to find any joy.

8. Walking Through a Field of Thorns

Meaning: This metaphor suggests that every step and every day is painful and fraught with difficulties.

In a Sentence: For her, every day is like walking through a field of thorns, each step a reminder of her struggles.

9. Lost in a Dense, Dark Forest

Meaning: This metaphor reflects the feeling of being lost, alone, and unable to find a way out of one’s gloomy thoughts.

In a Sentence: He finds himself lost in a dense, dark forest of his mind, with no path leading back to happiness.

10. Drowning in Quicksand

Meaning: This metaphor illustrates the feeling of being pulled down by depression, struggling to escape its grasp.

In a Sentence: She feels like she’s drowning in quicksand, the more she struggles, the deeper she sinks.

11. A Black Hole Swallowing Light

Meaning: This metaphor describes how depression can consume all positivity and hope, much like a black hole.

In a Sentence: His depression is like a black hole, swallowing every bit of light and happiness in his life.

12. Trapped in a Labyrinth of Shadows

Meaning: This metaphor conveys the complexity and confusion of navigating through depression.

In a Sentence: She’s trapped in a labyrinth of shadows, every turn leading to more uncertainty and despair.

13. Chained to a Massive Boulder

Meaning: This metaphor suggests the immobilizing and burdensome nature of depression.

In a Sentence: He feels as if he’s chained to a massive boulder, unable to move forward in life.

14. Falling into an Abyss

Meaning: This metaphor captures the sudden, overwhelming descent into deep depression.

In a Sentence: Lately, she feels like she’s falling into an abyss, with no one around to catch her.

15. A Relentless, Cold Winter

Meaning: This metaphor likens depression to a never-ending, bleak winter, devoid of warmth and life.

In a Sentence: His life feels like a relentless, cold winter, lacking the warmth of happiness and hope.

16. Walking in a Desert with No Oasis

Meaning: This metaphor illustrates the feeling of endless searching for relief or happiness, without success.

In a Sentence: She’s been walking in a desert with no oasis, her thirst for joy remaining unquenched.

17. Being Engulfed by a Tsunami of Sadness

Meaning: This metaphor describes being overwhelmed by intense and uncontrollable sadness.

In a Sentence: Recently, he’s felt engulfed by a tsunami of sadness, unable to escape its powerful grip.

18. A Night Without Stars or Moon

Meaning: This metaphor conveys a sense of complete darkness and hopelessness.

In a Sentence: For her, life has become like a night without stars or moon, utterly devoid of light.

19. A Wilted Flower in a Vibrant Garden

Meaning: This metaphor represents feeling out of place, diminished, and unable to thrive in the midst of others’ happiness.

In a Sentence: In the midst of her friends’ happiness, she feels like a wilted flower in a vibrant garden.

20. An Unplayable, Broken Instrument

Meaning: This metaphor suggests being broken to the point of losing one’s purpose or function.

In a Sentence: He feels like an unplayable, broken instrument, no longer able to produce the music of life.

21. A Never-Ending, Uphill Climb

Meaning: This metaphor indicates a constant struggle, with no ease or relief in sight.

In a Sentence: Every day for her is a never-ending, uphill climb, each step as hard as the last.

22. A Colorless Painting

Meaning: This metaphor illustrates a life devoid of joy, vibrancy, and color.

In a Sentence: His life has become like a colorless painting, lacking the vibrancy it once had.

23. A Silent Scream in a Noisy World

Meaning: This metaphor conveys the feeling of being unheard and unnoticed in the midst of chaos.

In a Sentence: Amidst the bustling world, her pain is like a silent scream, unheard and ignored.

24. Living in a House with No Windows or Doors

Meaning: This metaphor reflects feelings of being trapped and isolated from the outside world.

In a Sentence: He feels like he’s living in a house with no windows or doors, cut off from the rest of the world.

25. A Tree Stripped of Its Leaves

Meaning: This metaphor suggests being bare, exposed, and having lost one’s former vitality.

In a Sentence: In her depression, she feels like a tree stripped of its leaves, exposed and barren.

26. A Puzzle with Missing Pieces

Meaning: This metaphor represents the feeling of incompleteness and the struggle to make sense of one’s life.

In a Sentence: His life feels like a puzzle with missing pieces, unable to complete the picture.

27. A Bird with Clipped Wings

Meaning: This metaphor indicates a loss of freedom and the inability to reach one’s potential.

In a Sentence: She feels like a bird with clipped wings, unable to soar to her desired heights.

28. An Echo in an Empty Chamber

Meaning: This metaphor conveys a sense of emptiness and the lack of response or connection with others.

In a Sentence: His cries for help are like an echo in an empty chamber, with no one around to hear.

29. A Book with Faded Words

Meaning: This metaphor suggests losing one’s story or identity, becoming harder to read or understand.

In a Sentence: She feels like a book with faded words, her story becoming more difficult to understand.

30. A Candle Struggling to Stay Lit in the Wind

Meaning: This metaphor represents the struggle to keep going despite adverse conditions.

In a Sentence: In the face of his challenges, he’s like a candle struggling to stay lit in the wind.

Here are 10 quiz questions about metaphors for depression:

  1. Multiple Choice:
    • Question: What does the metaphor “A Dark Cloud Hanging Over One’s Head” symbolize in relation to depression?
    • Options: A) Optimism and hope B) Persistent gloom and sadness C) Excitement and energy D) Clarity and understanding
    • Answer: B) Persistent gloom and sadness
  2. True or False:
    • Question: The metaphor “Sinking in a Bottomless Ocean” represents feeling overwhelmed and having no end in sight.
    • Answer: True
  3. Fill in the Blanks:
    • Question: ‘Being trapped in a _____________ well’ is a metaphor that reflects feelings of ________ and being stuck in a deep emotional pit.
    • Answer: deep, dark; isolation
  4. Matching:
    • Question: Match the metaphor to its meaning.
    • Metaphors:
      1. Walking Through a Field of Thorns
      2. A Suffocating Blanket of Despair
      3. A Tree Stripped of Its Leaves
    • Meanings: A) Feeling overwhelmed and restricted B) Experiencing pain and difficulty in every step C) Loss of vitality and exposure
    • Answers: 1-B, 2-A, 3-C
  5. Short Answer:
    • Question: What does the metaphor “A Night Without Stars or Moon” convey about depression?
    • Answer: It conveys a sense of complete darkness and hopelessness.
  6. Multiple Choice:
    • Question: Which metaphor suggests a loss of freedom and the inability to reach one’s potential?
    • Options: A) A Bird with Clipped Wings B) Drowning in Quicksand C) A Silent Scream in a Noisy World D) A Candle Struggling to Stay Lit in the Wind
    • Answer: A) A Bird with Clipped Wings
  7. True or False:
    • Question: The metaphor “A Colorless Painting” indicates a life full of excitement and varied experiences.
    • Answer: False
  8. Fill in the Blanks:
    • Question: ‘Living in a house with no ________ or _______’ is a metaphor that reflects feelings of being _______ and isolated.
    • Answer: windows; doors; trapped
  9. Multiple Choice:
    • Question: What does the metaphor “An Echo in an Empty Chamber” represent in the context of depression?
    • Options: A) Joy and fulfillment B) Being unheard and feeling empty C) Clarity of thought D) Energy and motivation
    • Answer: B) Being unheard and feeling empty
  10. Short Answer:
    • Question: How does the metaphor “A Wilted Flower in a Vibrant Garden” describe a person’s experience with depression?
    • Answer: It describes feeling out of place, diminished, and unable to thrive amidst others’ happiness.

Conclusion

And there we have it – a comprehensive look at various metaphors for depression. Each one paints a vivid picture of the different aspects of this complex and challenging condition. By understanding these metaphors, we can gain a deeper empathy for people with depression.

Cite this entry:

Phrasesdirectory.com. “,” Retrieved from Phrases Directory – Accessed

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