The ‘A’ Word


In this piece, Keris Myrick critiques the usage of the word “anosognosia” and reflects on its power to harm the people it is directed at.

“The ‘a’ word is our scarlet letter it is our brand that we didn’t ask for – that we don’t want.

People say it means you have no insight no understanding but in fact you may have the most insight and most understanding of all. Perhaps what they mean is you don’t have the insight  on the thing they want you to have insight about.

The ‘a’ word is powerful but it shouldn’t have that much power – it’s too powerful – once used, it cannot be undone, erased or forgotten.

The power of the word divides us.

The power of the word stops us from talking, being curious, connecting and maybe even loving.”


  1. It’s also a word that shouldn’t apply without clear and unmistakable evidence of brain damage.

    Prior to “anosognosia” they had “denial” as a “defense mechanism”, however, replacing this thing seen as a maneuver with another “illness”, thus making the condition being “treated” “co-morbid” with another, and thus more “severe”, is much, much worse, especially when there is no grounds for it, and it is based entirely upon prejudice.

    Report comment

  2. I read an article by a shrink about how the internet is causing an “outbreak of agnosognosia.” He had to do quite a bit of rhetorical tap dancing, since the psychiatric premise is all “mental illnesses” are honest-to-gosh brain disorders that must be shocked and/or drugged out of existence. And that would include the A word.

    His premise was agnosognosia, like all Mi’s must be genetic. But the internet must be responsible for triggering this naughty gene with all its paranoid conspiracy theories.

    A more applicable term for agnosognosia is dissident. But that really sounds more political than medical so it won’t do.

    What a mistake it was for them to let us learn to read and write! Maybe they could invent a new “medicine” that would cause blindness. Not as an inconvenient side effect but the primary benefit to be achieved.

    Report comment