Guided Practice
Personal Assessment

“I’m depressed.” Everyone says and feels that from time to time. And, in fact, depression has become much more common, but a true case of clinical depression is nothing at all like having “the blues.” People with depression feel sad, lethargic, and depressed day after day, week after week, month after month. Most people with depression describe themselves as feeling hopeless. They lack energy and experience little or no pleasure, even from engaging activities that used to bring them joy. It becomes hard to fulfill day-to-day responsibilities. In fact, some people with depression find themselves unable to get out of bed or leave home.

Who Suffers Depression?

Depression affects one in 10 Americans at some point in their lives. It’s a problem that is growing alarmingly common – most particularly during the economic recession experienced here in America since 2008. Depression is most prevalent in the middle years (ages 45 – 64), but is becoming more prevalent among elderly people as well.

Depression is more common in women than in men. Ten percent of women experience postpartum depression after the birth of a child. Also, women are more likely to experience the classic symptoms of depression, including sadness, crying, and hopelessness. In men with depression, uncontrollable anger, aggressive behavior, and anxiety are common symptoms.

Depression Can Take Many Forms

Depression symptoms can vary, but common ones include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Inability to make decisions
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthless, and guilt
  • Sadness and despair
  • Irritability and anger
  • Loss of interest in activities that previously brought pleasure
  • Loneliness, disinterest in social connections
  • Persistent or chronic aches and pains, including headache, joint pain, GI distress, and more
  • Disrupted eating patterns – overeating or undereating
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Thoughts of suicide

Finding the Being Within

Within each of us lies a core that is pure and whole. It’s easier for us to see children as more pure and whole than ourselves. Often we look in the mirror or think about our lives and see only flaws and mistakes, imperfections, and disappointments. We forget that deep down, we are whole, we are worthy, and we are pure.

To access this part of your inner self, challenge yourself to a visual exercise. First, find an early childhood or baby picture of yourself. This may involve calling a relative or searching through old photo albums. If there are no available pictures of you, find a picture of a baby that reminds you of yourself in some way. This may seem like unnecessary work, but it’s important and helpful. Visual images reach a different part of your brain than typed words. Photos have the power to impact your thoughts on a deep level.

Once you’ve located a photo, take out your journal. Open to a clean page and tape the photo to the center of it. The baby in this picture is innocent. He or she has not yet been tainted, not yet been taught to believe in his or her own defectiveness or worthlessness.

Tell yourself that this baby reflects the spirit in you. Say these words out loud:

I am pure. I am whole. I am worthy.
I am pure. I am whole. I am worthy.
I am pure. I am whole. I am worthy.

The brain is a powerful tool. You can use your brain to change your sad, negative thoughts and
to truly accept yourself. You deserve to be loved for exactly who you are today.

Repeat the mantra above every day for a week. Tape it to your mirror. Write it on a sticky note and place it on your computer. Tattoo it to your wrist if that helps! Use whatever method feels right until you believe it.

You are pure. You are whole. You are worthy!

Instructions: The questions below ask about feelings in detail and especially how often you have been bothered by these symptoms during the past 7 days. Please respond to each item below. (This screening assessment is applicable to individuals 18 and older).

In the past SEVEN (7) DAYS.…

Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always
I felt worthless.
I felt that I had nothing to look forward to.
I felt helpless.
I felt sad.
I felt like a failure.
I felt depressed.
I felt unhappy.
I felt hopeless.