I mentioned our use of MMSE (Mini-Mental State Examinations) to provide a rough guide to cognitive levels – and I’ll emphasise the ‘rough’ part of that as really they can only be considered in conjunction with other tests and assessments of daily functioning.
One part of the MMSE we use asks the respondent to ‘write a sentence’. This can be any sentence, often the first thing to come to mind. Some of these sentences can provide interesting insights in their own right.
I have had a few ‘I love you’s. A few ‘I love (insert random object/thing/person)’ – I love flowers, I love Bob (where Bob is name of spouse).
A lot of ‘The cat sat on the mat’. ‘It is sunny today’, ‘I am tired’. ‘There is nothing wrong with my memory’. The kinds of things you can well imagine.
Sometimes you get an imperative like ‘Go away!’. ‘Leave me alone’ occasionally with a choice swear word thrown in.
One of my favourite sentences remains
‘XX (insert name of local authority I work for) social workers are harassing me’.
To be fair, she hadn’t been wrong. It was one of those ‘is it too risky to go home’ situations that had led to lots of hand-wringing assessments of risk..
But at least she got her point across in no uncertain terms and so it remains, safe and filed – a true snapshot of her feelings and ability to express them.
Sometimes the sentences are banal and sometimes poignant. Sometimes you get a glimpse into a different part of someone. I wonder what it is that might make someone able to write what they feel they can’t say.
Most times though, it is genuinely the very first thing that comes to mind.
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