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Are You Depressed?

Written by Guest Author, Mark Dehe
Edited by Cindy Little

A person's mood can often be determined through a variety of means. If they are happy, they have a pronounced spring in their step and their face has a certain 'glow' about it. On the other hand, if that person is depressed, their shoulders sag, their feet drag; in general, they just do not stand as tall as they would, were they happy or just feeling normal.

The same impressions can be determined by listening to a person's voice. How many times have you received a sales call and the salesperson was clearly bored with their job or reading the conversation from a script, and you knew this because you could
just 'hear it' in their voice? Or, when speaking to a co-worker or enemy, have you noticed how you can hear subtle, nervous, starts and stops when confronting them with incriminating evidence of their conduct?

The same can be ascertained from a person's handwriting. Sometimes, when they're happy, it's obvious, sometimes it's a little more discreet. Equally obvious are signs of the opposite trait - depression. In this article, I'll show you briefly how to spot optimism in a person's handwriting, how to watch for signs of depression, and I'll explain why determining depression can be extremely important.

Optimism is the ability to see the best in all situations. If bad things happen to an optimistic
person, he or she knows it could have been a lot worse. No matter how good or bad today is, they know that tomorrow will be better. Additionally, an optimistic person is physiologically healthier than a person who chooses not to be optimistic.

Optimism is revealed in a person's handwriting two separate ways. The first is displayed in the crossbar of the letter 't'. If the crossbar travels in an upward position from left to right, meaning it ends higher than where it started, then optimism is present. This is the more common occurrence.

The second is displayed in the overall appearance of the handwriting itself. If the overall handwriting goes in an upward slant, again, optimism is present. There is no benefit to using one optimistic trait or the other. Writing with an upward slanted baseline
does not make you more optimistic than just expressing this through the letter 't'.

An important point to keep in mind, is that if the person does not possess the optimistic trait, it doesn't automatically mean that that person is depressed, nor does it mean that he or she is not optimistic. This simply means that the person that does possess this trait is generally more optimistic than those without it, as it is a core part of who they are.

On the flip side of the coin, just as optimism is always considered positive, depression is always considered a negative trait. There are various forms of depression that are represented in a variety of ways. For the sake and space of this article, however, I'll devote my attention to the sole task of identifying depression itself.

When locating depression in a person's handwriting, it is important to ask, "Is this person clinically depressed or simply going through a temporary case of the blues?" - something everybody goes through from time to time. Answering that question
demands that you look at the overall handwriting, and base this characteristic on all the other traits present in the writing.

Depression, generally speaking, is a temporary emotion. When the situation that is causing the depression has passed, the person's handwriting should revert to normal (or at least normal for that person.) Long term depression that has worked its way into a person's subconscious and has now become the norm for that person, is more permanent
and is more noticeable.

The overall look of the handwriting is slanted at a downward angle. It may begin normally, resting on top of the line, but, as the words make their way across the page they go little by little below the line. If written on unlined paper, the overall look will still be the same. If you were to hold a ruler across the page, the end of each or most of the sentences
would be below where you started.

Again, there are a wide variety of choices in the depression arena. For example, it is possible for each word to start normally but end slightly lower than it began, with the next word starting in the normal 'starting' position and ending lower, only to continue the trend throughout the text. Some handwriting samples may have an overall concave appearance or convex appearance. Again, each has a different meaning.

One application for the determination of depression is to assist in criminal investigations, specifically suicides. In determining whether a suicide should be categorized as such, an investigation of the crime scene must take place. If a suicide note is found, its authenticity must be determined. If it is, indeed, determined to be authentic by a certified document examiner, then another question comes into play. If the victim did indeed write the note,
was he so depressed as to actually commit suicide, or was he forced to write it against his will?

There are major differences in the characteristics concerning fear and depression. A scared person will have heavy handwriting, very probably with a shaking hand. A depressed person will have the depressed traits mentioned above, along with fatigue, among other things.

When I mention fatigue, I'm referring to mental fatigue rather than physical fatigue. And in that respect, fatigue is almost identical to depression, in that the writing has a definite downward slant to it that is noticedably evident throughout the writing.

Another way fatigue is reflected is through the unintelligibility of the writing. In other words,
many of the words are not formed correctly - as though the writer's hand was tired and lifting
the writing instrument was too much trouble.

Have you ever tried writing something after being out in the freezing cold for a while? If you have, you know that it's difficult to formulate the letters like you want them to appear, until after your hand thaws.

The trick about this, however, is that fatigue should be compared to earlier handwriting to ensure that it is actually fatigue.

If, for example, I were to see a person's handwriting and I couldn't make out a lot of the characters, I wouldn't necessarily think he was fatigued, unless I also saw a depressed downward slant in his handwriting. Based on the confirmation of other traits, I would probably just think he was a slow thinker, or a person who was hiding who he really is by disguising his words.

However, if I were to see a handwriting sample from six months earlier and it did not have fatigue or depression, I would be able to more accurately assess the newer sample as fatigue.

There is also a form of physical/mental fatigue in elderly people, which is reflected in the omission of certain details such as periods. Per "Handwriting Analysis - The Complete Basic Book," this represents the writer's ever-growing fear of endings.

Personally, I've never seen this, or if I have, I did not attribute it to fatigue, but I have read it so I suppose it's something to keep in mind.

Again, it's important to look at the entire handwriting sample to get an overall idea of the person's general mood and personality make-up at the time the sample was written.

Mark R. Dehe is a Certified Handwriting Analyst
and can be reached via e-mail or phone at:
The Write Choice - Handwriting Research Center

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