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Is depression a natural reaction to an insane world?

Community Member

This is a thought I have been pondering for a while.

The default to view depression as "something wrong", or a "brain chemical imbalance" or as "a disease" or something that "needs to be fixed" or requires "medication" or "therapy" appears to be the most common response of practically everyone. 

From doctors, to psychiatrists, to therapists, to the general population, to the depressed individuals themselves... the universal belief appears to be that "the person needs to get help".

But what if... the living in depressed state is correct? What if it isn't an "imbalance" or isn't something "wrong"? What if being depressed is the only natural state to be in for an intelligent, empathetic, compassionate, informed, thinking individual to exist in the current state of our world?

What if to NOT be depressed about is the true indication of mental sickness?

I'm not saying that being depressed is fun in any way... most people on this forum would be well aware that it sucks. But that is not what I'm saying. 

What I mean is... could existing in a state of depression be completely natural for someone living in a place where so many things are obviously terrible... both on a personal level and in the world as a whole?

My reasons for this perspective are numerous. Far too many to write in only 2500 words. But basically...

The real world is an extremely depressing place for any person that cares at all about anything outside of themselves.

Eg. If you care about animals... the reality is many beautiful species are already lost forever, many others are so close to the verge of extinction that even if everyone worldwide decided to do everything they could to save them... they would still be lost. At home there are people that still buy people animals as christmas gifts, refuse to desex their pets, the massive amount of pets put down in pounds annually. There is backyard animal cruelty, the dog racing industry using live bait, shooting race horses with legs, women's hormonal treatments for menapause, the meat industry, birds choking on our plastic half a world away, overfishing. The list goes on and on.

It is reality and it is depressing. Care about animals and feeling "depressed" about it IS correct. And that is one tiny subject in a plethora of subjects.

3 billion people in starving poverty, the water wars, religious fanatics, corrupt governments, womens rights violations, slavery, wars, child rape, etc etc

It's the people that are not depressed that worry me.

253 Replies 253

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Hello Jack, it's good that you are feeling you can soldier on. Like I said above though, coping with the world doesn't require you to block out the bad bits. Are there particular things about the world as it is that upset you? Are there issues you are passionate about? What's the last thing you saw or read that made you think the world is such a terrible place?

Community Member

Unbeliever, I really appreciate your post, I share your concerns about the world we live in and I also find it very depressing. I think it's a bit like choosing the "blue pill" or the "red pill". You can choose to put on the rose coloured glasses (blue pill) and enjoy the blissful ignorance of illusion or take the red pill and suffer from the painful truth of reality.

Very interesting perspective about depression....and it reminds me of a quote

"Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes."

Thank you again and I think Anahata was spot on with her reply.

Community Member

Some interesting thoughts on here in response to my original post. I find it intriguing how different people interpreted what I wrote.

Some considered that I was saying "it is all hopeless and we may as well just collapse under the weight of it all". Some thought that I meant "Only to acknowledge the dark and to ignore the light". Some thought that I was viewing things only "in black and white".

While I never actually wrote any of those things and I was attempting to add an additional colour to a subject that has become normalised to only be viewed as a "black and white" issue.

I'll attempt to expand on my original point with the 2500 word limitation.

If I had to sum up this "humanised" world that we have created into one word, that word would have to be "Apathetic".

In fact I would go as far as to say that the main reason things in the world have gotten this bad is because of a severe lack of empathy for anything that doesn't directly effect most individuals tiny little worlds that they exist in.

And although some people who develop depression can also be apathetic to anything outside of themselves, a large percentage of depressed people are not guilty of being apathetic. In fact their problem is the exact opposite... too much empathy to the point that that it creates a deep sadness inside of them.

I do understand why it has become standard procedure for therapists etc to advise that people don't worry about "things they can't change" because they "are too big" and to focus just on themselves. I even understand why it is normalised to perscribe medications designed to interrupt a persons thought processes so it is impossible to focus on one thing for too long and forces them to pay attention on their own day to day lives.

Which is (if you already haven't realised) almost perfectly representative of what an "apathetic perspective" is...

So now back to my original point...

Imagine if there was a world where the majority of people were apathetic. Where apathy had become normalised. In this world small amounts of empathy could be acceptable, but too much empathy to the point of sadness was considered "a sickness" that needed to be fixed so that those people could join the "normal" apathetic majority. To become one of them.

Maybe, we are not the ones who are sick. Maybe a sick world has perceived us to be wrong because an empathetic majority would actually change things to the point that the world was no longer something to be depressed about.

You are spot on Unbeliever.......I get what you say and I agree with you 100%

I don't see my depression as an illness, I see it as a reaction to an apathetic, ego driven, anthropocentric, crazy world. Majority of the population is unconscious to this reality due to inherited thinking, brainwashing from the mainstream media etc.

I've been searching for coping strategies for a long time and tried many different ways of dealing with my struggles (meds, counselling, isolation from society, meditation, mindfulness, exercise, yoga, etc.). The best coping strategy I've found so far is limiting my exposure to mainstream media and interaction with society to the minimum. Also meditation and having companion animals help a great deal. Changing to a minimalist and vegan lifestyle also reduced the stress level in my life dramatically.

I'm not a Buddhist, but I see a lot of wisdom in the buddhist teachings. It is basically a guide for empathetic people on how to survive in an insane apathetic world....but this is just my opinion.

I think depression is a lot to do with how you perceive the world, it is a matter of perception...not a disease.

Hi Unbeliever

I read your post a while ago and I do understand where you are coming from. You bring up many valid points and mine would be how Australians keep allowing live sheep export..just 1 little example...it breaks my heart but its still out of my reach to do anything about so I have been active in dog rescue now for many years. Worrying about some of these awful things that are happening (and our own personal circumstances) can change our brain chemistry accordingly. (combined with the way we have been brought up too which is also a huge catalyst for a depressive illness)

I had my first crippling anxiety attack in 1983 and 'soldiered on' until 1995 thinking it wasnt an illness. I wasted 12 years of my life by doing living in denial. If I didnt accept that I had a depressive illness and took the meds required I would have been hospitalised without a doubt.

I do understand your thoughts and respect them. This is only my opinion through experience.

(Wonderful pic beingbyrne):-)

Kind thoughts


I read your post, and know where you are coming from, but I don't agree depression is a natural response to a horrible world. Otherwise everyone would suffer from it.

I look around and see so much beauty in the world. Animals, classical music, foreign countries, people helping people. There is so much beauty in the world.

It may not sound like it, but I suffer from depression too. I am on medication for a week now, and I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The world is a wonderful place, full of amazing people, sights, food, animals, scenery.

Sorry I meant to reply to unbeliever, not blondguy. I am new 🙂

Maybe I don't get this? Its OK by me if I don't.

But isn't everything natural? Isn't wars, pollution, murder, mental illness etc all natural?

As I said in an earlier reply if I am depressed over modern day stresses maybe 600 years ago I'd be depressed over starvation of my family or keeping warmth.

so upon this theory of mine that everything on earth is natural good and bad that leaves the individuals perceptions as the problem. The way we think can range from complete happiness zero depression (fairyland?) To self destruction.

This is doing my head in

But its been interesting.

Tony WK

Hi slimjim78

You and Tony WK are right. The world is a beautiful place.

Depression is an illness...a serious one. Fairyland is fine but still make believe


Community Member

It is both a blessing and a curse... to feel everything so very deeply.

Whether feeling is a disease is debatable... and even if it is if it can be medicated.