The Lighter Side of PMR - Are You 'Normal'? Do this Self Assessment to find out ;-)

Greetings to all PMR survivors and friends here.

After reading your many posts and queries about the confusing myriad of physical and emotional effects of PMR, and also those of the Steroids that manage the symptoms, I have devised the enclosed simple, user-friendly Questionnaire to help you to identify your Personal Score on the ‘MB Normal to Bonkers’ scale - with some suggestions about how to interpret your personal score in your own context.

Disclaimer (as usual): this Self-Assessment tool has absolutely no scientific or empirical basis to support its methodology and results, nor is it designed to give you any reliable indication whatsoever about the true state of your physical or mental health. If you want a feeling of certainty, don’t attempt it. If you want a bit of fun, get stuck-in with an open Heart and Mind. There is no time limit - and no right / wrong answers.


For each Section, score yourself from 1 to 5 (low to high) for each statement in terms of your personal experiences and symptoms with PMR / Steroids. Try to be honest with yourself and not answer the statements in terms of how you would like to be, or to be perceived by others. If unsure about how to score yourself, just close your eyes and think of the first number that comes to mind (it’s probably as reliable as any other method). Better still, make a cup of tea and watch the telly instead?

If you're daft enough to have read this far, here goes:

SECTION 1.Physical Symptoms..

a.I am ok really - just a bit of wear and tear.

b.I feel like I’ve been hit by an express train.

c.I feel like I’ve been hit by a train and then pushed from the top of a skyscraper.

d.Only by shouting a series of obscene expletives can I explain exactly how I feel.

e.Any volunteers for a Full Body transplant?

SECTION 2.Emotional Symptoms..

a.I experience a full and normal range of emotions - anything outside of that is just about my unique personality.

b.I often feel muchly frazzelode, jangleful and sadly.

c.I am too kna***red to feel anything except sorry for myself.

d.I am not moody or depressed - it’s everyone else.


SECTION 3.Relationships (Doctors / Health Professionals)..

a.I love and trust my Doctor / Rheumy, and send them Christmas cards.

b.They’re ok but use a lot of big words like 'tapering' that I can’t understand.

c.We are a health education partnership - the trouble is, I have to educate THEM.

d.My Doctor is about as useful as a dog with a bicycle.

e.I am planning to assassinate my Doctor and bury him / her in the back garden.

SECTION 4. Relationships (Personal / Family / Work)..

a.My family / friends / colleagues are understanding and supportive.

b.I'm finding that they leave me alone more than usual.

c.WHAT family and friends..?!

d.I only have one ‘special’ friend - and that’s OUR secret...

e.I have an overwhelming urge to axe-murder ANYONE who crosses me.

SECTION 5.Practical Challenges..

a.I function normally, considering what a Special Person I am.

b.'Surfing' on a supermarket trolley is an exciting and fun means of personal mobility.

c.Cleaning the house was never my forte. Dust is only God’s Dandruff after all.

d.Trying to open my car door on a hill is as good-a-way as any to get 20 minutes of aerobic exercise.

e.Ok, so I’m not a practical person. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

SECTION 6. Cognitive Challenges..

a.My cognitive abilities are 100%, considering who I am.

b.I occasionally forget things like taking my tablets and, er, some other things (

I'll come back to you later on this).

c.I regularly forget who I am - let alone WHY I am.

d.The Brain Frog has got me - there’s no hope.

e.I AM a FROG! A big, beautiful frog with a sparkly Tiara and x-ray vision. Yay!

SECTION 7. Coping Strategies..

a.I cope perfectly well without assistance from others, thank you.

b.There’s nothing wrong with an afternoon 'nap' - especially in the mornings.

c.Transcendental Meditation classes are good, AND you get to wear nice sandals.

d.Pacing works - it’s a good way to get across the road faster.


(End of Questionnaire)

Congratulations, you have completed your questionnaire! Here are some guidelines on how to interpret your scores:

Higher scores (4+) for ‘a’ statements suggest that either you don’t have PMR, are very fortunate to have escaped the symptoms of it / the steroids, or are in complete denial about the effects of both. That said, a state of denial can sometimes be useful in life (it works for me..).

Higher scores for ‘b’ and ‘c’ statements indicate that you are in a normal range of Human experience with PMR and on steroids (any surprise?). The only question is: what is ‘Normal’ for you in the first place? You might want to consult with others about this...

Higher scores for ‘d’ (and especially ‘e’) statements again indicate that you are experiencing a relatively normal reaction to PMR and the Steroids - if a little more intensely than some. Either that, or you have overdone it on the alcohol, been smoking something ‘exotic’, lost your marbles completely or are messing around with some other mood-altering substance as well as the preds (so I’m told by a friend..).

IMPORTANT NOTE! If you have high ‘e’ scores in Sections 3 & 4, it is not recommended to enact these fantasies since axe-murdering people is a notoriously time-consuming and messy business, and assassinating people will get you into big trouble with Interpol. Be warned, I know about these things.. ;-/

The Conclusion?

So, dear PMR friends, do you score as 'Normal', 'Slightly Bonkers', or the 'Full Monty'? And, does it really matter in the big scheme of things? All I can say is that, if you have found yourself giggling your way through this nonsense, my money’s on you being pretty ‘Normal’.

Ironically, even I am struggling to work out my own scores, but my Doctor is very supportive in the process. She should be - I pay her well. Her name is Samantha, and I hear that she’s very good at 'scoring' too. Just ask 'Janet and John' - well, maybe John.. ;-)

Happy Days, wishing you a peaceful Easter Holiday - and keep smiling wherever you are in the world.

MB :-)

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67 Replies

  • Pleased to say I have never been anything like Normal! Have I won a prize?... let me guess it's a Tiara, no .. is it a new carriage and horses, a new pink frilly sparkly dress ( guess who's been watching Frozen with granddaughter), no....a humungous dark chocolate Easter Egg then, no.

    Oh, a holiday in the cell next to yours in that nice hospital that has bars on the window --- are they chocolate bars???....mmm!!!

    Just as an aside.. whatever side that is, ..can someone (obviously not you) please explain what normal is - maybe one of my children, or grandchiildren are ....... oh bloomin' heck I do hope not! Means I haven't flung 'em up proper!

    Merry Chrimbo to all! Don't forget the Hot X Buns!!

  • Yep DL, I'll recommend you for the MB 'Bonkers of the Year' awards.

    Must go, a couple of blokes in white coats are knocking at the door... what, me..?

    Stitched up like kipper, I'll be bound ;-)

    Happy Jewish New Year, Oi Vay :-D

  • Oh goodie! I've always wanted to trip the light fantastic along a red carpet! So long as there's some bubbly at the end of it daaarling! 🥂

    As it gets a bit chilly in the evening, don't think I could go backless with a side split up to my nether regions! Oh, those all-night Summer and Christmas Balls with a handsome soldier at the Sergeants Mess in the 70s and 80s have a lot to answer for! 💃💃 As for the 4inch stilettos, as the Kirsty MacColl song goes - "Not in these shoes". 👠👠

    Sure nobody will notice if I wear my cashmere cardie and Wallace and Gromit slippers - Victoria Beckham et al eat your heart out.

    Tra-laa- time to take my tablets I fear!

  • You tell 'em DL. No comment about the 'Christmas Balls' though...! ;-) :-D

  • Oh how I love the Bonkers Brigade. I was feeling in the 'not so normal' range and now ..... I still am but I don't care a fig! Thank you MB and DL.

  • That's the spirit Jan :-)

  • Wrote a really witty reply but pressed the wrong button and lost it. Hey ho think I will just be a normal frog and go jump in the pond. Must remember to ditch the spoons though before I sink to the bottom - or is that because of the tinsel and tiara?

    Thanks Mark. Happy Easter

  • Ha Pat - Brain Frog or what?!

    You too, have a nice one

    MB :-)

  • Hi MB, I have always considered myself to be a bit of a loon and having read your questionnaire I am pleased to find that I still am. Very enjoyable bit of nonsense, made me belly laugh loads. Keep on smilin' folks. Just seen a chocolate bunny dash across the room, oh no! the dogs have got it, drat. Easterly greetings one and all.

  • Hi Meggie, thanks, and all part of the service :-)

  • All answers were either c's or e's - so I'm assuming I'm round about the slightly bonkers measure...

  • Well, PMRpro! I feel privileged that you, especially, have joined in with this nonsense - haven't you got better things to do?!

    Just goes to show - anyone who falls for such overtly cranky psychology is probably already well-down the MBBIS (MB Bonkers Indicator Scale)! ;-) :-D

    Bless - Happy Days :-)

  • I have read every single post on this forum since I joined it. Even yours ;-)

    It is a sorry state when you are totally unable to laugh about a situation - though I do have to be careful in some company or I get into trouble.

  • Wow PMRpro, I'm honoured! ;-). Know what you mean about humour though, I try to be incredibly careful here especially as humour is very personal thing...

  • The primary problem for me is the gallows humour that most people in the NHS develop sooner or later. By no means everyone "gets" it.

  • That also applies in the Armed Forces! Think it's something to do with coping mechanisms that those directly, and indirectly as families, learn very quickly. And no, a lot of "civvies" (no slight intended) are definitely not on the same wavelength.

    That's my excuse anyway, and I'm sticking to it!

  • We're obviously on the same wavelength though...

  • Yep! Double trouble!!

  • I'm scared, very scared! (hiding behind sofa, clutching teddy..) ;-)

  • Thought that's what you usually did on a Thursday night! 🐻

  • Ha! Only when you two are giving me grief! (more cowering and pathetic simpering..) ;-)

  • Grief!! You ain't seen nuffink mate!

    Still if it keeps you off the booze, can't be all bad.

  • Too late DL - quietly 'enjoying' a glass of Claret on a Thursday ev, and looking forward to the 'eggster weekend! :-)

  • I remember reading somewhere about the 'dark' humour that's often shared by surgeons in operating theatres too (and to the consternation of nurses / bystanders). A coping strategy under stress, maybe..?

  • To the consternation of non-healthcare staff perhaps. Nurses are as bad as surgeons...

  • Oh, that's worrying. Reminds of another story I read about Doctors / nurses often de-personalising and referring to patients by their diagnosis / condition as opposed to them by name: e.g. "the MI in bed 4, DNR in bed 5", etc.

    That said, I'm sure some of the more caring doctors and nurses would have an alternative take on this...

  • It is often sheer practicalities - and really, the non-caring people are very much in the minority.

    But if you haven't been on that side of the fence it is very difficult to understand what they cope with. They face death on a daily basis and a degree of depersonalisation is essential if they aren't to go mad.You can't lay it at the door as you leave unless you do. And you can't take it home - PTSD is a big enough problem anyway.

  • Makes sense, and also more 'efficient' for internal comms? Objective thinking and Emotional empathy can be adversaries sometimes, but let's not go there or we'll be here all night!

    I agree, most health professionals have a tough job and lots of conflicting pressures - from Performance Management systems especially (in the UK at least). Targets, targets, targets, never mind Quality.

    So many professionals in these fields (frontline defence, critical healthcare, the emergency services, social services etc) end-up with PTSD and / or just leave because they can't cope with the conflicting demands any more.

    It makes my life feel quite simple and un-complicated! :-)

  • Read your title and knew I didn't even need to do the survey! "Normal" what's that! You brighten up our days. Have a great Easter!

    Jackie x

  • Oh, that's a bad sign Jackie! Yes, that was / is the point - what IS 'Normal'? I've been trying to work it out for years :-/

    You too, keep smiling :-) x

  • Proper



    Happy Easter to you all! 🐥🐥🐥🐥

  • And you too JJackdaw :-)

  • Normal is umm. . Normal is umm. .. nope, what was the question. ...:) was there a question. Now don't panic Chrissy. People still like you I'm sure. Just need to get these chocolate bunnies off my lawn. .. :)

  • Classic symptoms of 'Bonkers' Chrissy, keep it up! :-D

  • Woke up this morning and read this Mark, Thankyou, a smile is a great way to start the day!!!

    Sue xx

  • All part of the service Sue, many thanks :-) x

  • This was hilarious! And I am officially bonkers.

  • Thanks kellykel ;-) Yep, and no complicated / expensive diagnosis to prove it! ;-)

  • Well now it's official, I'm completely off the bonkers scale...thanks Mark!!!

    Have a great day everyone.

  • Congrats Jane, wear the badge with pride! ;-)

  • The scary thing is I can relate to all the answers!I'm obviously bonkers too,phew that's a relief.I was thinking I was normal🙄

  • Good, Sandra. I suggest you avoid 'Normal' at all costs (with the exception of your health maybe). That said, how about the psychological classification of 'Normally Bonkers' to keep everyone happy here?

    I notice no-one's classified themselves as the Full Monty though... yet... ;-)

    MB :-D

  • I am feeling as 'normal' as I ever want to be - which is with all you above 'bonkers brigade' - after all WHO would 'aspire' to normality (aka mediocrity) anyway ? Thanks to DL though as now I can't stop thinking about windows with chocolate grilles - especially difficult as I have suddenly realised I DO miss carbs (sigh) !!!

    Happy Easter or whatever celebration of life you wish to Mark and all :)

  • Hi,

    Go on treat yourself to a chocolate grille! Just going out to buy some chocolate fingers to make my own!

  • Totally agree Rimmy, life's too short to conform to most things. As for 'Normality'? I've never been much good at it anyway - too much of a vivid imagination!

    Happy Easter to you too :-)

  • Mark

    I have often wondered how bonkers I am, however after reading that and completing the test I now that I am completely sane!

    However Mark, I think your talents are wasted in your normal job. Please provide further posts on a regular basis.

    Oh by the way, I looked up the word sane in an internet dictionary. It said " for sane read bonkers"

    Happy days :-)

  • That's good to know Pete, two sides of the same coin maybe (bonkers / sane)?

    As for the writing, see my reply to karools16 (below). Not so many grins in the management (xxxinsultingxxx) consulting world nowadays, too much Performance Management by data and spreadsheets.

    Have a good one, take it easy with the car polishing ;-)

    MB :-)

  • Yes I agree with karools16, a good ideas seldom go unnoticed. Looking forward to the cunning plan :-)

    Merc returning today, polish at the ready, should be able to polish some of it! maybe the badge :-) :-)

    Oh and PMRpro told me how to type a smiley face (you youngsters know how to do everything) :-) Looks as if you could join PMRpro on the book stuff! :-)

  • Thanks Pete, work in progress..

    Re. car washing / polishing, from experience I recommend Autoglym Bodywork Shampoo Conditioner and Super Resin polish (from Halfords). Avoid the cheaper 'wash&wax' products - they're about as much use as spreading margarine over the paintwork and wash off after 10 minutes.

    Or.. I could pop round and do it for you? Car valeting is one of my favourite hobbies (sad, or what.?).

    Happy polishing..!

    MB :-)

  • We have a car and camper that both desperately need valeting... ;-)

  • Form an orderly queue please.. :-D

  • Be careful it looks as if you could be invited by more than you expect, I'm sure that I am the closest though. :-) You can bring your own polish, sounds good stuff. :-)

  • Very sad! Says she who's just cleaned out the water feature and got the pump going again after a winter's rest! But at least I don't do it every week!

    On the valeting point - sorry Mark I've got a younger model!

  • MB, I have always thought myself eccentric, and proud of it. Your questionnaire endorses it, and am so glad. One day, when PMRpro, Dorset Lady, HeronNS, and a host of other sages, write a book on PMR/GCA, you could do the funny side of it...maybe with some illustrations? Maybe THAT WAY will get through to the Medics, and our families and friends!!!!!!!!! You sure have an imaginative brain. Don't let it go to waste!!

  • Many thanks karools16, I blame you lot for encouraging me ;-). As for the book... as TV's Blackadder's Captain Baldrick would say: "I have a cunning plan..". :-)

  • PMRPro already has co-authored the book that the NE of England charity sells.

    As if I didn't write enough here and bore you to death ...

  • Oops! NOBODY'S BORED TO DEATH. A ppreciative of the knowledge you impart.

  • Far from it...

  • ~Where are all your replies - nothing on my screen.

    Easter blessings to you MB I just love your style, its screamingly funny and oh so true.

    :) :) :) :) :) ~

  • Thanks Megams :-). I have this problem too. If the replies don't appear, try left-clicking your mouse and then right-clicking 'refresh' in the pop up menu. It works for me.

    Happy Easter to you too :-)

  • :-)

  • see myself in all of the answers. ,just depends on time of day!

    Good to start day with a smile and a sense of belonging!


  • Thanks Mark for the means to prove what I already knew! Bonkers! Nothing like normal whatever that is! Always a joy to read your posts. Am off to butter up the hot cross nuns, happy eggster xxx

  • No wonder they are cross if you're putting butter on them!

  • Thanks S4ndy, you too :-)

  • Oh yes, muchly frazzelode and jangly really sums it up and brings a smile rather than a sadly! Haven't got any further with the quiz yet but suspect slightly bonkers already! Happy Day to all ... :)

  • Good SMuppet, you have to be slightly bonkers to even take the quiz - as many here will confirm ;-)

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