Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Hopelessness/Depression

· Actions grow mechanical, lose meaning
· Very little energy is put into doing tasks
· Pays no attention to appearance, appearance degrades
· Requires direction from others, even for simple things
· A lack of interest in the feelings of others
· A desire to curl up and sleep to ‘escape’
· A lack of energy or strength due to a loss of will
· A bland or blank expression
· Stopping to sit or lie down in extreme danger, dropping to the ground
· A loss of coordination if walking or running (a stumbling gait, wooden steps)
· Voicing a negative outlook or outcome
· Appearing to rapidly age (if depression is ongoing)
· No appetite/may stop eating all together
· Retreats inward, difficult for others to rouse
· Numbness, both mentally and physically
· Inconsolable weeping
· Staring off at nothing
· Non responsive to voices of loved ones or their presence
· Avoidance of life (staying in bed, refusing to dress or to leave room or house in general)
· A noticeably diminished presence to others
· Extreme Melancholy
· Forgetfulness
· Disconnecting from family, community and society
· Rumpled/slept in clothing, may wear same outfit for days at a time
· Poor personal hygiene, may require prompting from others or assistance to care for oneself
· No concept of time
· Weight loss, muscle tone grows flaccid from inactivity
· Cannot account for actions (experiences missing time)
· Requires assistance from others to attend appointments, eat, care for children or pets, etc
· Slipping into a catatonic type ‘zone’
· Bouts of crying or mania
· Suicidal tendencies, looking for a quicker ‘end’ to the current situation
· Requires hospitalization (intervention from family)


Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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4 Responses to Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Hopelessness/Depression

  1. Becca says:

    In writing these entries, I’ve found it amazing the range that can exist within one emotion. Hopelessness can swing from a vague sense of sadness all the way into suicidal depression. This thesaurus has made me realize how vague a lot of my writing is in regard to emotion.

  2. Pema says:

    Ooh, I need this one. I mean, none of my characters necassarily depict “suicidal tendencies”, but one does experience a sort of hopelessness.

  3. Becca says:

    It’s our pleasure 🙂

  4. PJ Hoover says:

    This is great! Thanks so much!

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