Depression is a terrible condition. In its worst form it is a chemically triggered condition that can only be treated by medication. The hormones get out of whack and no end of talking can get us out of the blues. Yet often depression is a product of our own thinking, and today we are told that such depression is on the increase. Even children are getting depressed. Where only 1% of children would ever face bouts of depression, now it is something like 10%. Such depression has nothing to do with hormones.
Depression, related to the way we think, is most often a product of unrealistic expectations mixed with an inability to deal with failure.
Unrealistic expectations are the product of a materialist society. Economic rationalism feeds on consumerism. Even children's cartoons are designed around the marketing of toys. The media convinces us that we can possess everything, but in the end, all we possess is debt. Young couples oppressed by an impossible mortgage soon fall into despair, a despair that often destroys their marriage. Even the marriage itself is shaped by a Hollywood image of ever-expanding passion - an unrealistic expectation bound for failure and inevitable despair.
Then there is our increasing inability to deal with failure. Whereas I grew up on the story of the little red engine that struggled through failure, "I think I can, I think I can.... I know I can, I know I can", today's self-actualized children, protected from competition, are quite unable to face the inevitable failures of life. Everyone gets the prize, everyone's "I" is protected from the harsh realities of the world, no child must be scolded for their foolishness. Their "I" must be affirmed. Yet failure is inevitable. This is a tarnished world where nothing works perfectly. The self-actualized "I" is bound for failure and inevitable despair.
There is no easy answer to a messed up mind, but in truth a genuine Christian faith can carry us through the troubles of life. The Bible gives us realistic expectations, and the knowledge of God's 100% acceptance of our failures. A Christian faith reminds us of the limitations of this world and of the unlimited love of God.