The following questions are to be answered with a Yes or No, in a time-relative context, approximately over the past 3-6 weeks:
- Have you lost interest or pleasure in doing things you usually enjoy? (Y / N)
- Have your sleeping habits changed? Do your sleep more or less than you used to? (Y / N)
- Do you feel tired or fatigued – like you don’t have the energy to perform even normal, everyday tasks? (Y / N)
- Has there been any unintentional weight loss or weight gain lately? (Y / N)
- Have other people pointed out that you seem listless or low? (Y / N)
- Has there been an unintentional, marked decrease or increase in your appetite? (Y / N)
- Do you have trouble remembering things or focusing on things (like reading a newspaper or watching TV)? (Y / N)
- Do you catch yourself talking out loud to yourself, of late? (Y / N)
- Do you get thoughts of hurting yourself physically or feeling that you’d be better off dead? (Y / N )
- Has there been a change in your pace – increased restlessness or moving/speaking more slowly? (Y / N)
- List 5 adjectives to describe yourself. Are three of more of these negative in nature? (Y / N)
- When you wake up in the mornings, do you feel like you want to go back to sleep or you just wish to stay under the covers? (Y / N)
- Has your decision-making ability taken a beating, of late? (Y / N).
- Do you find yourself avoiding people you were earlier comfortable with, and are growing a preference to be by yourself? (Y / N)
- Do you find it difficult to stop thinking about a particular thing or get overwhelmed by compulsive thoughts? (Y / N)
- Do you feel an overpowering sense of hopelessness, like there’s no way out of this sadness/situation? (Y / N)
- When by yourself, do you usually end up crying? (Y / N)
- Do you feel on edge and stressed out for the larger part of the day? Are you annoyed and irritable easily compared to earlier? (Y / N)
- Are your last thoughts before falling asleep usually sad or negative? (Y / N)
- Has there been a sudden increase in any habits that offer temporary, perceived relief – smoking, consumption of alcohol, sedatives like cough syrups/sleeping pills, overworking to escape facing painful realities, etc. (Y / N)
Results based on the number of ‘Yes’ answers
0-5: There is something bothering you and holds potential to further bring you down. Speak about it with a family member or a close friend and try to work things together. It could well be self-pity and you need to push yourself out of that quicksand, with the help of increased personal interactions with friends or taking up new activities/hobbies. Taking up any form of a physical sport works wonders.
6-10: It would be a good idea to seek professional counseling for a short period of time. All of us get lost sometimes and are unable to have the objectivity or energy to pull ourselves out of the dark. Reading inspirational / motivational books on self-help and opening up to someone close to accompany you for counseling helps. Try to reinstate your passion and your faith alongside the counseling. Music, hobbies, prayers and spending time with loved ones goes a long way in catalyzing the healing process.
11 and Over: You need professional help immediately. You owe yourself your healthy mental and physical wellbeing. Do not let fear, guilt, ego or stubbornness get the better of you. Depression is curable with consistent therapy with a professional counselor/psychologist. Medication is needed when you do not heed the signs early on. So if you fall under this category, do yourself a favor and get the help you need.