“Your illness doesn’t define you; your strength and courage do” - if you’re someone who has been struggling with mental illness, you need to say this out loud to yourself, and imbibe it as an absolute truth in your life. Remember that you are not alone, and there are so many people out there who love you and are willing to help you get back on your feet! So chin up, battle armours on, and charge full speed ahead while we bring you some of the most powerful books on mental illness that you need to read - these will definitely broaden your perspective on mental health, even if it may be for someone who needs your support!
Nobody Is Ever Missing - Catherine Lacey
Taking a one-way flight to New Zealand, Elyria abandons her stable life in Manhattan, and without telling her family encounters surreal circumstances with strangers and wildlife in an unfamiliar place. Published by FSG Originals, this is the story of Elyria’s journey, battling anxiety and obsession with the fragile condition of the human mind.
The Silver Linings Playbook - Matthew Quick
Now a major motion picture featuring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, this book dives into Pat and Tiffany’s relationship with each other and the individual struggles they go through, as they battle their inner demons and yet, optimistically, hope for silver linings in the stormclouds of their lives.
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Based partially on Sylvia Plath’s own life and fight with mental illness, The Bell Jar is the story of Esther Greenwood, who wins an internship with a New York fashion magazine, only to find herself spiralling into the pits of depression in a society that doesn’t pay heed to a woman’s dreams and aspirations.
Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia - Marya Hornbacher
A heart-wrenching memoir that’s powerfully vivid and honest, this is Marya Hornbacher’s affair with drugs, sex, hunger, and death - a tryst with the darker side of life, and her redemption, to find her way back to life on her own terms.
An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness - Kay Redfield Jamison
An authority on bipolar disorder, Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison has had the misfortune of experiencing the terrors of the illness first-hand, as she was hit with the highs and lows of manic and depressive episodes just like many of her patients. This is her story and those of others like her.
The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat - Oliver Sacks
The stories of people struggling with the bizarre problems of neurological disorder is a sombre, yet poignant insight into the world of those who recognise everyday objects, recognise the people they love, have been shunned by society as ‘retarded’ and yet possess amazing inabilities of the mind. A brilliant read!
Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
In her signature style following the stream of consciousness, Virginia Woolf explores ideas of loneliness, isolation, and existentialism with her protagonist Clarissa Dalloway, who questions the memories of her past at the casual mention of the suicide of a survivor of the Great War. A bold move for the era where experimenting with ideas of mental illness was unheard of.
The Things They Carried - Tim O'Brien
Challenging their readers to rethink their perception of fact and fiction, and war and peace, the book speaks about the chaos of the Vietnam war, and the experiences the people went through, during that period of time, in the form of fiction that’s interwoven to open the reader’s eyes, to a whole new viewpoint.
Willow Weep for Me: A Black Woman’s Journey through Depression - Meri Nana-Ama Danquah
The story of a 22-year-old single mother, who began encountering symptoms of depression after the birth of her baby, but considered herself to ‘be going crazy’ and living in denial, in a world that undervalued the lives of black women. Intense? You bet it is.
Reasons To Stay Alive - Matt Haig
A moving celebration on how to truly live your life, and emerge from a dangerous mental illness that threatens to take lives, the book is the inspiring story of Matt Haig’s fight with an inner demon that almost destroyed his life, but his belief and will persisted, saying that “Words, just sometimes, really can set you free”.