The following is an inventory designed to enable you to evaluate your present level of depression as well as your level of self-esteem. The painful experiences of depression has a profound and devastating effect on your self-esteem and self-concept. If you have a few moments, please take some time out to find out how you stand in these areas. And remember, this is only an inventory – how you score may be due more to your mood today and what you had for dinner more than anything else. No paper and pencil test is that all knowing. We are merely providing this tool to allow you to evaluate where you may stand in your own feelings of yourself.
While some people seem to have been born with a melancholy temperament and have therefore attained the state of depression quite naturally – others have been awakened to bad feelings only after experiencing certain life events. Loss of a loved one, a prized possession, one’s health or job, for instance, will often result in depression and low self-esteem and how we feel about ourselves. Still others may need to study the following principles of thinking and behaving to reach their desired levels of lost self-esteem and despair.
Although the following suggestions will not necessarily result in a full blown “clinical” depression (that is, a depression observed in a counseling session or with a physician), they can be of great help to you if you have a desire to commit yourself to continue to make yourself feel bad. These principles are widely promulgated and are guaranteed to lower or destroy your self esteem in short order.
Circle the answers below that best describe your own thinking, feelings and behavior. And in order to get yourself undepressed it would be smart to do just the opposite of each of the items listed below. The more we do the opposite the better you are going to feel.
- Avoid vacations or other pleasurable activities plus staying away from things your apt to look forward to.
- Work should be approached in one of two ways: Work without ceasing or never work at all. Draw the shades and stay in bed.
- Seek not to find a sense of meaning or purpose in your life.
- Cultivate negative thinking.
- Indulge on a regular basis, in self-blame, guilt and remorse.
- Pity yourself. Do it convincingly and for sustained periods of time.
- Pity others in the same way.
- Hinge your happiness on the achievement of a major life goal and watch it turn to ashes in your mouth.
- Do not make effective use of leisure time by planning too many activities, none at all, are only those you consider a worthless waste of time.
- Practice ongoing self physical and emotional abuse and dehumanization techniques. Beat your self up with punishing shame and guilty mind talk.
- Attempt to do the impossible, striving always to meet expectations and standards you cannot possibly meet.
- Habitually subordinate your own needs and wants to the needs and wants of others.
- Always believe that yo must repay every good thing that happens to you because you are unequivocally unworthy.
- Visualize a supreme being who is meddling, controlling and heavy handed rather than one who is sustaining, guiding and encouraging.
- Never infringe upon understanding persons by asking them to sit and listen to your story.
- Avoid cultivating any sort of intellectual or creative potential you may have.
- Live vicariously through others, never attempt to create a life of your own.
- Refuse to accept any notion that there may be meaning and purpose in your life whether you see it or not.
- Squarely face the fact that in whatever pain and misery you may have experienced and or experiencing now, there is no purpose or meaning whatever.
- Take hold of the conviction that others opinions of you have far greater validity and significance than any opinions you may have of yourself.
- Believe it is more important to have someone else approve of you than any opinions you may have of yourself.
- Accpt and practice the widespread belief that the proper response to your failures, mistakes and hurtful behavior is self-condemnation, guilt and remorse.
- Remain convinced that you have something to prove to someone, whether you can identify that “someone” or not. Accept that there are things abut yourself which you will constantly need to explain or defend.
- Realize that it is selfish, egotistical and unacceptable to treat yourself kindly and lovingly.
- Accept as immutable truth that you are by nature a miserable and unclean wretch, deserving only condemnation, guilt and punishment.
- Refuse to see yourself as worthy and acceptable on the basis of your failures, mistake and shortcomings.
- Make it a practice to defer to others because of their education, wealth, power or position.
- Believe that you deserve and (accept with passivity) all insults, put downs, destructive criticism and other abuse from others.
- Accept the proposition that your personal worth and importance depend on what you have and what you achieve, rather what you are.
- Get comfortable with the belief that acting bad makes you a bad person.
- Try always to coerce others into making decisions for you in the vain hope of avoiding responsibilities for their consequences.
- Learn to identify with your actions, realizing that what you are is wholly determined by what you do,
- Adopt the popular belief that you could be better if you only tried harder.
- Embrace the maxim that you always have compete freedom of will and choice.
Explanation Of The Inventory
All the items contained in the inventory are very negative and that is the issue at stake here, namely when we are depressed we can’t find anything positive to say about ourselves, our future or our present life. But our attitudes have more to do than how we talk to ourselves. It has more with the way we have perceived ourselves in relation to the world outside ourselves. it also many times has much to do with the way we related in childhood to those adults who were responsible for our safety, love and nurturance.
Practice The Opposite
In order for you to gradually begin the process of un-depressing yourself it is best that you start right now – today. Whatever items on the inventory that you circled you can start chipping away at your negative lifestyle and do the opposite of the behaviors of those circled items. For example, if you circled item #21 you would want to start approving of yourself in small ways instead of always depending on others approval. This is the way to greater self-esteem and the way out of the prison of depression – namely, turning the negative behavior into something positive and life giving. If you have a sponsor it would do well for you to go through each of the list on the inventory and work to commit yourself to positive behaviors for the items selected. Good luck! And God speed!
Inventory by Bob P., © Depressed Anonymous Publications