Some Christians suffer from depression. George Eldon Ladd is a classic case:
Depression has different causes. In some cases, like Ladd’s, it goes back to an unhappy childhood. There’s no substitute for a happy childhood. Ray Bradbury is a good example. Despite living through the Great Depression (father unemployed for 10 years), he was a happy kid. He illustrates how irreplaceable a happy childhood is. That was the key to his upbeat attitude. His happy childhood was like pushing a ball in a vacuum. One nudge and it just kept on rolling, like a frictionless surface.
By contrast, Ladd had the kind of father who instilled in him a deep, lifelong sense of inadequacy. Ladd never outgrew his insecurities. And he had poor coping skills. To some extent he became what he hated. Tragic.
What makes depression hard to take is that, if you have it, you can’t get away from it. It’s you. You live in your mind–24/7. You can’t escape yourself. You can’t take time out from yourself. You can’t take a vacation from yourself. For better or worse, you are you all the time. Relentlessly yourself.
People can tell you encouraging things, but they are helpless. At the end of the day, you’re stuck with yourself.
Both believers and unbelievers can be depressed. But there’s a difference. Christians have hope. It doesn’t ultimately come down to you. And even if there are things you can’t get over in this life, there’s emotional healing in the afterlife. God will put us back together–better than ever.