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Life of the Mind Interrupted: Essays on Mental Health and Disability in Higher Education

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Academia isn’t an easy place to be if your brain isn’t quite right. Colleagues carelessly call each other “schizo” and “bipolar.” Another colleague is fired—easy enough to do these days, when most college teachers no longer have tenure—for “instability.” In these ways and many more, psychiatrically disabled people working in higher education are reminded every day that the Academia isn’t an easy place to be if your brain isn’t quite right. Colleagues carelessly call each other “schizo” and “bipolar.” Another colleague is fired—easy enough to do these days, when most college teachers no longer have tenure—for “instability.” In these ways and many more, psychiatrically disabled people working in higher education are reminded every day that their privilege, their very livelihoods, can be stripped away by the groundless suspicions of others. Their lives can be, in an instant, interrupted. The essays in this book cover topics such as disclosure of disabilities, accommodations and accessibility, how to be a good abled friend to a disabled person, the trigger warnings debate, and more. Written for a popular audience, for those with disabilities and for those who want to learn more about living a disabled life, Life of the Mind Interrupted aims to make higher education, and the rest of our society, more humane. Katie Rose Guest Pryal is one of the foremost writers of disability and higher education we have today. —Catherine J. Prendergast, Ph.D., Professor of Disability Studies


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Academia isn’t an easy place to be if your brain isn’t quite right. Colleagues carelessly call each other “schizo” and “bipolar.” Another colleague is fired—easy enough to do these days, when most college teachers no longer have tenure—for “instability.” In these ways and many more, psychiatrically disabled people working in higher education are reminded every day that the Academia isn’t an easy place to be if your brain isn’t quite right. Colleagues carelessly call each other “schizo” and “bipolar.” Another colleague is fired—easy enough to do these days, when most college teachers no longer have tenure—for “instability.” In these ways and many more, psychiatrically disabled people working in higher education are reminded every day that their privilege, their very livelihoods, can be stripped away by the groundless suspicions of others. Their lives can be, in an instant, interrupted. The essays in this book cover topics such as disclosure of disabilities, accommodations and accessibility, how to be a good abled friend to a disabled person, the trigger warnings debate, and more. Written for a popular audience, for those with disabilities and for those who want to learn more about living a disabled life, Life of the Mind Interrupted aims to make higher education, and the rest of our society, more humane. Katie Rose Guest Pryal is one of the foremost writers of disability and higher education we have today. —Catherine J. Prendergast, Ph.D., Professor of Disability Studies

30 review for Life of the Mind Interrupted: Essays on Mental Health and Disability in Higher Education

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tato

    This book tackles such an important issue that we, as a society, often fail to understand. Talking openly about their disabilities can be difficult for many people, and the author captures the many physical and mental challenges that certain disabilities can pose. I liked the book, but I did not like the writing. There were a lot of typos and mistakes, and I was slightly disappointed to find out the book was composed of chapters preciously published online on Chronicle of Higher Ed, Women in Hig This book tackles such an important issue that we, as a society, often fail to understand. Talking openly about their disabilities can be difficult for many people, and the author captures the many physical and mental challenges that certain disabilities can pose. I liked the book, but I did not like the writing. There were a lot of typos and mistakes, and I was slightly disappointed to find out the book was composed of chapters preciously published online on Chronicle of Higher Ed, Women in Higher Ed and other journals.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    This is a quick read of a book - a series of excellent essays on mental health and disability in higher ed. If I had one complaint it's that I could have read so many more of these essays - I wished the book were longer! But the essays that are included are rich with detail, careful thought, and clear lines of what is just and unjust. I saw myself in many of the things Pryal writes about, and my students in others, and overall I loved the vision of a better higher ed. system that's at the heart This is a quick read of a book - a series of excellent essays on mental health and disability in higher ed. If I had one complaint it's that I could have read so many more of these essays - I wished the book were longer! But the essays that are included are rich with detail, careful thought, and clear lines of what is just and unjust. I saw myself in many of the things Pryal writes about, and my students in others, and overall I loved the vision of a better higher ed. system that's at the heart of the book. Very thought-provoking.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Karrie Higgins

    Covering everything from the tenuous, terrifying tightrope walk of adjuncting-while-disabled to practical advice for classroom accessibility, Dr. Pryal not only dismantles academic ableism; she makes the case for how accessibility benefits everyone. An essential resource for anyone in academia or anyone interested in mental health, disability, and accessibility. I will be recommending it widely.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Wow. The subtitle might be "Essays on Mental Health and Disability in Higher Education," but the implications and knowledge reach far beyond higher ed. If you work with ANY HUMANS, there is something in this book for you. The chapters at the end on parenting sealed this for me as one of the best I've read this year. Wow. The subtitle might be "Essays on Mental Health and Disability in Higher Education," but the implications and knowledge reach far beyond higher ed. If you work with ANY HUMANS, there is something in this book for you. The chapters at the end on parenting sealed this for me as one of the best I've read this year.

  5. 5 out of 5

    BookTrib.com

    The opening of Life of the Mind Interrupted: Essays on Mental Health and Disability in Higher Education (Raven Books) says, “This is a book about mental illness and academia. But this is also a book about so much more than that: it’s about grief and friendship, and collegiality, and accessibility, and tragedy.” Never has an opening line encapsulated a book so perfectly. Katie Rose Pryal’s book was eye-opening. She has included a handy guide to vocabulary and as someone who is “normate,” many of t The opening of Life of the Mind Interrupted: Essays on Mental Health and Disability in Higher Education (Raven Books) says, “This is a book about mental illness and academia. But this is also a book about so much more than that: it’s about grief and friendship, and collegiality, and accessibility, and tragedy.” Never has an opening line encapsulated a book so perfectly. Katie Rose Pryal’s book was eye-opening. She has included a handy guide to vocabulary and as someone who is “normate,” many of the experiences detailed in Pryal’s essays were not anything I’d ever experienced firsthand. The words in Pryal’s collection will echo in my memory for a long time. Particularly, the essay on “ostriching” and talking around other people’s pain, or pretending it doesn’t exist. Pryal’s words about speaking plainly in the face of tragedy hit home. In the face of tragedy, people don’t know what to say, so they often choose to say nothing. That ‘nothing’ is isolating and lonely and makes the person suffering feel invisible. Pryal writes with refreshing and raw honesty. She gently reminds us that a truly compassionate and caring society does not come about by simply clearing the lowest legal bar set in both academia and industry. That disabled persons, particularly those with invisible disabilities such as mental illnesses, need more than the lip service so often delivered in an attempt to be “inclusive.” That real inclusivity is listening, understanding, and sometimes feels uncomfortable or difficult. Pryal encourages all of us to rethink our views on mental health, stereotypes, and what accessibility truly means. The essays enclosed in this book expose prejudice and lack of awareness regarding mental health and disability. She draws on her own experience, extensive reading and studies on mental health, and essays written by others to illustrate her points. The rest of the review: https://booktrib.com/2019/03/tall-pop...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Life of the Mind Interrupted is a great resource for anyone -- and not just professors -- who wants to know and learn more about disability in higher education -- or really, anywhere. Pryal's collection of essays, originally published in popular outlets like Chronicle Vitae and Dame Magazine, is an excellent guide to the ways in which we can rethink our language, positions, and policies regarding disabled persons, particularly those with invisible and / or psychiatric disabilities, in profession Life of the Mind Interrupted is a great resource for anyone -- and not just professors -- who wants to know and learn more about disability in higher education -- or really, anywhere. Pryal's collection of essays, originally published in popular outlets like Chronicle Vitae and Dame Magazine, is an excellent guide to the ways in which we can rethink our language, positions, and policies regarding disabled persons, particularly those with invisible and / or psychiatric disabilities, in professional spaces. Drawing on her own experiences, interviews, and research, Pryal reorients discussions of accommodations toward accessibility and encourages a critical reassessment of thoughts, language, and actions that harm disabled students and professionals. Above all, Pryal's collection reminds us that to act compassionately does not equal "making space" for disabled persons or merely reaching legal levels of compliance. It means truly listening to -- and believing -- our disabled students and colleagues, creating spaces in our classrooms and at our conferences accessible to many, and challenging stigma and prejudice that make disclosure (especially for those with invisible and psychiatric disabilities) difficult and painful.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kate Rock

    Review to follow

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Whetzel

    This book brings up good questions, concerns and ideas. The author is very honest in this boook.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Unterbrink

    I would have liked to have seen a little more transition from chapter to chapter. Content was good though

  10. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    There aren't enough books about mental disability and higher education from the faculty perspective, chiefly because the faculty are too terrified to write them. And the ones that are out there (Elyn Saks and Kay Redfield Jamison) document supportive colleagues and institutions. But that's not the norm. Life of the Mind Interrupted gives a more realistic, pragmatic, and judicious view of "life of the mind" when one's mind is viewed as "broken." There aren't enough books about mental disability and higher education from the faculty perspective, chiefly because the faculty are too terrified to write them. And the ones that are out there (Elyn Saks and Kay Redfield Jamison) document supportive colleagues and institutions. But that's not the norm. Life of the Mind Interrupted gives a more realistic, pragmatic, and judicious view of "life of the mind" when one's mind is viewed as "broken."

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rhea

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

  13. 4 out of 5

    RK

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mera Liccione

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marnie Ward

  17. 4 out of 5

    Moonyprof

  18. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Woodruff

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shir

  20. 5 out of 5

    Darin

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carol

  22. 4 out of 5

    Penelope Rice

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Burman

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mary Broussard

  25. 4 out of 5

    DelleNoel

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sage Feltus

  27. 4 out of 5

    Blue Crow Publishing

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Grisius hartje

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jessie

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