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I, A Clinically Depressed Person, Took Google's New Depression Quiz

Dr. Google is in.

Posted on

Hi, my name is Morgan, and I have been diagnosed by multiple psychiatrists as clinically depressed.

Instagram: @morganshanahanahan

(I've also, at various times, been diagnosed with cyclothymia, bipolar disorder, basic generalized anxiety, and the firework that started it all, Postpartum OCD. So let's take labels with a grain of salt, shall we?)

The good news? I've been in intensive treatment and am feeling better than I have in years.

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OK, no sarcasm. The test was released in conjunction with the National Alliance on Mental Illness. It is nine questions long (known as "Patient Health Questionnaire-9" or PHQ-9) and will tell you what level of depressed you are at the end.

The test itself is not new, nor the first of it's kind. Not long after my daughter was born, I was evaluated using the widely accepted screening test Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. I've also filled out lengthy (like, TL;DR lengthy) questionnaires asking similar questions every time I've sought a second (or third or fourth) opinion from any psychiatrist.

Ready to get really intimate? Here are my answers.

Morgan Shanahan

It's HARD to enjoy even the most joyful moments when you're depressed. I laugh when my puppy steps on his ears, or my daughter wears my shoes, but I'm frequently distracted by the irrational anxieties that plague me.

(Kind of like how my low phone battery is plaguing you right now, isn't it?)

Morgan Shanahan

For me, a dip in my mood quickly turns to overanalyzing – whether it be about career, friends, or family, and can easily convince me I'm a shit weasel social pariah.

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Morgan Shanahan

I have certainly had this symptom but am thrilled to say my elocution is returning. My words still get scrambled sometimes and I often catch myself in tangents, but I'm becoming much more aware of myself.

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But I'm feeling so much better, so why am I still clinically depressed, per Google?

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Depression is complicated. I feel stable, even happy as I go about my day, but the dark moments come at night, or in the car, or when I overhear a conversation I'm not a part of and start to involuntarily fill in the blanks with the worst-case scenario possible. I answered honestly taking those moments into consideration. The work doesn't stop when the medication kicks in.

My totally unqualified verdict? I think it's awesome that Google is raising awareness of depression symptoms in this way. I think each person who takes this test, depressed or not, will come through with a deeper understanding of what depression can look like.

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As with many things, I worry it could arm people with just enough information to be dangerous. As I've learned through a decade of experience, mental health is very personal and ever-changing. A nine-question test isn't going to help you heal any more than a teen magazine quiz will. So take it, by all means, if you feel depressed PLEASE take it. And then immediately discuss the results with a physician or community resource that can help you devise a treatment plan.

Nine questions on a search engine aren't going to cure you, but they can be the first step to recovery if you reach out for help as a result.

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As for letting the largest search engine and data collector in the world track your mental wellness? Well, I can't even begin to unpack that right now.

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LITERALLY CAN'T.

If you need help immediately, dial 911 or go directly to a hospital. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, available 24 hours a day, every day, at 800-273-8255

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