Images are powerful conveyors of both knowledge and emotions. In Examined Lives I tried to describe what depression felt like to me, but recently I went looking for a visual equivalent. Most depictions of depression are from the outside looking on—a miserable person alone—curled up on bed, crying, hanging his or her head, clutching the body and so on. But that does not show what depression is like from the inside looking out.
I have found three images which resonate with my own experience of depression, which was an unbearable physical paralysis which sucked my will and which made the world seem at a distance, like a jerky old-time movie. I share them as an effort to convey just how different depression is from “feeling down,” as unpleasant as that is.