When we choose a name for something, that matters. Because when you name it, you label it — and sometimes, it labels you.
That’s certainly the case with the term mild cognitive impairment. I’ve been thinking about it lately, and I’ve been wondering, what if we didn’t call it “mild” cognitive impairment?
I find myself bristling lately at using the term “mild” when I write about this cognitive condition you’re dealing with.
That’s what I want to talk to you about today, and I’d really like your opinion on it.
Hi, I’m Tony Dearing of GoCogno.com, the site for people with MCI, and author of the book, “I Want My Mind Back.”
The reason I bring this up is because I find myself bristling lately at using the term “mild” when I write about this cognitive condition that you are dealing with.
I tend to drop the word “mild” and just talk about cognitive impairment. And there are a lot of reasons for that.
First of all, mild cognitive impairment is not mild. It is not remotely mild. It is a hard, frustrating, maddening thing to deal with.
The word “mild” also sends the wrong message to the world. When you have MCI, you quickly find that people can be incredibly dismissive about what you’re dealing with. They have no idea how difficult this is for you, and they say thoughtless, hurtful things.
Now the term mild cognitive impairment has been around for like 40 or 50 years. It should never have been called that in the first place, but it’s a clinical term and we’re stuck with it .
However, we do get to choose how we talk about it, and I don’t see that the term “mild” adds anything to the conversation. More and more, I find myself avoiding the use of it.
If you’re trying to explain to someone what you have, do you use the term mild cognitive impairment?
Now that’s my opinion, but the only thing that matters is the opinion of the people who actually have it. So how about you? How do you talk about MCI?
If you’re trying to explain to someone what you have, do you use the term mild cognitive impairment? Or do you say something like, “I sometimes have problems with memory,” or “Sometimes I don’t remember things”?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on that. You can leave a comment below, or send an email to me at email@example.com.
I hope to hear from you, and I hope to see you again next week. Until then, as always, be kind to your mind.