I’ve been reading a ridiculous amount of mental health lit lately, but then again, I always have. I’m constantly seeking to have my experiences validated by seeing them reflected back elsewhere. Of course, the search to see yourself in the world doesn’t always go well.
So I decided to make this post of my “Best Of”s — for those who are looking for great examples, and also for Future Me, who might need to re-read.
(I’m also considering updating this post as I discover more great books. The month of April just wasn’t enough to get my hands on all the books out there.)
Best Mental Health Memoir:
Loud in the House of Myself by Stacy Pershall
- Borderline Personality Disorder & Bipolar Disorder
- brutal honesty with respect to making mistakes, pushing people away, relapsing, etc.
- one of my fave quotes about suicide ever:
“A depressed person is selfish because her self, the very core of who she is, will not leave her alone, and she can no more stop thinking about this self and how to escape it than a prisoner held captive by a sadistic serial killer can forget about the person who comes in to torture her everyday. Her body is brutalized by her mind.”
Best Mental Hospital Setting:
It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
- mental hospital story that doesn’t play into all the stereotypes: character’s depression stems from seemingly normal stress, which really resonates with me
- (see guys, I can read male protagonists sometimes!)
Best Eating Disorder Rep:
Paperweight by Meg Haston
- anorexia/bulimia + clinical depression
- dual narrative between treatment center & events that led to this point; character struggles through self-blame behaviors similar to my experience with depression
- shows that eating disorders are about more than just food
- full review here
Best Anxiety Rep:
Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
- agoraphobia/panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression & self-harm
- a searing look at being inside the mind of someone with serious anxiety disorders, but with a positive outlook in the ending
- full review here
Best Treatment of Medication:
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
normalization of SSRIs (meds for anxiety & depression) wherein the anxiety doesn’t control character’s entire life; character’s generalized anxiety comes through in the voice in a way that’s both realistic & adorable
When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez
- two Latina protagonists who express their depression in different ways: one is loud & outspoken, acting up in school, while the other withdraws from her friends & family
- my full review will be up here or on Goodreads in the near future
So that’s it for now, folks. I’ll definitely update & re-post this at some point in the future. For now, these are my favorites. Have you read any of the books on this list? Let me know what you think in the comments!