the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Very Vague Dispatch from L.A. – #3

I found this actual “Depression Test” online.    Here are my answers, and the result.

Q: Do you feel sad or irritable?  Yes.

Q: Have you lost interest in activities once enjoyed?  Yes.

Q: Have you experienced changes in weight or appetite?  No.

Q: Have you experienced changes in sleeping pattern?  No.

Q: Do you have feelings of guilt?  Yes.

Q: Are you unable to concentrate, remember things, or make decisions?  No.

Q: Have you experienced fatigue or loss of energy?  Yes.

Q: Have you experienced restlessness or decreased activity noticed by others?  Yes.

Q: Do you feel hopeless, or worthless?  No.

Q: Have you had thoughts of suicide or death?  No.  (who would write Citizen of the Month?  Some hack?)

You answered 5 items out of 10 “Yes”.   According to The National Mental Health Association, there is a 50% chance that you may be suffering from clinical depression and a 50% chance that you are not suffering from clinical depression.    Hopefully, this test has helped you clarify your concerns.

Yes, thank you!   I was having a few concerns about being depressed today, especially after this little incident while shopping with Sophia, where I started to hyperventilate and feel trapped while searching for “Euro-size” pillow shams in Bed, Bath, and Beyond, as if the linens themselves were masked men in 300 thread count bandanas surrounding me, hovering and ominous, the danger imminent.   And then I got very sleepy.   So, I went back home to take this depression test.   It is good to know that I am only 50% depressed, although the last two questions seem a bit extreme.    Hopeless?  Worthless?  Suicide?   As bad as things get, I can always look at online photos of women in their underwear.    How hopeless can you be when you have that?


  1. Marinka

    There should be a tie-breaker question. Although the very idea of Russian-sized pillows makes everything better for me, personally.

  2. Yvonne

    Arggh, sorry to hear that Neil. I sympathise, last week was a nasty one for me. The tiredness is overwhelming sometimes.

  3. Los Angelista

    A 50/50 split? That’s as good as worthless! You need definitive info. And shouldn’t the questions be weighed differently? Like if you answered the suicide question yes but said no, you haven’t experienced fatigue or loss of energy, you’d STILL be 50/50! AAGH!

  4. SciFi Dad

    Victoria’s Secret: curbing suicide numbers since 1977.

  5. Lucy

    Oh Puddin’. Now I don’t know you, and I really shouldn’t be using a term of endearment with a man I haven’t met, but it felt like an “Oh Puddin'” moment.

    When I am 50% depressed, I go to Alki beach for a palm reading. Such hilarious horseshit! I can be in Seattle by the end of the day. Can you get there? I’ll pop for the palm reading.

    When I am more than 50% depressed, I am too weary to get to Alki. That’s when I start to fantasize about futon sex with Matt Taibbi. It never fails to right my world. You must have a Matt Taibbi equivalent. One of your mommy bloggers, perhaps?

  6. better safe than sorry

    300 thread count, no wonder you’re depressed, it should be 800 thread count, now that’s luxury!

  7. TheQueen

    Those questions should be weighted. When I was depressed I answered No for everything but guilt. That was understandable given that I was personally responsible for the war in Bosnia.

  8. natalie

    well i’m glad they cleared that up for you! half depressed is better than all the way depressed i guess. i’d go for the palm reading. that sounds like something that could lift your spirits. i know it would crack me up!

  9. sizzles

    Thank goodness for on line underwear ads!

  10. Twenty Four At Heart

    Sounds like you’re absolutely normal with a 50% depression rate. Something would really be wrong with you if you DIDN’T say yes to some of that shit!

  11. headbang8

    “As bad as things get, I can always look at online photos of women in their underwear. How hopeless can you be when you have that?”

    About 90% or so, in my case.

  12. headbang8

    By the way, Neil. If you’re online already, why on earth are you stopping at women with underwear on? You might as well go the whole enchilada.

  13. brettdl

    Never take those surveys during the winter.

  14. Diane Mandy

    I come back from vacation and find you like this? I’d offer to send you European-sized bedding to avoid the dreaded Bed Bath and Beyond if I thought it would help. I’m debating whether to offer the underwear photos. 😉

    But somehow, I don’t think either would pull you out of the slump you are feeling and I am so sorry for it. I’ve been relationship woes, separation, and divorce. It’s not easy. I feel for you.

  15. Fear and Parenting in Las Vegas

    Don’t feel too bad Neil. I’m at 90% so you’ll have to catch up to me.

  16. AnnieH(the other Annie)

    Don’t mean to quibble over semantics, Neilochka, but the results show a 50% CHANCE that you are clinically depressed. When I looked at the questions thought it was a questionaire for “Do You Have Children?” or “Do You Work the Night Shift?”
    PS. Everybody feels depressed in Bed, Bath, and Beyond–it’s the creepy muzac they play. You gotta move through that place fast and get the hell out.

  17. 3boys1mommy

    You’re such a drama queen Neil!

  18. patois

    Half full or half empty? Hmmmmm.

  19. Kerri Anne

    I like Very Vague Dispatches from L.A.

    I’m still holding out for a depression test that ends with “You just need a hug. Here, we’ve hired someone to give you one.”

  20. Momo Fali

    Well, I suppose that depends on what the women look like and the size of their underwear. As a woman, the better looking the model and the smaller her size, the more hopeless I feel.

  21. teahouseblossom

    Going into Bed Bath and Beyond is a traumatic experience! No wonder you were 50% depressed.

  22. leah

    i get that reaction very often in public places, followed up with severe exhaustion.

    the way it’s been explained to me, is the anxiety turns the cortisol switch to try and help out the panic and then it just all goes to fuck town from there, leaving me physically and emotionally weak. (it’s like an operating system without the proper hardware and bandwidth to compensate for all the programs running, including all of the programs running in the background. humans are a lot like computers i think.

    as well for me, it’s a sensitivity issue, in that i “pick up” everyone’s energy without wanting to, it just happens. now that i know what “it” is, i am able to prepare and process it better.

  23. followthatdog

    If you get too close to being truly depressed, I’ll send you my copy of Nigella’s latest cookbook. Maybe that can help a bit.

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