As these books helped me to change my mindset around mental health problems, I would like to share them with you, hoping that they will give some comfort to you, too. I read more than seven books around the subject, but I wanted to share specifically the positive ones, which talk about improvement and positive outcomes, rather than those other heavy ones that do not contain hope. Three of the following books are autobiographies, which I love because you can get insights from real people who struggled. I have to say that the one about the Holocaust contains some crude scenes, so if you are particularly sensible, I would not read that.
1. It’s Kind of a Funny story by Ned Vizzini
Craig is a 16-year-old teenager who struggles with depression and anxiety. Because of this, he decides to be admitted in the psychiatric ward of his neighbourhood, and there, he meets people and lives situations which will make him think more positively about the future. This is a hilarious book full of fun interchanges between the patients of the ward, but it also touches deep topics, like depression related effects and stories of people who are trying their best to get better, in a down to earth matter. It’s also a movie, which I recommend too.
2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Eleanor is a middle aged woman who is used to be alone and does not seek company, as she knows that the moment she will create meaningful connections it will be the moment in which she will get hurt. She frequently talks with her mum, altough the latter treats her coldly and constantly judges Eleanor’s actions and beliefs. This is a novel about a person who numbed her emotions after going through trauma. It talks about post-traumatic stress disorder and the inheritance of creating meaningful connections despite the uneasiness felt in doing it.
3. Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
A book in which the author writes abour his own approach to his suffering from depression and anxiety. Through his journey he gathered some reasons for which it is worth to live in spite of a mental health condition, and he writes them in this book to invite others to reflect and help them in their own journey.
4. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Although in this book there’s no mental health condition specified, this is a real story of a person who mentally hit rock bottom after a divorce and picked herself up. The author opens up completely about days spent crying, her seeing no happy future for herself and the desire to forget to live and just going on surviving for the rest of her life. Though a journey that will take her through three countries, she finds herself again. There is also a movie on this, but, in my opinion, it does not reflect the depth of the book.
5. The Choice by Edith Eger
This is my absolute favourite. Edith Eger is one of the survivors of the Holocaust, and she tells the story of how her childhood was stolen by being deported in a concentration camp. But the book does not stop here, and Edith goes on describing her recovery from the traumatic experience and her willingness to become useful to others in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. She describes how she saw hell and from it she learnt how to use her pain to serve others by becoming a psychologist. She’s a great, inspirational woman. Have a look at her website: https://dreditheger.com/
6. The girl who dated herself by Susannah Shakespeare
This is a novel about a girl who learns to love herself after a breakup. After the separation, she realises she never loved herself the way she deserved and starts doing things alone, from going to the cinema to having a fancy dinner. This is a book about self-love and how it is good and healthy to want to spend some time alone.
7. The curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon
This is a novel about a boy on the spectrum of autism and how he deals with it through seeing the world as a mathematical problem that needs to be solved. In the story, he finds himself involved in a mystery to solve, which involves a dog. This book describes well the struggles of someone with autism and how their vision of the world is different, but this doesn’t mean worse.
Well, here’s the list. If you decide to read one them, please, let me know what you think! 🙂