Tomorrow, Thursday Oct 8th, is National Depression Screening Day. I took my test early to avoid the rush. Even though I take antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs and attend a support group, I screened positive for moderate depression and severe anxiety. The good thing is that I am unemployed, single and I live in Alaska so I can blame some symptoms on my circumstances.
I used to think these tests were bullshit. Once, before the internet, when I was teaching at an alternative school, I took a break on the playground to call a depression hotline. It was not a suicide hotline, just for depression. I had no health insurance at the time. The lady said I did not have depression. I had never been diagnosed with depression so I was just really pissed off and frustrated but figured it must be something else. Later I found out I have a common combination of anxiety and depression. It took a psychiatrist and some alarming symptoms to get me to try medication. Like most people I would rather not have to take meds but I had exhausted the other options – already exercising an hour or two a day, journalling, counseling, SAD light, mindfulness, 12 step and things just kept getting worse. At least now I know that half the know it all negativity in my brain is bullshit! ( There apparently is a National Bullshit Awareness Day for those of you who are interested.)
I took a bipolar test today as well and it was surprisingly accurate, just like my psychiatrist is. It said I needed 7 symptoms in one category, (shades of DSM) and that I needed to have have gotten into trouble for some of these symptoms. I only had 6 symptoms and have never gotten in trouble because of them. Most of these symptoms, like having a lot of energy, not wanting to sit still, talking too much or too fast, according to my shrink, are attributable to my anxiety so that made sense.
Why take such depressing tests? Because I can see that sometimes I am doing better than other times. I can get perspective. I often take silly facebook quizzes like “What kind of dog are you?” or “What Doctor Who Character are you?” so why not a mental health screening?
Maybe you would like to try some of these alone or with a friend. It is not normal to worry about things all the time. It is not normal to blame oneself for everything or to blame other people. Most of the time it’s just life. I am renewing my perspective so that I can see worry as a sign for self care rather than a reason to run away or confront something that should be best left alone.
Here is a link for the simple mental health screenings I took:
So what if you come out positive? It’s just information. Did you know that depression can be a side effect of other diseases as well? It may help to discuss these results with a health provider.
Now if you want to have fun with a friend or with your best friend, ( hopefully yourself), here are some other quizzes I love
I am a Corgi!
This one is fun because it uses the way-back-machine. I got:
I got ice cream! I will probably have to take another quiz to find out what flavor.
Just trying to balance the humor with the angst! Let me know how it goes!