Depression Self-Screening Test

18 Jan 2013

What does depression feel like?

It was not really alarming at first, since the change was subtle, but I did notice that my surroundings took on a different tone at certain times: the shadows of nightfall seemed more somber, my mornings were less buoyant, walks in the woods became less zestful, and there was a moment during my working hours in the late afternoon when a kind of panic and anxiety overtook me…” – William Styron, Darkness Visible

Sometimes the Depression Self-Screening Test is just too clinical, and the symptoms don’t really “click” with you. Some of the criteria are general, and if you’re suffering from depression, specifics are easier to understand. I know that I might not have diagnosed myself with depression just on the basis of those symptoms. I had no change in appetite, and no sleep problems (waking up was what was difficult). Below are some un-clinical symptoms.

  • Things just seem “off” or “wrong.”

  • You don’t feel hopeful or happy about anything in your life.

  • You’re crying a lot, either at nothing, or something that normally would be insignificant.

  • You feel like you’re moving (and thinking) in slow motion.

  • Getting up in the morning requires a lot of effort.

  • Carrying on a normal conversation is a struggle. You can’t seem to express yourself.

  • You’re having trouble making simple decisions.

  • Your friends and family really irritate you.

  • You’re not sure if you still love your spouse/significant other.

  • Smiling feels stiff and awkward. It’s like your smiling muscles are frozen.

  • It seems like there’s a glass wall between you and the rest of the world.

  • You’re forgetful, and it’s very difficult to concentrate on anything.

  • You’re anxious and worried a lot.

  • Everything seems hopeless.

  • You feel like you can’t do anything right.

  • You have recurring thoughts of death and/or suicidal impulses. Suicide seems like a welcome relief.

  • You have a feeling of impending doom – you think something bad is going to happen, although you may not be sure what.

  • In your perception of the world around you, it’s always cloudy. Even on sunny days, it seems cloudy and gray.

  • You feel as though you’re drowning or suffocating.

  • You’re agitated, jumpy and and anxious much of the time.

  • Your senses seem dulled; food tastes bland and uninteresting, music doesn’t seem to affect you, you don’t bother smelling flowers anymore.

  • Incessantly and uncontrollably into your mind comes the memory of every failure, every bad or uncomfortable experience, interview or date, like a torrent of negativity.

Note: I wrote this a few years ago, and it has made its way around the Net uncredited. If you want to reproduce it in any way, please look at the terms of the Creative Commons license at the bottom of the page.

Gregor said:

I’ve reached the conclusion that my depression is a mild case so I can’t even begin to imagine what most of you are going through. I’ve got a great job, but lately, I’ve found it hard to enjoy it. I just go through the motions and can’t give it everything I have. I’m always looking at the darker side of things. It’s like a haze is hanging around me, preventing me from seeing truth. I keep feeling that my future is bleak and the easiest thing would be to end it all. That thought keeps wandering through my mind. I know that I’m in a great position in life. One that many people would kill to get. But at the same time, I just feel sorry for myself that I can’t enjoy it. I always thought life would be a better place to live, but for the last few years it doesn’t seem that way.

Posted by Gregorat May 17, 2004 06:57 AM

Self-Screening for Depression

“I am the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be a cheerful face on earth. Whether I shall ever be better I cannot tell; I awfully forbode I shall not. To remain as I am is impossible. I must die or be better.”

Abraham Lincoln

If five or more of the following symptoms have been present in either you or someone you know for more than two weeks, please talk to your doctor about the possibility of depression being present. Keep in mind that these symptoms could indicate a medical condition other than depression.

Depression Symptoms

  • Feelings of sadness and/or irritability

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities normally enjoyed

  • Changes in weight or appetite

  • Changes in sleeping pattern

  • Feelings of guilt, hopelessness, or worthlessness

  • Inability to concentrate, remember things, or make decisions

  • Constant fatigue or loss of energy

  • Observable restlessness or decreased activity

  • Recurrent thoughts of suicide or death

In addition, look for at least three of the following symptoms, which could indicate the manic phase of manic-depression:

  • Inflated ego, envisioning of grand schemes

  • Increased energy and decreased need for sleep

  • Inappropriate excitement or irritability

  • Increased talking and/or moving

  • Sexual promiscuity

  • Disconnected and racing thoughts

  • Impulsive behavior and poor judgment


For a more detailed screening, look at the Goldberg Mania Inventory.

Other self-screening tests are at:

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