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.