Compassion (a poem about depression)

Depression is not very pretty. Nor is it very kind. It has many faces, and it comes and goes as it pleases. It can affect almost anyone. If you are someone who has struggled with depression, you know it never goes away completely but hides, waiting for the right moment to reappear. It isn’t something to be lightly dismissed in yourself or in others who suffer from it. Who hasn’t seen the devastating effect it can have on a vulnerable person? I’ve struggled with it, and I’ve certainly known many others who were also affected by it.


Watching someone you love battle depression is never easy. It isn’t easily “fixed,” even in this age of modern medicine. Therapy and medicines are there, and for some people they help so much, but for others, less so. Compassion, patience, unconditional love and presence are the lifelines we can offer…to someone else and to ourselves.


To listen to me read this poem, please click on the link below. It will take a minute to begin.





Taking on your pain was something
I tried to do, like slipping on your
jacket, pushing an arm in and then
another, pulling it tight around myself,
hoping that by feeling what you do,
it would diminish your pain.


No matter how hard I tried, it wasn’t a fit.
Your depression fell around me in loose
folds, the sadness sagging around my heart.
Besides, it would leave you cold, open
to the fickle winds that blew your way.



Compassion was first published in Erasing the Doubt by Mary Kendall
(Finishing Line Press © 2015)




17 thoughts on “Compassion (a poem about depression)

    • Thank you for your kind words and for sharing your own story. Yes, depression can be fast and harsh or sometimes silent and insidious. Luckily we live in an age where good therapy exists and medicines for some. I think our world is filled with such stress and fear that everyone has to deal with depression and its counterpart, anxiety. Be well, my friend. 🙏🏼


  1. What your poem says about depression is true, Mary. I’m so sorry you had to suffer it. My husband is bi-polar and has battled it for years. He wouldn’t admit his problem which so many people here won’t because public opinion forces them to hide it. He wouldn’t medicate for that reason so just suffered. We suffered with him. He’s now an invalid and his caregiver keeps him on medication. I suffered from some depression when my mother had Alzheimer’s. Mine was never the type that needed medication. Lovely poem. —- Suzanne


  2. Interesting that you used a jacket as a metaphor for depression, Mary. A few years ago, I wrote a poem about someone else’s depression and I used a heavy cloak to describe the feeling. You are right about the compassion too. So many people think that the depressed person can just ‘ snap out of it.’ They can’t! I saw it time and again among an aging, chronically ill population I served. Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not surprised we chose similar metaphors, Barbara. There is that sense of being covered by something heavy. I appreciate your comments and thoughts about this topic. It’s so important for people to talk openly about depression. All best ~ Mary


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