When & how to take a depression self test

July 29, 2016

(Warning: Before, I tell you about this particular story, I should let you know that depression is a serious thing. So, do what is best for you and don’t simply rely on me. And I’ve been managing this issue for 16yrs with professional and self help, so if I make light of depression, it’s because I’ve been around the block a few times. I’ve tamed that wild tiger pretty well. He even sits and stands on command now.)

I haven’t been depressed for many months now.
This is a great thing. And a new experience.

I would venture to say I will never experience depression like I used to.
It’s a thing of the past.

There may be highs and lows, but the crippling depression I experienced, those days are behind me. (fingers, toes, & eyes crossed. knocking on wood. throwing salt over my shoulders)

I’ve attacked it using the four prong method.
Physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
I do everything that is humanly possible to make sure my mental health is on point. The most recent improvement is a focus on gut health, which plays a huge role on depression.

The Slippery Mind
But every once in a while, when I find myself alone at night, when the mind wanders, I wonder if I’m secretly depressed.

This can be made worse if someone else hints that you are depressed. Then I start panicking that maybe I’m depressed, everyone else notices, and I’m blind to it. Don’t tell me this has never happened to you either!

The other night, I felt like a few people hinted that I’m depressed. They didn’t say it outright but I felt like they wanted to say it. And it was that right moment at night when I started panicking.

It’s like when you’re on psychedelic mushrooms, and start thinking you’re crazy, which makes it that much worse. Whatever you focus on expands. Especially negativity.

Take a self test
Luckily, I have a fail safe method for these types of moments, which I will share with you.

All you gotta do is take a depression self inventory test. These are questionnaires that you can quickly fill out and get to a score.

The cool thing about this method is that no matter how depressed, it soothes me. It helps to see something concrete, rather than the mind going wild with its theories.

This is similar to in The Rosie Project, the main character suspects he may be depressed and takes the self test just to make sure.

So now, I’ll take the test as needed, and post the score on my phone calendar. This gives me a reference point.

The punchline of the story is that I was feeling so disoriented, I took the self test. Got a score of 27/100, which put me at the low end of moderate depression. Not bad at all! I was worried it’d be 55 or much higher, putting me at severe.

And I know I’m not even that depressed because there are some fatigue questions on there, most of which I scored high due to the adrenal fatigue/chronic fatigue syndrome issues.

As a baseline comparison, I read somewhere that most Americans would rank as having mild depression, scoring 11-25.

Once you know the score, you can take action as needed.
Whether that’s taking a cold shower, a fir sauna, bright lights, eft, 5htp, fish oil, writing out CBT techniques, drinking coffee if it’s during the day, making sure blood sugar isn’t low, or booking an appointment with a doctor or therapist the next day. Whatever is part of your maintenance plan.

I didn’t need to do anything because I knew I wasn’t depressed, no matter what others may assume.

Depression Self Tests
There are many self tests on the internet.
I want to point you to the most commonly used ones.

Beck Depression Inventory
Created by the Aaron Beck, father of cognitive behavior therapy, this is one of the most commonly used depression self tests.

Burns Depression Checklist
Created by David Burns, a disciple of Aaron Beck and the author of the #1 recommended depression self help book Feeling Good.

Both are very similar and I use the Burns test.

They’re both copyrighted, so I can’t copy and paste em here.
But you can find it in their books or I’ll link to some pdfs on the net.

I highly recommend this self help practice in managing your depression.
It makes a huge difference.

(And remember, just because you score high doesn’t necessary mean you’re super depressed either. Don’t panic.)

Resources:
Burns Depression Checklist – pdf. 25 questions
Beck Depression Inventory – pdf. 21 questions
Goldberg Depression Test – can be taken online, as another option. 18 questions