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

  • 4h 42m
  • Katie Rose Guest Pyral
  • Blackstone Audio, Inc. dba Blackstone Publishing
  • 2022

Early in her career, Katie Pryal learned that being a professor isn’t easy if your brain isn’t quite right.

“I was a junior in college when I finally realized that I was different in a way that my medically inclined parents would call ‘clinical.’”

In these deeply personal, fiery essays, Pryal tells her story of transformation that began the moment she chose to publicly disclose her own mental illness and leave her career in higher education to begin fighting for a better world for people with psychiatric disabilities. The stories she tells are universal: the fear of stigma, the fight for accommodations, and the raw reality of living with mental illness in a world that pushes mental health to the margins.

People carelessly call each other “schizo” and “bipolar.” A colleague is fired for “instability.” Pryal learned that, as a psychiatrically disabled person working in higher education, her very livelihood could be stripped away by the groundless suspicions of others.

But the problem persists beyond academia.

With candor and grace, these essays discuss the disclosure of disabilities, accommodations and accessibility, how to be a good abled friend to a disabled person, the trigger warnings debate, and more. While harrowing at times, Pryal’s story is ultimately one of hope. With this memoir, she aims to make higher education—and all of our society—more humane.

About the Author

Katie Rose Guest Pryal, J.D., Ph.D., is the bestselling author of Life of the Mind Interrupted: Essays on Mental Health and Disability in Higher Education, The Freelance Academic: Transform Your Creative Life and Career, and Even If You're Broken: Essays on Sexual Assault and #MeToo. She's also the author of novels including Entanglement, Chasing Chaos, Fallout Girl, and Take Your Charming Somewhere Else. Her essays have appeared in Catapult, The Toast, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and other venues.

In this Audiobook

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 - Disclosure Blues
  • Chapter 2 - She's So Schizophrenic!
  • Chapter 3 - Shattering the Madness Monolith
  • Chapter 4 - Breaking the Mad Genius Myth
  • Chapter 5 - Working When Your Brain Isn't
  • Chapter 6 - Rough Accommodations
  • Chapter 7 - Revisiting Disclosure
  • Chapter 8 - Collegiality and Disability
  • Chapter 9 - Help! My Best Friend is Bipolar
  • Chapter 10 - Handling Personal Tragedies Around You
  • Chapter 11 - I’m Not Brave
  • Chapter 12 - Not a Compliant Woman Colleague
  • Chapter 13 - Conference Challenges for People with Psychiatric Disabilities
  • Chapter 14 - Accessibility Is for Everyone
  • Chapter 15 - Believe Your Colleagues with Disabilities
  • Chapter 16 - How to Have the Accommodations Talk
  • Chapter 17 - Trigger Warnings Are a Disability Issue
  • Chapter 18 - How Making My Teaching Accessible Made My Teaching Better
  • Chapter 19 - What Do Psychiatrically Disabled Faculty Owe Our Students?
  • Chapter 20 - We Are Not Prepared for Students in Distress
  • Chapter 21 - The Secret Life of the Graduate Student
  • Chapter 22 - A Mother’s Suicide Attempt and the Guilty Burden of Statistics
  • Chapter 23 - Traveling Stigmata
  • Chapter 24 - With New Life Comes a Fear of Death