I’ve read a lot of books about mental illness over the years. Some have been great, some not so much. I tend to stay away from the reference type books and stick to the biographies and autobiographies. Like my approach with this blog, I believe that information is much more powerful when it is told in a more personal approach.
Here are my favourite books:
Tell Me I’m Here: One Family’s Experience of Schizophrenia – Anne Deveson
I read this book when I was in highschool. I’m pretty sure I got it from the school library. It is a memoir written by Anne, the mother of Jonathon who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. She tells the heartbreaking story that is a reality for many families in Australia in the 1970’s. Anne founded the National Schizophrenia Australia Organisation and the book won the Human Rights Nonfiction Award for Australia in 1991.
Loud in the House of Myself: Memoir of a Strange Girl – Stacy Pershall
This is one of the few books about Borderline Personality Disorder which tells the story from the diagnosed point of view. Stacy writes the story of her life growing up in the land of Jesus to her eventual break down. In 2001 her suicide attempt was broadcast live over webcam, a moment when Stacy realised that it was time to get the help she needed.
Get Me Out of Here: My recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder – Rachel Reiland
Get me out of here is the first autobiographical book I read by someone with BPD. The book gave me hope. Up until that moment, everything I had read said that people with BPD were beyond help. Rachel tells the story of her breakdown, diagnosis and recovery from BPD. It proves that recovery is possible, it’s not easy but it’s possible.
The Happiness Trap – Russ Harris
While I haven’t read the whole book from cover to cover, I really like the style Russ writes in. The Happiness Trap breaks down Acceptance Commitment Therapy and makes it a lot easier to take in. Unlike a lot of other self help books that I have read, this one is written in a voice of understanding rather than ‘it’s my way or the highway’ approach.
Girl, Interrupted – Susanna Kaysen
This book has also been made into a movie staring Winona Ryder and it is still one of my favourite movies, it’s one I put on when I need a good, ugly cry. Susanna tells the story of being an inpatient in McLean Hospital. It’s a pretty harrowing tale, and it’s filled with sorrow. However it also highlights the relationships you develop with the people you are in hospital with, both for the good and the bad.
Have you read many mental health books? What is your favourite?
Here is a link to some book review that I’ve done on my blog: http://makebpdstigmafree.wordpress.com/category/book-reviews-2/
Here is a link to some books I’ve read about BPD. I haven’t had a chance to review them all yet:
To be honest, I rarely read anything based on real life. I could count the autobiographies I’ve read on my fingers. I prefer my books to be fiction. Reality is painful, often boring and almost always predictable and unhappy. Reading about people being abused and hurt is distressing, so I generally avoid. However, one book that did slip through that filter was Running With Scissors. And it was astonishingly good. Beautifully written, touching, compelling – and rather lurid and full on in places. And yes there is a lot about mental illness in there too. And anther was Billy Connolly’s first autobiography. An amazing man.
A couple of books that really helped me:
1. “Stop Walking on Eggshells” by Paul T Mason & Randi Kreger (US)
2. “Out of the Shadows: daughters growing up with a mad mother” by Catherine E Camden-Pratt (Aust).
3. “When you and your Mother can’t be friends” by Victoria Secunda (US)