The Not-So-Pleasant Experience of MMPI
In a far far republic, not that long ago, I’ve had the privilege of completing a “Minessota Multiphasic Personality Inventory” which was, on several levels, an unfortunate and unsettling experience. For those of you who have heard of MMPI but never had the opportunity to take one, the first thing you need to know is that it is utterly and painfully long. I can’t recall the exact number of items in the varsion I took (which was not English and full of grammatical errors in a distractive way) but it was well over 200, maybe more than 300. So if you or a loved one decide to complete the inventory “properly” in the future, prepare yourself to spare at least 2 hours or get ready to bear the judgmental glare of the examiner when your results turn out to be inconsistent due to the fact that you stopped fully reading the items after 150.
If you devote your attention to the items you have to rate, you will have a taste of what it means to have a psychiatric disorder. The items are not general/hypothetical questions but rather disturbing personal statements in the present tense. Naturally, after reading statements such as “I hate my whole family.” or “I am sad and there is nothing I can do about it.” You feel a slight tingle inside, telling you that something isn’t quite right. I’m sure you can’t imagine what it feels like once you get past item 100, and frankly there are more pleasant ways to employ your imagination. All I can tell you is that it doesn’t feel warm and fuzzy when the inventory items make you revisit every memory in which you felt sad, abandoned, lonely and hopeless.
In all fairness, this is a non-scientific and exaggerated description of the experience, but I am comfortable saying that it is not a relaxing endeavour. As I’ve described, the test itself is very long to be willingly completed by a mentally balanced person, let alone someone with a psychological/psychiatric disorder. The items are painfully honest and direct, to the extent that they induce a feeling of restlessness and discontent. Therefore the best thing to do after the inventory is to relax and distract yourself. Go see a movie, have your comfort food ready at hand and, for your own sake, avoid activities which make you question the meaning and value of your life.