Articles describing older persons’ experiences of coping with severe depression are, to our knowledge, lacking. This article is methodologically grounded in phenomenological hermeneutics, inspired by Paul Ricoeur, and applies a descriptive design with in-depth interviews for producing the data. We included 18 older persons, 13 women and 5 men, with a mean age of 77.9 years, depressed to a severe or moderate degree, 1–2 weeks after admission to a hospital for treatment of depression. We found the metaphor “being in a vice” to capture the essence of meaning from the participants’ stories, and can be understood as being stuck in an immensely painful existence entirely dominated by depression in late life. This is the first article where coping in older men and women experiencing the most severe phase of depression is explored.
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