Our experience of freedom has been masked and concealed to only reveal what our "masters" allow us to consider. Then we take it personally when we do not perform according to our now internalized limitations. Has me banging my head against the wall sometimes. It's like a paradox in which I resign myself to getting out of my own way in order to actually approach myself.
An interesting documentary about that was made by a guy named Adam Curtis called "The Trap". It has three parts, with each one around an hour a piece but I would say it's worth a watch. Basically, it suggests in the first two parts that people have had limited conceptions of each other as simply "rational" beings, (which I would go so far as to say is hilariously misguided) that was caused in part due to game theory as an academic/economic discipline. I'm probably botching the synopsis, but the third part goes on to say that there is a split between "positive" and "negative" liberty. Positive liberty is the right to do things and "live up to your full potential" garbage while negative liberty is the freedom to NOT be restrained or constrained by the government. It goes on to suggest that positive liberty HAS to be suppressed because it inevitably leads to a revolution. I don't like his conclusion, because he says that it DOESN'T have to lead to revolution. I don't see why it shouldn't lead to a revolution, because "f**k the system!" and all dat jazz.
What I said in my other post, however, may very well negate any kind of depression "epidemic". Depression is just as subjective a phenomena as is self esteem, based on how a person says he or she feels most or all of the time. It's easy to see everyone on Facebook having a bias towards posting positive things that they don't hear about how sh*tty the rest of the other users' lives are.
Yea, I totally enjoyed that doc. even though it still suffered from the kind of thinking it was trying to overcome.
W.r.t. "epidemic" - I agree, self-esteem is not a good metric for a whole shit-ton of reasons. At the root of it, the problem is not a measure of esteem. The problem is how easily we are distracted from the understanding of ourselves existing prior to a definition of freedom that is either positive or negative (re. above). A question of esteem is also only the result of having lost self-respect. All signals of a systemic problem.