Rupi Kaur “where the depression came from”

Rupi Kaur, an Instagram poet, wrote a poem named, “where the depression came from”. This poem is informal and uses no standard punctuation or capitalization to signify complete sentences. Her poem has meaning and depth that airs the complexity of human emotions. Where does depression come from? Can you tie down this emotion to one distinct moment in your life or can you tie it to an amalgamation of events?

Kaur can identify several moments in her life that could be the cause of her depression. She talks as if she is born with it or maybe someone gave it to her. She writes, “maybe the rapist left it behind / or was it that criminal i called a boyfriend” (line 12-13). This is so powerful because a rape victim is not only scarred or damaged physically, but they are also impacted mentally from the violent encounter. Being raped can definitely lead to depression for obvious reasons: a person has to deal with the invasion, deal with the victimization, and deal with doubt inflicted by others who victim shame among other things. Having a criminal boyfriend can damage a woman’s self-esteem and cause them to question themselves. It can become a dangerous spiral when an outside source has the power to impact another’s life in a way that they doubt themselves and their life choices.

To be born with depression is an impactful statement because to identify a moment that causes depression shows emotional maturity. Not many are able to do that, otherwise moving away from a depressive state would be easy. In a moment of reflection in Kaur’s poem, to think that depression has been imposed on a person at birth is daunting. Kaur says, “maybe i walked out of the womb with it / is it possible to be born / with such a melancholy spirit” (lines 1-3). We are for sure born with attributing personalities, but to be born melancholy is very saddening. No one wants to be sad all the time, but to be perpetually sad is worth exploring. Are people capable of delivering themselves from a depressive state? Or will it just become a part of their lives because they are born this way? I would hope no one is born depressed. That would be awful.

Society has a way of making people depressed or rather providing such toxic environments, it is difficult to not get depressed. Rejection has a negative impact on anyone, and Kaur is no different. She is a Canadian poet who was born in India and migrated to Canada at a young age. Being foreign and assimilating to an unwelcoming society can make growing up different even more challenging. She writes, “and remained with me / long after we landed in / a country that did not want us” (lines 6-8). Foreigners have a challenging time adjusting in new countries. Meeting resistance and prejudice does not give them a healthy environment to adjust in. She also says, “maybe it was on my father’s face / when he met us in baggage claim / and i had no idea who he was” (lines 9-11). I can imagine a typical story that involves a person from someone’s family going ahead to another country to make money and prepare a life for their family. When Kaur says she did not know who her father was means he left to make a better life for his family before she was even born and has been gone for a long time. Adjusting to new environments, adjusting to a dad you do not know, and adjusting to a hostile society can lead anyone to have depressive thoughts.

I believe her poem is spoken in solitude, as a self-reflection of not only what it means to be depressed but what the contributing factors are. Was it a major point of her life or does it stem from the many depressive events she had to endure in her lifetime. To me, these are very personal images of depression but are very relatable. Anyone can have moments in their lives they have to adjust to, overcome, persevere, or recover from. This poem questions these moments in an attempt to identify the source of their depression. It could be one thing, or it could be all of these things. Kaur ends her poem saying, “or maybe / it was all of those things at once” (lines 19-20). Her poem is geared towards clarity of the many things a person can attribute to the depression.



“depression made me” – jessica steverson


depression made me stay

depression made me go

depression made me scream

depression made me woke


it made me live the life of many

it made me choose life more purposefully

it made me careless

it made me care less




it made me conscious of my needs

it made me appreciate my value

it made me lose dead weight

it made me a better mother


depression did not make me

but it makes me want to punch it in the face



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