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 a person with black-dog out of the blues. Yet, sometimes depression is a product of our own thinking, and today we are told that depression prompted by poor cognitive thinking is on the increase. Even children are getting depressed. Where only 1% of children would ever face bouts of depression in the past, now it is something like 10%. Such depression has nothing to do with hormones.

Depression, related to the way we think, is usually a product of two factors, and they are unrealistic expectations, and an inability to deal with failure:

Unrealistic expectations are the product of a materialist society where 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 inevitable despair.

There is no easy answer to a messed up mind, but divine grace can help us through the troubles of life. When it comes to God's unbounded mercy and kindness there is a total acceptance of failure and there are no unrealistic expectations; as Jesus put it, "my yoke is easy and my burden is light."


[Pumpkin Cottage]