Mental Illness Awareness Week 2019: Bookish Opinions

**This post discusses mental illness and might include something upsetting. Please continue at your own discretion.**

Here’s the thing: I live with mental illness. Along with many, many others, I don’t often talk about it. Why? Stigma. It’s hard to talk about something that is often belittled or disbelieved. Over the years, I’ve gotten some seriously odd (and at times, harmful) comments regarding my bipolar. But I’ve realized something: there is absolutely no reason for me to feel ashamed or embarrassed by my mental illness. Yes, sometimes I am fighting a battle with myself. But I’m fighting, which I think I should be proud of.

Being me, I have several books that I’ve read over the years that portray mental illness in a way that helps me. Here are a few of them. And please know this: if you struggle with mental illness, you are not alone. You are not lesser than. You are not a burden. Not ever.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini : inspired by Ned Vizinni’s own mental hospital stay. It discusses suicide, depression, and finding hope.

Image result for it's kind of a funny story book

“People are screwed up in this world. I’d rather be with someone screwed up and open about it than somebody perfect and ready to explode.”
Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story

If You Feel Too Much: Thoughts on Things Found and Lost and Hoped For by Jamie Tworkoski : Written by the founder of To Write Love on Her Arms, these emails and poems discuss depression, drug use, faith, and accepting help.

Image result for if you feel too much book

You are more than just your pain. You are more than wounds, more than drugs, more than death and silence.There is still some time to be surprised. There is still some time to ask for help. There is still some time to start again. There is still some time for love to find you. It’s not too late. You’re not alone. It’s okay –whatever you need and however long it takes- its okay. It’s okay. If you feel too much, there’s still a place for you here. If you feel too much, don’t go. There is still some time.”  -Jamie Tworkowski, If You Feel Too Much

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison : Jamison’s autobiography is incredibly uplifting because, not only did I completely relate, but she is a talented mental health professor despite (because of?) her illness.

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I have seen the breadth and depth and width of my mind and heart and seen how frail they both are, and how ultimately unknowable they both are. – Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Stephen Chobsky: This beautiful book discusses ptsd, depression, possible unspecified mood disorder, and drug use.

Image result for the perks of being a wallflower book

So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.- Stephen Chobsky, Perks of Being a Wallflower

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher: talks mainly about bipolar disorder.

Image result for wishful drinking book

“One of the things that baffles me (and there are quite a few) is how there can be so much lingering stigma with regards to mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls. Not unlike a tour of Afghanistan (though the bombs and bullets, in this case, come from the inside). At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of.
They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medication.” 
― Carrie Fisher, Wishful Drinking


Are there any books that you feel portray mental illness well? What are they? I’d love to get a list going!

 

6 thoughts on “Mental Illness Awareness Week 2019: Bookish Opinions

  1. I haven’t read most of these books, so I will definitely have to check them out! Accurate portrayals like these may provide those who are struggling with their own mental health with the support and encouragement they need to face their own challenges on while, as you stated, helping them to see that they aren’t alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh! I’ve been wanting to read It’s Kind of a Funny Story. There is a movie about it too!
    I loved Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament by Kay Johnson it was one of the first books I read about the illness that made me feel “normal”. I also read a ton of Charles Bukowski in my younger manic years and in some weird way I could relate LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually prefer the movie of It’s Kind of a Funny Story to the book, which never happens with me. The book is still good though.

      Touched with Fire is a great one!

      I haven’t read much Bukowski. I’m hoping to change that soon.

      Like

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