Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Inside Higher Ed and The Professor Is In on academic life with mental illness

The Facebook page for The Professor Is In links to an article in Inside Higher Ed on mental illness, starting from the recent suicide of an autistic Arizona State political scientist. Reading the article I realize I saw friends from the hacker community tweet about this when it happens — I recognize the start of his suicide note.

We are starting to talk about these issues in academia.
We are starting to lift visibility and getting a conversation going about how to do better by our friends and colleagues.

Even so, I find the comments in the Facebook thread disheartening. There is a cut-throat tone in a lot of academia: people in the thread talk about being told that their openness about their mental health is harming their employment searches; are advised not to treat colleagues as friends and to stay quiet in their departments.

I don't want this for us.
We should be able to do better.


  1. I'm so tired of the jokey tone with which I say, "I have a poorly regulated anxiety disorder," and also the way my academic unproductivity is in a feedback loop with my attention and anxiety issues. I want to stop apologizing. Thanks for this blog.

  2. Hello,
    I'm writing here because I do not know what else to do. I have just completed my first year at a PhD program. I came to the u.s. with all the hope in the world, with a very prestigious scholarship, but I was only accepted at a somewhat low-rank school. I have left 10 years in the meantime, working just for the sake of getting a chance in life after millions of other dark experiences. However, I am starting to think that there is no hope for someone from a school like mine, and that I will never achieve my learning or professional goals. My advisor says my project is dated and does not want me to work on it anymore. I feel lost because without it I don't know what to do. I know this sounds superficial, but I really feel that without this my life is over, and my chances in life are done. I feel completely lost and done, and I do not know what to do anymore. I barely eat, cannot sleep at night because I can't stop working to compensate not being competitive school-wise. But it has gotten to a point where my anxiety won't allow me to think of absolutely anything else. I cannot talk to anybody or mention it in my department. I am sorry for this message, but I really do not know how to deal with this.


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