The Language Of Depression: When Anxiety Takes On A Voice And A Meaning

The language of depression: when anxiety takes on a voice and a meaning

The language of depression has a voice, it modulates us. Anguish, indifference and hopelessness permeate the words we choose, alter our lexicon, distort our grammatical patterns and even the length of the sentences we speak. It is all shorter, more obscure, and more motivated by the deep bitterness that completely taints our reality.

Depression gives leads and leans out the window of our life in different ways. However, its main skill, a ferocious ruse, is to distort everything: our behavior, our motivation, our lifestyle, our thoughts, our language … Sometimes, far from reacting to it, we end up assuming its presence by integrating it. to our way of being.

When depression invades our daily life

We say this for a very concrete reason . Some people come to “normalize” these states of vulnerability. They are generally men and women continuing to live with their tasks and responsibilities without their environment detecting this shadow, the relief of depression. Nowadays, the development of new technologies has made it possible to set up computer software making it possible to identify on the network linguistic patterns associated with this disease. The results once again show us the high incidence of this disorder.

The University of Texas, for example, carried out a study which made it possible to detect depressive characteristics in our interactions on social networks or on internet forums. Our adolescents, for example, are very accustomed to using these means of communication as scenes in which to express themselves and to relieve themselves. One can therefore often face clear signs of psychological disorders that go untreated because they are simply not identified.

Let us remember that depression leaves traces, tracks and that it is noticeable in the style of communication that we are used to employing …

language of depression

The language of depression: how to recognize it?

The language of depression is part of our culture. This sentence which can undoubtedly attract our attention is a fact more than obvious. Some songs are the emotional reflection of an author going through a vital stage as complex as it is obscure. However, we love this type of lyrics because if there is something we like; these are the sad songs and stories. Take for example the texts of Curt Cobain or Amy Winehouse .

We also see this in the world of comedy, in literature or in poetry. Sylvie Plath, a famous poet, used to say “dying is an art, like everything; and I do it extraordinarily well ” . Virginia Woolf for her part gave more than obvious and even striking leads in her works: The Waves or Madame Dalloway.

In some cases, mental disorders invoke that creative genius that arises almost like a demonic treatise in which success, recognition or creative mastery ultimately comes with the life of the author. Sad and hopeless disappointments that are intuitive we see coming because  the language of depression is bitter and follows striking patterns. It is the mirror of the convulsion of the inner world.

Let’s see how to recognize it.

Content and language style

Earlier this year, a study published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science revealed a way to detect depression through language. We are not only referring to oral communication. As we pointed out at the beginning of this article, we have a series of computer systems that allow us to identify certain disorders through social networks and forums.

  • So, in the language of depression, the first thing that catches your eye is the content. Negative emotions, fatalistic ideas, hopelessness and words like “loneliness”, “sadness”, “fear” are present in abundance.
  • On the other hand, fundamentalist expressions like “there is no solution”, “there is no hope”, “the next day does not exist”, “I am always alone” , “No one can understand me”… are very common.

It should be noted, for example, that experts make the link between these expressions and people with a suicidal tendency.

language of depression

The use of pronouns

On the other hand, the language of depression generally and exclusively uses the pronoun “I”. In the mind of a depressed, the world has shrunk; it has become tiny and oppressive. In this small territory of suffering, only one person continues to live. This “me” who can no longer count on anyone, who is unable to see the perspectives of others, who has no empathy, who is no longer able to put things into perspective. It has not become impossible for him to open up to other worlds, other winds and other more optimistic currents.

Thus, the constant use of verbal tenses combined with the first person is a further reflection of the negative emotions which contribute to boycott their protagonist in their entirety.

The rumination cycle

Language is a reflection of our reasoning and our moral state. When depression has taken over every mental territory of our brain, it is common to start ruminating. The rumination cycle is made up of obsessive, unstoppable thoughts. This persistent habit is like standing water. Nothing is renewed, the same torrent is agitated in our interior. The same bacteria and the same microorganisms are displaced and eventually make us sick.

For this reason, it’s common to notice the same conversations, negative thoughts, doubts, and obsessions in people with depression. Asking them to hold back, change their speech, or think about other things is no use. They are not capable of it. 


In conclusion, if we detect certain signs of depressive language in our relatives and friends, we will be able to facilitate the intervention and therefore their recovery. This is a very important fact, especially when the observation is made on young subjects: children and adolescents. 

Some people confuse behaviors or styles of communication with the crisis specific to adolescence. However, these dynamics and expressions do not reflect any personality style: often they point to a psychological disorder. So let’s learn to identify this disease which has a greater incidence every day in order to better respond to it and prevent it with more success.


Depression and silent suffering
Our thoughts Our thoughts

People who have suffered from or are dealing with depression will no doubt know what we are referring to by te …

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button