In the novel Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, the narrator, Melinda Sordino, experiences several forms of depression as well as, quite possibly, dissociation. After Melinda experiences an immensely traumatic event wherein she is raped, she begins to withdraw from her friends and loved ones, many of whom do not attempt to seek understanding from Melinda. As she becomes more depressed and withdrawn, Melinda isolates herself and becomes more and more nonverbal. When experiencing extreme depression, people can often find verbal communication and maintaining relationships to be incredibly overwhelming and, at times, impossible.
The shame and self-blame that Melinda demonstrates is often experienced by people who experience depression and many other forms of mental illnesses or crises. Rather than be able to reach out to her friends like she may have been able to for a physically-rooted illness, Melinda isolates herself from the shame she experiences and her perception of depression as weakness.
Melinda also copes with being raped by cutting herself, which is a common way of responding to an acutely and stigmatized traumatic event. However, societal responses to self-harm tend to cause further shame and guilt on the part of the person who is coping. Other physical signs of Melinda's depression include her diet change and sleep pattern change.