A Depression Metaphor for Those Who Don’t Experience It

A Depression Metaphor - sad man

By Ashley Cairns

Those with lived experience of depression, know first hand the monster it can be. This is a depression metaphor for those lucky enough to not have this experience.

Depression Metaphor: The Gremlin

Imagine, if you can, the movie Gremlins from the 1980’s. Yeah, I know, I’m THAT old now. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of watching this cheesy 80’s horror flick, the premise of the movie is that these Gremlins aren’t allowed to get wet or to be fed after midnight. If you did, a horrible, snarling monster would appear where the cute little furbie looking thing once stood. Getting bigger and bigger until they were out of control.

This is a great metaphor for depression if you think about it!


Intrusive Thoughts as Gremlin Food

We get intrusive thoughts that create depressive feelings within us. When we “feed” into these thoughts, we create a larger, more vicious beast than the original thought. As we stew, the gremlin grows until it’s out of control. This is when suicidal thoughts rear their ugly heads and create mental havoc for the person experiencing depression. 

How Depression can be exhausting

How Does Someone Stop Feeding the Gremlins?

This is obviously easier said than done, or I wouldn’t have a job. Learning to control our emotions and restructure our thoughts can help. Medication helps to put the person into the right headspace to do the mental work but isn’t the solution to depression alone.

Learn More about Depression

My Friend or Loved One Is Experiencing Depression, What Can I Do?

Loving someone experiencing depression can be hard. Being on alert for suicidal thoughts, even just listening to their thoughts/feelings can be draining. But there are things you can do to help:

  • Offer to do a form of physical activity with them- meet them where they are rather than imposing your favourite form of exercise on them.
  • Make them a healthy meal
  • Ask them how you can help- don’t assume

We also have an entire article devoted to helping a loved one with depression, located here.

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