Jim Carrey explains Depression in the Best Way I’ve ever Heard.


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Jim Carrey talks about his battle with depression. He explains just how tough suffering from depression can be, and how finding freedom from depression is tied to separating from the ego.

When I think of a great Buddhist teacher, Jim Carrey isn’t the first to come to mind. But wow. The now heavily-bearded actor, who recently created quite a buzz when he made an interviewer super uncomfortable on the red carpet, has some pretty profound things to say about this complicated, fun, difficult, and beautiful thing we call the human experience:

Carrey shares the startling realization he came to after years of fame: it’s totally pointless to spend our whole lives creating and curating some specific identity for ourselves.

This is all ego: desiring to be important, to be someone, to matter. In reality, this grasping at a singular identity brings us only pain and suffering, for three main reasons. One, it introduces a separation between us and all other beings that dishonors our inherent, interconnected nature. Two, it deludes us into thinking that things are not supposed to change—that we are not supposed to change. Three, it leads us away from resting in our own basic goodness, as it makes us feel that we aren’t enough just as we are, right now.

The antidote to this suffering is to let go of this desire to be “someone.” As Carrey beautifully puts it, “The feeling of wholeness is a different feeling than me-ness.” To feel whole, we must let go of trying to maintain an image of “me.”

See also: Depression: 6 Ways to Battle Back

Drawing from his own experience, Carrey then connects this truth to the condition of depression:

“People talk about depression all the time. The difference between depression and sadness is sadness is just from happenstance—whatever happened or didn’t happen for you, or grief, or whatever it is. Depression is your body saying f*ck you, I don’t want to be this character anymore, I don’t want to hold up this avatar that you’ve created in the world. It’s too much for me.

You should think of the word ‘depressed’ as ‘deep rest.’ Your body needs to be depressed. It needs deep rest from the character that you’ve been trying to play.”

That might be the best assessment of depression I’ve ever heard.

Let’s give ourselves (what is “self,” anyway?) a break and let go of whatever identities we’ve worked so hard to create. Let’s instead live with an open heart and a sense of humor about ourselves and our world—since, in the words of Jim Carrey, none of it matters anyway.

And that’s a comforting thought.

“I have no depression in my life whatsoever—literally none. I have sadness, and joy, and elation, and satisfaction, and gratitude beyond belief. But all of it is weather, and it just spins around the planet. It doesn’t sit on me long enough to kill me. It’s just ideas.” ~ Jim Carrey



author: Callie Rushton

Image: YouTube

Relephant Bonus:

10 Basic Salves for Burn-Out & Everyday Depression.

What to do if (when) you feel Sad & even Depressed.

5 Mindful Things to do First Thing in the Morning.


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Callie Rushton

Callie Rushton lives by her favorite quote by E.B. White, which reads: I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. Formerly a full-time activist, Callie now spends her days editing for elephant journal. When she’s not working, you can find her climbing, knitting, reading The New Yorker, watching Netflix, or exploring the great outdoors. You can connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.

Jane Elizabeth Smith Nov 16, 2018 11:49pm


Katarina Hageltorn Nov 11, 2018 11:54am

I love his description of the word depressed. It says it all.

Takeme Asiam Oct 22, 2018 1:09pm

This is by far the best truth I've heard in a while. Speaking from experience, we as people over look the depression or try to substitute our happiness wit drugs and other things which leads to a deeper depression. I'm no famous actor . I live out real life experiences and sometimes depression puts me in a place where all I can do is cry, sleep and eat. So unhealthy. But I stay prayed up and thanking God I made it throughout the day. Depression have been so bad for me where I sometimes wish I was someone. A mind can play so many tricks on u until u may feel life is not worth living if it's this bad. But with prayer, it changes every situation and I thank God daily that I can and have overcome the deep depression that life brought upon me.

K.l. Magee Oct 20, 2018 12:45pm

This, from the guy who spews constant hate and makes paintings that are about his vile hate and makes sure they get his new painter character as much press as possible? I think there are some kernels there, as there are in every segment of the universe and every human utterance. That’s what I take away. Bless his moments of clarity and of what he has found as truth for himself. Jim Carey did not, however, unlock the complicated truth of depression for anyone but himself. There’s power in that, so I’m glad for him.

Zoe Miranda Coles Oct 13, 2018 5:52am

Thank you for interviewing him Callie. 👍🏼

Eric Houston Oct 10, 2018 3:10am

OMG Jim Carrey a non-dualistic philosopher? I am impressed!! The man is a Bodhisattva!

Giacomo Arminio Oct 6, 2018 9:38pm

Doesn't work like this

Judy Evita Price Sep 25, 2018 7:46am

I hate that I sound like one of those spam bots....No, my life wasnt fixed by a witch doctor or a spell, but from good old ayurvedic medicine! LOL okay, here it goes: I was severely depressed for the past 5 years. Crippling, horrifically negative & pervasive thoughts nearly all day, nothing mattered, nothing was worth the effort. If all that wasn't bad enough, 11 people in my small world of people I care for died within 2 years time. I snapped, I went into crazy crying spells, sometimes crying so hard 40 or more times a day! I've never seen or felt anything like it. A couple of months ago I decided to start addressing health issues I've neglected and don't want to spin too far out of control. I have had r/a since I was 12 and at 33 my inflammation was over the top. I hear everyone talking about Turmeric, so I find a supplement (one that also include black pepper and ginger) After a month of taking it I slowly realized I hadn't been writing in my "everything is shit" journal except maybe once a week, when it use to be 4 or more times each day. The quality of my thoughts were not just improving, they had done a complete 180 from utter despair and hopelessness to feeling hope for the 1st time in years! I was so confused, I wasn't doing anything different, why would anything suddenly just *poof* get better almost magically? That doesn't ever happen in real life typically. Then I remembered my Turmeric and started researching it. They've found turmeric to work better than paxil or prozac for depression. They are finding in studies that depression seems to have a much larger link to our gut health than our serotonin levels. Something about our vagus nerve that runs from our gut to our brain and inflammation of the brain. I won't go into the science because I'd hate to mix it up or get it wrong, but it is easily searchable. All I know is that I feel like a real human again and I didn't think that would ever happen again. I want to tell as many people as I can, because if the severity of which I was suffering was so quickly alleviated by getting my gut health in check, there must be others who would benefit as well! Probiotics are not the answer though, a new study found people that took Probiotics after a round of antibiotics took over 6 months(!) for their normal gut flora to recuperate back to normal when the people doing nothing or people having a procedure done where they repopulate your gut with your own bacteria saw it return to normal in days. I think it at least merits some new research to see if Probiotics help as much as we previously thought. I just would hate to say, "heal your gut" & have people turn to Probiotics if that may harm them more in them long run, so I wanted to throw that new studies info here as food for thought as well. Even if this helps only one person, that is one person removed from despair''s grip! Be well!

Dawn Johnson Aug 29, 2018 6:01pm

I’ve read his interview before & appreciate his vision, I felt empowered in my battle. I agree with Callie, his is one of the best assessments of depression I have ever read. It’s ironic that it popped up today, when I’m feeling low, as I used his words just yesterday, “f*ck you depression”! I’m left with the question today, how does one achieve said wholeness when you’ve never felt you were enough. The sadness & grief always seem to prevail. Thanks for the gentle reminder & perspective.

Chris L. Fleshner Aug 6, 2018 5:32pm

Perhaps what we all know about depression is that it is debilitating, and at its heart is illness. The path to illness is rarely understood, especially illness of an emotional nature. But insofar as scientists study brain chemistry, pharmacology, psychology, and the gamut of science that investigates, researches, makes and disprooves hypothesis, the fact remains that it is a real condition with *sometimes* simplistic, cognitivie solutions, and other times involves medications or spirtual journeys, only the sufferer will heal from, on their own terms. No one panacea, no one solution, no one mantra.

Carol Lancester Aug 4, 2018 5:38am

Just stopping by to tell you how much I hate the ads on your site and will never watch anything on it again. Glad you guys can keep it running though 🤙🏾

Joanna Ellarby Jul 8, 2018 10:08pm

Leslie Martin thanks for your reply. I totally agree with your words above, thanks for sharing... You hit the nail on the head about the different forms of depression, and I also think it's a word that gets thrown around too much... Leading to some people thinking it is the same thing as having a bad day, or it is something you can choose to turn off or train your brain to resist. I wish all the best for your son and finding the best thing to help him! Also some interesting reading for you might be the effects of gut on the brain as mentioned in previous comments (there is a book called simply 'gut' by giulia enders that gave me some serious 'aha' moments ). Also, I'm still learning myself but I've been reading about a supplement called 5htp, have a read yourself. It's apparently more natural than traditional antidepressants, and you can get it from any health food store. Obviously I'm no doctor nor trying to suggest anything, it's just that I had a horrible depressive episode this week... And took 200mg of that and noticed a definite increase in my serotonin. Everyone is different though, but it's definitely something I shall be looking into further, unfortunately doctors aren't really clued up on it yet as it's not prescription, and prefer to just try giving me the same old anti-depressants that just numb everything. Anyway, wishing you and your son all the best x

Leslie Martin Jul 8, 2018 9:19pm

Joanna, thank you for your response. I don’t have depression, but my adult son does, so I’ve lived with it for almost 30 years and I still don’t understand it. I’m constantly searching for the understanding and solution. This is the misunderstanding I see right now in society. First, there is feeling in a depressed mood which everyone feels at some point throughout their life. That isn’t “depression”. Then, there is situational depression and there is Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). The clinical name has changed over the years so forgive me if I am not using the latest terminology. Situational depression occurs as it sounds - due to a situation, like divorce, job loss, death etc. People are treated and most recover and they go on to live their life never dealing with depression again. MDD is a life long illness that never goes away. It can be helped with medication, in many cases, and there are better times than others, but you aren’t cured and you don’t “get better”. I feel that most people are dealing with something other than MDD and it is frustrating to see and hear all of the talk about how so many people deal with depression when it is clearly not what my son has. He is unable to work and take care of himself and doesn’t live a normal life. He is dependent on medication, which if he wasn’t on he would commit suicide (tried twice), yet it doesn’t stop the depression, it just stops the suicide. It is the secret that those with mental illness and their loved ones know - anti-depressants are not the be all and end all. The help - don’t get me wrong - I pay a hefty price out of pocket for them and we would be in real trouble without them, however, we need more answers. There is TMS (modern shock therapy) which looks promising, but it is crazy expensive so not available to most. Sorry for the long rant, but I felt the need to say my piece.

Danna Georgia Colman Jun 11, 2018 10:44pm

Too simplistic and self-centered.

Jillian Kay Mar 19, 2018 9:29pm

Shanti LaRue I couldn't agree more. I'm a nurse who has had gut problems, and find that it plays a vital role in how I perceive many things. 🙂 I wish for the future generations that it is something highlighted at the regular GP's offices. It's sometimes unbelievable the ways it could manifest into a serious depression and then dementia/psychosis at a later age. Thanks for your input!!

Iram Khan Mar 9, 2018 6:55am

This is so true! If we get to pay attention to our dietery habits it’ll not be that havoc causing !

Natasha Singh Mar 4, 2018 7:17pm

love this man....funny movie pet detective...he is simply awesome www.exigorecycling.com

Shanti LaRue Feb 20, 2018 5:23pm

I know it's real. I would invite you to explore the relationship between gut health (intestines/flora/digestion/inflamation etc.) and it's contribution to depression. There are major communication pathways between our belly and brain (nervous system and immune system). Neurotransmitters such as serotonin, and dopamine are made in our gut... many of which manipulate our moods. I am in no way trivializing your depression, just wanting to shed light on a beautiful aspect we can control. Wishing you the best.

Mariangel Corazón de Quequito Feb 19, 2018 4:05pm

Beautiful ♥️

Sarah C. Beasley Jan 14, 2018 4:18pm

He is onto wisdom, but lacks compassion. The statement "none of it matters anyway" directly contradicts Buddhist teachings of karma. If we are here to realize the emptiness of identity, we are also here to help others realize this, to act from compassion and be of benefit. I hope Jim comes to this next step, for his own sake, and because he could really benefit others if he goes beyond his sort of flippant and limited perspective.

Victoria Charters Jan 7, 2018 7:49pm

I resonate completely with your description of depression. Couldn't have said it any better. Thank you for being so clear

Beverly Powers Jan 7, 2018 2:40pm

I completely agree with your comment!

Stuart Haley Dec 16, 2017 2:53am

This is NOT the best description of depression, ever. It's nothing but a comment on his own self discovery than it is depression, and frankly, his journey of self discovery isn't even anything anyone but Jim Carrey needs or wants to have on their radar. The very idea that it takes a celebrity to come up with the best description of a medical condition is offensive. Jim Carrey has no idea what anyone else is feeling, and frankly neither does Callie Rushton. Stop reaching for low hanging fruit.

DBM Motion Graphics Dec 15, 2017 8:30am

Interesting to hear Jim's views. Purely on a stylistic note, I feel the video would have been far more engaging if it just showed him talking. The guy's got a great face! But more than that, the constant movie clips were distracting and simplistic (Jim talks about happiness, cut to one of his characters smiling etc.) A couple at the start, fair enough, but 5 minutes' worth was really off-putting. Of course, the interview may have been an audio only one and if that's the case I'll just shut up and go and do the work I should currently be doing intstead of adding to the amount of words clogging up the Internet.

Ertaç Demirçelik Dec 14, 2017 3:54pm

why do you put these shitty cresendo type pads under the speech. it is not increasing the effects of the words. besides, it is distracting..