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Sweatpants & Books | Mental Health Reading List

By Shandle Blaha

Living with a mental illness can feel isolating, hopefully, these books will remind those of you battling with these disorders that you are not alone.

Nonfiction:

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh
“Her astonishing, “Adventures in Depression,” and “Depression Part Two,” which have been hailed as some of the most insightful meditations on the disease ever written.”

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

“For every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud, this is a poignant and hysterical look at the dark, disturbing, yet wonderful moments of our lives. “

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson
“A humor memoir tinged with just enough tragedy and pathos to make it worthwhile, Jenny Lawson examines her own experience with severe depression and a host of other conditions, and explains how it has led her to live life to the fullest.”

All the Things We Never Knew: Chasing the Chaos of Mental Illness by Sheila Hamilton
“It details their unsettling spiral from ordinary life into the world of mental illness, examines the fragile line between reality and madness, and reveals the true power of love and forgiveness.”

Shades of Blue: Writers on Depression, Suicide, and Feeling Blue by Amy Ferris
“Editor Amy Ferris has collected these stories to illuminate the truth behind that stigma and offer compassion, solidarity, and hope for all those who have struggled with depression.”

Coming Clean: A Memoir by Kimberly Rae Miller
“Kim brings to life her experience of growing up in a rat-infested home, concealing her father’s shameful secret from friends for years, and of the emotional burden that ultimately led to an attempt to take her own life. “

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison
“Jamison examines bipolar illness from the dual perspectives of the healer and the healed, revealing both its terrors and the cruel allure that at times prompted her to resist taking medication.”

The Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer
“Part manifesto, part revelation, this is the story of an artist struggling with the new rules of exchange in the twenty-first century, both on and off the Internet. It will inspire readers to rethink their own ideas about asking, giving, art, and love.”

There Is No Good Card for This: What To Say and Do When Life Is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love by Kelsey Crowe & Emily McDowell
“This thoughtful, instructive guide, from empathy expert Dr. Kelsey Crowe and greeting card maverick Emily McDowell, blends well-researched, actionable advice with the no-nonsense humor and the signature illustration style of McDowell’s immensely popular Empathy Cards, to help you feel confident in connecting with anyone experiencing grief, loss, illness, or any other difficult situation.”

I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame by Brené Brown
It’s not just you, you’re not alone, and if you fight the daily battle of feeling like you are—somehow—just not “enough,” you owe it to yourself to read this book and discover your infinite possibilities as a human being.”

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.”

Fiction:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
“Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.”

Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy
“Connie Ramos, a woman in her mid-thirties, has been declared insane. But Connie is overwhelmingly sane, merely tuned to the future, and able to communicate with the year 2137.”

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
“A novel that is funny, poignant and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing are a mind that perceives the world entirely literally.”

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
“In this enchanting novel, Matthew Quick takes us inside Pat’s mind, showing us the world from his distorted yet endearing perspective.”

The Best Awful by Carrie Fisher
“Based on a truant’s story, The Best Awful is Carrie Fisher’s most powerful and revealing novel: hilarious, moving, and fully informed by the wisdom of a true survivor.”

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
“Sylvia Plath’s shocking, realistic, and intensely emotional novel about a woman falling into the grip of insanity. ”

Ordinary People by Judith Guest
“In this memorable, moving novel, Judith Guest takes the reader into their lives to share their misunderstandings, pain…and ultimate healing.”

The Almost Moon: A Novel by Alice Sebold
“Unfolding over twenty-four hours, this searing, fast-paced novel explores the complex ties between mothers and daughters, wives and lovers, the meaning of devotion, and the line between love and hate.”

Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America by Elizabeth Wurtzel
“A harrowing story of breakdowns, suicide attempts, drug therapy, and an eventual journey back to living, this poignant and often hilarious book gives voice to the high incidence of depression among America’s youth.”

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden: A Novel by Joanne Greenberg

“Chronicles the three-year battle of a mentally ill, but perceptive, teenage girl against a world of her own creation, emphasizing her relationship with the doctor who gave her the ammunition of self-understanding with which to help herself.”
One of the most acclaimed novels of our time, Wally Lamb’s I Know This Much Is True is a story of alienation and connection, devastation and renewal, at once joyous, heartbreaking, poignant, mystical, and powerfully, profoundly human.”

 

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About Shandle Blaha (142 Articles)
Shandle is the Operations Director for Sweatpants & Coffee. She works from home so she wears yoga pants every day and loves some coffee in her cream and sugar. A rerun of Friends is always on her TV and her stack of books to read is always growing. She and her husband love to travel and you can follow her travels on Instagram at: shandle_spc.

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