Having a mental illness isn't something that can be cured in a day, or by reading. However, reading about shared experiences of mental illness is something that is encouraging and comforting when you are going through a dark period. To know that there are other individuals out there who are or have experienced what you are going through right now is reassuring. I know, I've been there.
Over the years I have accumulated quite a collection of books on mental health. Autobiographies of people who have suffered in the past (and still do), research books on mental health and the odd quote book with famous sufferers. Now, not all of the above worked and frankly, some made it worse. But, every so often, you find a gem that speaks to you.
Below I have selected a list of my personal favourite Must Read books if you suffer from a Mental Illness.
1. my age of ANXIETY - Scott Stossel (2014)
'Fear, Hope, Dread and the search for Peace of Mind.' This is an incredibly insightful book into anxiety & mental health in general. He writes about his own personal experience with anxiety whilst outlining the stigma around it, and researching the history of it. It's very interesting and incredibly funny. Although at times it can be heavy and very intense, so I recommend dipping in and out of this book from time to time. Have another story on the side.
Scott Stossel is an American Author & Editor of The Atlantic. His articles and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and many other publications.
2. Reasons to Stay Alive - Matt Haig (2015)
One of the most famous books relating to mental health to date. Haig writes about his experience with depression at age 24. Reasons to Stay Alive is a true story of how he came through crisis, conquered his illness that almost crippled him and learned to live again. One of my favourite books, it's a funny, moving and bl**dy incredible book on how to spend the most of your time on earth. Haig is very honest about his depression and that comes across beautifully in this book, I feel that this is something essential to anyone who is on the road to recovery. Don't be ashamed to suffer, we all suffer from a mental illness and this book portrays that.
Matt Haig is the author of five adult novels including the bestselling The Humans, a World Book Night title in 2014, and The Radleys, which was selected for Channel 4's TV Book Club and was voted winner of the series 2011. He has also written for children and young adults and his work has been translated into thirty languages.
3. mad girl - Bryony Gordon (2016)
I love this, pure and simple. A completely uncensored, non-PC jaw-droppingly truthful book on life with a mental illness. When I first started reading mad girl, I'm going, to be honest, I wasn't convinced, due to the drugs related paragraph. However, I persisted none the less and fell in love, I was completely hooked and couldn't put it down for two days. She's so open about her experience and basically life story that you can't help but finish it and want to know what happens! I must warn you, though, as she does too, this is not a self-help book nor a book with any advice about getting help. It's about her 'happy life with a mixed-up mind' and it's wonderful.
In the 15 years that she has worked for The Telegraph, Bryony Gordon has become one of the paper's best-loved writers. Her weekly column in the Sunday Telegraph has won her an army of fans who have followed her journey from single girl about town to settled mum. Bryony's first book, The Wrong Knickers, was on the Sunday Times bestsellers list for six weeks. Bryony is now 35 and lives in Nappy Valley (Clapham) with her baby daughter Edie and her husband, a financial journalist. The last sentence is one she never thought she would see written down on paper.
4. We're all MAD here - Claire Eastham (2017)
This one is quite special, purely because I was lucky enough to receive an early copy from the wonderful Claire Eastham, I literally felt as if I was reading about myself. We're all MAD here is a no-nonsense guide to beating social anxiety. I finished this book in a day, it was compulsive reading. She covers every possible social anxiety situation, I mean every, including avoiding to play Truth or Dare! Gives advice on how to survive them, whilst including honest experiences from her own social anxiety, with beautiful humour. This book is all about explaining what social anxiety is, why it happens and how you can learn to cope with it by changing certain lifestyle choices, whilst still enjoying them. It’s amazing, incredible and inspiring. This book is a necessity for every anxiety suffer. Definitely one to get! Buy Here
Claire Eastham is an award winning blogger and Best Selling Author, she has won numerous awards for her blog 'wE'Re AlL mAd heRe' and has been writing about her experiences with social anxiety and panic attacks since 2013, after a nervous breakdown.
5. the little book of CONFIDENCE - Tiddy Rowan [edited by] - (2015)
This little gem is a bit different from the other 4 books I have recommended, but the little book of confidence is still up there in my favourites. It's a tiny book full of inspiring quotes with short doses of amazing advice on how to build confidence. I refer to this book a lot when I attend social events and meetings just to remind myself. It doesn't waffle on in huge paragraphs and it's not a step-by-step guide, it's just simple short & sweet pieces of advice on how you can improve your everyday confidence, accompanied by an inspiring quote. What's not to love?
Knock Knock are a company that operate out of a loft in sunny Venice, California. Their products aspire to bring humour, function, organisation, and aesthetics to everyday life.
What books have you read that have inspired and helped you?
Leave them in the comments below!