why i should stop taking online quizzes

I love online personality tests.  I don’t know what it is about them but I can’t get enough.  I want to be sorted, I guess, like at Hogwarts.  (I would totally be in Ravenclaw.)  I’ve done the sort-of-not-really scientific ones (I’m an INFP), the silly Facebook ones (if I were a Joss Whedon character I would be Giles), the Belief-O-Matic (it thinks I’m a Quaker) and just about everything in between.

So yesterday I was watching this fascinating documentary on Netflix and when they mentioned an online test that had been given to one of the documentary subjects of course I had to Google it.  It is called the VIA Survey of Character Strengths, and it tells you which 5 of 24 traits seem to be strongest for you.  Fun for people who like this sort of thing; probably pretty boring for people who don’t.*

Well, on the same web site are several other tests.  One of them is a depression screening; I don’t know what made me click on it.  It’s not like I need anyone to tell me I’m depressed, and I actually thought to myself that I’ve been doing well lately, keeping the worst of it away, moving through things….but I went ahead and did the test anyway.  My result:

If you scored over 24, you are in the severely depressed range.

If you scored in the severely depressed range, please seek treatment. If you believe that you would kill yourself if you had a chance, regardless of the rest of your answers, please see a mental health professional right away.

Wow.  I’m ashamed to admit that this has just sent me into a tailspin.  I mean, it’s just a stupid online test, right?  It’s quite a close cousin to the Rupert Giles result, or the one that told me my theme song should be “Strawberry Fields.”  No kind of statistical rigor, way too brief for any meaningful answers.  But it really shocked me.  I went back over my answers, retook it, got the same result.  Could it be that I have just redefined my baseline down so low that “severely depressed” is my new normal?

Or maybe, as I’ve so long suspected, there really is something deeply wrong with me.  Clearly I am not coping as well as I thought I was, because regardless of the accuracy-or-not of that test, it absolutely should not have triggered a day and a half of crying.

*My 5 strengths:  Fairness, equity, and justice; Love of learning; Appreciation of beauty and excellence; Forgiveness and mercy; Capacity to love and be loved.


8 responses to “why i should stop taking online quizzes

  1. I think crying for a day and a half because a test told you you were depressed speaks more to the baggage we carry with infertility. On days/weeks when we feel fine and in control of this situation I always wonder if I am just in denial or if I am really ok. And then if a little thing (could be even unrelated to if) sends me down I question my sanity. But then, I gather myself and keep walking. It’s a cycle we’re in and regardless of how you call it (depression or not), what still really matters is how you feel in the moment. So if you’re fine, enjoy it, when you cry, know that it will pass and the perspective will return.

  2. I’m a sucker for those quizzes too. I think I am just a validation junkie. I need to be told that I’m normal or better than normal because I don’t have the confidence to think it myself.
    I think Alenka gave some really good advice about what matters is how you feel in the moment. She worded it really well.

  3. I take all of those quizzes too. And there was a time that I came out as pretty depressed on them too. I’m really sorry that you’re going through this. I hope this passes soon.

  4. Argh. Bad luck. I put in a hard thought out comment over at Dead Cow Girls on Friday and saw it wasn’t there last night. I think it must be me? I am sorry. I know it made me really bummed she missed my note. Pls consider reposting? I love me some G&L.

    I don’t know what to say. I sort of fear I stuck my nose in yo business last few times we talked about it. I think I come off bossy when my intent was to let you know you are not alone.

  5. “It” being depression, not IVF. I tend to spew when I read someone is feeling depressed as I fancy myself a bit of a veteran.

    Yeah, I got a little riled up over that IVF post because it is so goddammit unfair.

  6. Look at those beautiful strengths! I mean, WOW, I want to know that person! I think it’s pretty natural to be wounded when you know you’re fighting so hard against depression. It’s like the test ignored all your hard work. I wish I could wrap you up in some warm cuddly support.

    I also wanted to say I appreciated the honesty of your IVF posts. Whatever you want is what’s right. And of course you need a plan! Plans are the only thing that keep me sane. I would just add, though, that if you have a very visceral reaction to IVF, it might be a sign that you need to think through it some more, perhaps with some professional support. Not so that you can come to a different decision, but so that you can know where that reaction is coming from. Though it sounds like you already do, so ignore me.

  7. Have you found a new therapist? That’s what I would recommend – not that you asked . But it’s something you can DO to take care of yourself and a place to unload your thoughts and emotions.

    I love to take the personality tests, but not so much the ones about which famous hooker I most resemble. I always hate the results of the personality tests cause I’m BORING things like traditional, careful, loyal, considerate, etc.

  8. It is shocking to me that everyone on this IF island is not severely depressed. I am. You are. This is hard hard hard – the kind of chronic trauma of bad news that shakes our soul hard.

    Again, not that you asked, but I am a huge fan of a really good therapist and medication.

    — I’m going to that that strengths test right now! —-

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