ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · non fiction · psychology · Self Help

The Handbook for Highly Sensitive People by Mel Collins | ARC Book Review

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The Handbook for Highly Sensitive People by Mel Collins

Published: January 15, 2019

Publisher: Watkins Publishing

Pages: 208

Genres: self help, psychology

Rating: 3 stars

Recommend to: highly sensitive people, learning more about yourself 

Foodie Vibes: chamomile tea to calm yourself among a world of chaos 

 

Synopsis: 

Are you often told to stop taking things to heart or to toughen up? Do you have a lot of empathy for others? Overanalyze things and get ‘stuck in your own head’? Or become easily overwhelmed and frequently need to withdraw? If the answer is YES, you are probably a Highly Sensitive Person and this Handbook will be your survival guide!

One in five people are born with the trait of high sensitivity. Yet, there is a general lack of awareness of the trait in our society, which leaves many people struggling physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually with being highly sensitive in a non-sensitive world. More often than not, HSPs are yearning for acceptance of their trait, not just from other people but also for themselves. When they realize their sensitivity is ‘normal’ and it’s acknowledged in a positive way, a deep sense of relief arises and they can begin to flourish – feeling empowered to bring their unique abilities of empathy, compassion, creativity, healing and much more into the world. Presented in four sections that lead the reader on a journey of true holistic self-understanding, the book starts with a section exploring the main qualities and challenges of the trait, and how it can be a real gift in life; not a flaw. The second section then delves into impacts of living as an HSP, such as the many masks that they tend to wear (people-pleasing and so on), the relationships they attract, and how they can start on the journey to feeling more valued. The third section provides a wide range of practical strategies to manage the trait more effectively, from more self-love, coping with over-arousal, tapping for emotional freedom, energy protection, dealing with loss and bereavement, and tuning into the healing power of animals. And the final section touches on the more spiritual aspect of life that many HSPs are searching for, whether knowingly or not – from past-life themes to the unseen world, such as angels – in their quest to fully accept themselves, and to live the authentic, fulfilling lives they deserve.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Watkins Publishing and Mel Collins for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Have you ever wondered if you’re a highly sensitive person? Or even what that means? I certainly have. This book is helpful in determining if you’re a highly sensitive person with checklists, quizzes, and more detailed information. Also there’s practical steps to help you live in a world not meant for HSPs. I really enjoyed the first 1/2 to 2/3 of the book, as the information was comprehensive, practical and found myself relating to a lot of it. 

However, the last third of the book focused more on the spiritual aspects of being a HSP, with a focus on some of the more out there topics. These include past lives, chakras and energies, crystals, earthbound souls, and tapping.  Not judging these beliefs and practices, but they’re not for me. I do appreciate that the author does state that these are not for all people and keeps them in the last section of the book. It’s really easy to read the sections that pertain to you. 

Overall an interesting informative book about a topic that not many people talk about. Certain sections are not for me, but maybe it will be for you. It gets my recommendation for the knowledge and care the author puts into the book. 

 

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Bookish Question:

Are you a HSP (Highly Sensitive Person)? 

 

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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

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3.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · non fiction · psychology · Self Help

Anger Management for Everyone: Ten Proven Strategies to Help You Control Anger and Live a Happier Life by Raymond Chip Tafrate, Howard Kassinove

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Anger Management for Everyone: Ten Proven Strategies to Help You Control Anger and Live a Happier Life by Raymond Chip Tafrate, Howard Kassinove

Published: January 2, 2019

Publisher: Impact

Pages: 256

Genres: self help, non fiction, psychology

Rating: 3.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: people who have lots of conflicts with others, wanting to change yourself for the New Year, angry people 

Foodie Vibes: chamomile tea to help calm yourself 

 

Synopsis: 

We all get angry sometimes. But if you feel angry all of time—and if your anger makes others uncomfortable, creates distance in your relationships, disrupts your ability to think clearly and make good decisions, or otherwise results in behaviors that you regret or find embarrassing later—it’s time to make a change.

Written by two clinical psychologists with decades of experience using cognitive behavioral interventions to treat anger, Anger Management for Everyone provides a comprehensive, research-based program to keep anger in its place. This revised and updated second edition includes new information on the environmental effects on anger, such as hunger and sleep; new progressive muscle relaxation and mindfulness exercises; and new strategies and tips for improving social and interpersonal skills.

With the authors’ enhanced “Anger Episode Model,” and the ten proven-effective skills for anger management in this helpful guide, you’ll come to better understand and control your problem anger, learn how to cope with everyday disappointments and frustrations, and experience more happiness, success, and vitality in all areas of your life.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Impact, Raymond Chip Tafrate, and Howard Kassinove for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

The beginning of the book was startling. The language made it seem as if it was written for people who are out of control angry. As I kept reading I learned that the techniques discussed can be used for most people. But before I go into my review of the book, let’s define anger. According to the book anger is an emotional reaction to the unwanted and often unexpected behavior of others. It often develops as a sense of threat. A very helpful definition. 

The book helps the reader to learn about anger in general, their own anger reactions, reason behind anger, many different suggestions to deal with anger, many examples to further explain the tools, and also activities to practice new anger reducing techniques that you’ve learned. Since there’s a lot of information, some of it is bound to resonate with and help you. I’m not an incredibly angry person, but I could relate to some of the techniques presented. I liked the suggested of avoidance as a valid response to anger. It’s not the only response a person should use, but sometimes it’s best in that moment. 

I didn’t think that the examples were very relatable to me. While they were plentiful and well explained, I couldn’t see myself represented in most of the them. Also regarding someone who constantly provokes an anger response in me; these techniques didn’t work when used with them. Not sure if that’s the techniques or they’re just a toxic person. 

Overall, a helpful book filled with many explanations and techniques to help you appropriately deal with your anger. 

 

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What helps you to deal with anger?

 

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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

Instagram: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

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4 Star Books · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · Medical · mental health · Young Adult

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

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Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow 

Published: August 30, 2016

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Pages: 416

Genres: young adult, contemporary fiction, mental health 

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: realistic portrayals of mental health struggles, homelessness and self harm, realistic non fluffy books

Foodie Vibes: peanut butter and bread — cheap, doesn’t require refrigeration and is filling — required for when times are tough 

 

Synopsis: 

Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.

 

Review:

Trigger warning: self harm, alcohol abuse, mentions of sexual assault

 

Girl in Pieces tells the story of Charlotte, a teenage girl who struggles with self harm. The book starts out with her hospitalized in a mental health facility. She doesn’t speak to anyone, but is glad to be there. Due to a lack of family support, she was homeless prior to the hospital. 

Girl in Pieces isn’t like many other young adult books featuring self harm. It tells the story of a different subset of teenage girls. I like that it gives a voice and a relatable character where there wasn’t one before. I also appreciated that the author didn’t glorify self harm. The story and Charlotte’s journey is very intense, almost a bit much for me at times. She has lots of ups and downs in her journey along the path to recovery and figuring out her future. It’s very realistic. 

While the representation is great, there are multiple aspects that I didn’t love. #1: her relationship with her boyfriend, for multiple reasons. Also, the fact that no one makes her go to school. No explanation about this either. When Charlotte was not making the best decisions for herself I was very frustrated for her. In general I enjoyed reading about her, but didn’t connect with her character as much as I would have liked. 

Overall, a well written story with great representation of self harm and other mental health struggles in general. The downsides didn’t mean a bad book, but more annoyances/frustrations on my part as a reader. Definitely worth checking out!

 

Add to your Goodreads TBR

 

How should we react when we see someone who has self harm scars? Discuss below. 

 

Come say hi!

Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

Instagram: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

Facebook: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · mental health · non fiction · psychology · Self Help

ARC Review | Are u ok?: A Guide to Caring for Your Mental Health by Kati Morton 

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Are u ok?: A Guide to Caring for Your Mental Health by Kati Morton

Published: December 11, 2018

Publisher: De Capo Lifelong Books 

Pages: 256

Genres: non fiction, mental health, psychology, self help

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: improving yourself. greater access to mental health services, compassionate professionals

Foodie Vibes: healthy foods, for your specific health needs, that fuels your mind and body 

 

Synopsis:

A licensed marriage and family therapist and You Tube personality, Kati Morton answers the most commonly asked questions about mental health, including when to get help and where to find it.

Everyone struggles with mental health issues from time to time, but the greatest level of misunderstanding comes from knowing the difference between mental health and mental illness, figuring out whether we need professional help and, if so, how to find it. Are u ok? walks readers through the most commonly asked questions about mental health and the process of getting help. From finding the best therapist to navigating harmful and toxic relationships and everything in between, licensed marriage and family therapist and YouTube sensation Kati Morton clarifies and de-stigmatizes the struggles so many of us go through, and encourages readers to reach out for help. What are the red flags of a mental health issue? How do you go about making a first therapy appointment? How do you know if your therapist is a good fit for you? What are the best ways of talking about mental health with your family, friends and colleagues? There are so many questions and concerns, and in the down-to-earth, friendly tone that makes Kati Morton so popular on YouTube, Are u ok? informs and reminds us that we can get through the difficult times and we are never alone.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, De Capo Lifelong Books, and Kati Morton for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Are u okay? is a comprehensive easy to understand book about the therapy process. The text includes information about what it is, explanations of acronyms, types of therapy, different professionals, what to expect with the actual therapy session, navigating insurance & payment, advocating for yourself and more. There’s even a quick bullet point summary of the vital information in the appendix. It’s a very approachable read. It’s great for someone who doesn’t know much about the therapy process or those looking to learn more about mental health. People who are familiar with therapy can still learn from the book, but some topics will already be known to them. 

I liked the writing style. It’s factual but informal to make those unsure about the therapy process feel comfortable. Also if you’ve watched Kati Morton’s videos on YouTube, her unique voice definitely carries over into her book. However, I can see where some people, possibly the older generation, might not be as comfortable with this more casual tone. 

Overall, I think there’s a lot of great information that can help a lot of people. Everyone can learn something from her book. A wonderful resource for people who are considering therapy or know someone considering therapy. 

Also definitely check out her YouTube channel for all things mental health. 

 

Add to your Goodreads TBR

 

Kati Morton’s YouTube Channel 

 

 

 

 

Come say hi!

Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

Instagram: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

Facebook: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

 

5 Star Books · Book Reviews · Medical · mental health · non fiction · Self Help

When Life Hits the Fan: A Mindful Guide to Caring for Yourself While Caring For Others by Janet Fouts

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When Life Hits the Fan: A Mindful Guide to Caring for Yourself While Caring For Others by Janet Fouts

Published: August 15, 2018

Publisher: Tatu Digital Media

Pages: 162

Genres: non fiction, self help, mental health, medical

Rating: 5 stars

Recommend to fans of: resources to help with caregiving, all types of caregivers, learning to cope with the demands of caregiving – sanely

Foodie Vibes: quick nutritious cheap meals to fuel you for all the demands of the day

 

Synopsis:

More than 44 million Americans provide care for family members and friends with chronic illness or conditions that require day to day assistance.

In general, caregivers do this out of real compassion and love, or a sense of duty for the person they are caring for.

Often they find themselves thrown into roles that are unfamiliar and sometimes scary; like managing through the medical and insurance system to gain the best possible care for their loved one or understanding the options in the middle of a medical emergency. Stress levels can go through the roof, and over time stress wreaks havoc on the caregiver as well as their loved one.

If the caregiver also has a family, a job, and other responsibilities and caring for their loved one is added to their current roles. While it is a labor of love, it can be exhausting over time, and things start to fall through the cracks, including caring for their own health.

When Life Hits the Fan shares the experiences of a number of caregivers and activities that they can do to take care of themselves, body and soul. The practices in the book come from the author’s training in mindfulness, emotional intelligence and positive psychology as well as her own caregiving journey.

With a practical approach to stress reduction and easy to follow exercises, When Life Hits the Fan helps us understand what’s going on inside our minds and our bodies and ways to create resilience and care for ourselves.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Tatu Digital Media and Janet Fouts for an ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

The book is exactly what I needed to read, as a caregiver. Seriously, if you’re a caregiver in any form, then you need to read the book. The information was so relatable, honest and helpful that I’m going to check out the author’s website for even more caregiving resources.

Maybe you’ve heard the phrase “care for the caregiver.” It is absolutely true. We can’t take care of everyone else without first taking care of ourselves. It’s simply not sustainable in the long run. And most of us are caregivers, in some capacity, for the long term. The author teaches that your compassion needs to extend to yourself or it’s incomplete. So true!

The book is short but packed with helpful information and compassion. The author truly gets what it’s like to be a caregiver. The self care suggested is practical, affordable, generally short in duration, and can be done almost anywhere. I’ve heard some of these suggestions before, but it’s nice to have it all in one book.

When Life Hits the Fan would be great for reading while waiting for your loved one’s appointments, during a few minutes of downtime, etc. The book is accessible, helpful and comes from a compassionate place. I highly highly recommend it if you’re a caregiver in any capacity. 

 

How many of you are caregivers?

What do you do for self care?

 

————————————

 

Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

Instagram: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

Facebook: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

4 Star Books · Book Reviews · non fiction · psychology

Counseling Insights: Practical Strategies for Helping Others with Anxiety, Trauma, Grief, and More by Vicki Enns

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Counseling Insights: Practical Strategies for Helping Others with Anxiety, Trauma, Grief, and More by Vicki Enns

Published: August 21, 2018

Publisher: Achieve Publishing

Pages: 336

Genres: non fiction, psychology

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: informative books about mental health, therapists, psychology students

Foodie Vibes: a relaxing beverage of your choice

 

Synopsis:

As helpers, caregivers, and counsellors, there are times when we need support to be able to help the people we are working with. Hearing from others in similar roles is a key way of finding inspiration and guidance.

This book offers practical strategies for supporting people of all ages who have a variety of issues, whether psychological (anxiety, trauma, depression), based on life circumstances (loss and grief, oppressive societal attitudes), or due to harmful ways of coping with these or other life stressors (self-injury, substance use, suicidality).

Each chapter begins with an examination of a different psychological issue or situation. Case examples of both youth and adults are included for each topic to illustrate both the impact of the issue and the helping process. Authors share insights they have gained from research, counselling experiences, and the unique wisdom of the people they have encountered.

This book is written not only for clinical counsellors, but also for the multitude of frontline helpers who work to support those seeking help and guidance. It is a resource for anyone who identifies as a care provider, including those in the social service, health, education, spiritual care, and social work roles.

 

Review:

I won this ebook for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, Vicki Enns, and Achieve Publishing for a copy. As always, an honest review from me.

The book’s summary is very close to the title. A book to help, mainly therapists or health professionals help their clients through different aspects of life. The book covers depression, anxiety, self injury, suicidal thoughts, trauma, substance use, LGBT2SQ+, grief and more. 

Each chapter starts with an in depth explanation of the topic and potential struggles a person may deal with. Then 2-3 example patients are introduced with their unique stories, as they relate to the topic at hand. The rest of the chapter alternates between giving information and then partial example sessions with the patients to demonstrate the information being applied. I found this to be very helpful. Also each chapter was written by a different professional in the field. Based on the summary I thought the book would apply more to me, as the caregiver of a family member. While incredibly interesting and informative, I’m probably not the intended audience. Psychology students, mental health professionals and even others who work with these patient populations would probably benefit from this informative book.

I would like to point out that the section on self injury is very insightful. From my experiences in psychology courses in college, many times the information is glossed over quickly or out dated. Not so in this book. A great resource for people looking for accurate information on the topic of self injury. 

Overall, a very informative, user friendly book about a variety of mental health topics. Perfect for those in the field looking for additional information. 

 

4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · mental health · Young Adult

ARC Review | Imagine Us Happy by Jennifer Yu

Be sure to answer my question at the bottom of the page!

Please and thank you, loves 

 

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Imagine Us Happy by Jennifer Yu

Published: October 23, 2018

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Pages: 384

Genres: young adult, mental health, contemporary fiction, contemporary romance

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: realistic young adult novels, books about mental health, great friendships 

Foodie Vibes: pizza

 

Synopsis:

Stella lives with depression, and her goals for junior year are pretty much limited to surviving her classes, staying out of her parents’ constant fights and staving off unwanted feelings enough to hang out with her friends Lin and Katie.

Until Kevin. A quiet, wry senior who understands Stella and the lows she’s going through like no one else. With him, she feels less lonely, listened to—and hopeful for the first time since ever…

But to keep that feeling, Stella lets her grades go and her friendships slide. And soon she sees just how deep Kevin’s own scars go. Now little arguments are shattering. Major fights are catastrophic. And trying to hold it all together is exhausting Stella past the breaking point. With her life spinning out of control, she’s got to figure out what she truly needs, what’s worth saving—and what to let go.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Harlequin Teen and Jennifer You for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Imagine Us Happy tells the story of two teens who are navigating life, high school, relationships and family life while dealing with depression. Stella and Kevin meet at the beginning of the school year. They end up dating for the whole year. We know its not going to end well, and the book is the story of their lives the past year.

I like that the author portrays depression and therapy in a realistic manner. That it’s a process, not a magical cure that will fix everything in a few sessions. Stella is doing better because of therapy but she has to keep working on herself. It’s not easy. The book portrays the challenges of dating or any extra stress when you’re dealing with mental health issues. No that it can’t be done, but both people have to be taking care of themselves in healthy ways. 

A super realistic look at depression, dating and friendships. I think this is going to be a very popular young adult book for years to come!

 

If you could give advice to characters/people dating with mental health issues, what would you say?

4.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · Christian · memoir · non fiction

Scars and Stilettos: The Transformation of an Exotic Dancer by Harmony Dust

 

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Scars and Stilettos: The Transformation of an Exotic Dancer by Harmony Dust

Published: May 1, 2018 

Publisher: Monarch Books

Pages: 231

Genres: memoir, non fiction, Christian

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: inspiring memoirs, Christianity helping people, sex industry workers looking for support/to get out of the life

Read with food: anything you find delicious and nourishing because you deserve to enjoy life in a healthy way

 

Synopsis:

At thirteen, after being abandoned by her mother one summer and left to take care of her younger brother, Harmony becomes susceptible to a relationship that turns out to be toxic, abusive, and ultimately exploitative. She eventually finds herself working in a strip club at the age of nineteen, and her boyfriend becomes her pimp, controlling her every move and taking all of her money.

Scars and Stilettos is Harmony’s stark, honest, and ultimately hopeful story of how God found her in that dark, noisy place, led her back out, and prompted her to help others who are trapped as she once was. It exposes the realities of the commercial sex industry and inspires hope that freedom and healing are possible for those involved. Harmony has since graduated magna cum laude from UCLA where she also completed an MA in Social Welfare, and now leads Treasures, an outreach and support group to women in the sex industry and victims of sex trafficking. Through the Treasures Trainings, she has provided training to help launch outreaches in over 120 cities on six continents.

 

Review:

I won this ebook for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, the author and publisher for the copy. As always, an honest review.

If you’re like me you’ll walk away from Scars and Stilettos inspired, a little ad, and wanting to tell everyone you know about Harmony’s story. She grew up in a very unstable and abusive home. She learned at a young age that her worth depended on other people’s opinions of her Boyd. Eventually she got into stripping to support herself and her pimp boyfriend.

I appreciated Harmony’s honest. She didn’t sugarcoat her life, nor did she give such graphic details purely for shock value. I found it interesting to learn why someone might get into the sex work industry, her life outside of her career, and what she really wanted for herself. Turns out, she was incredibly unhappy with her career and many other aspects of her life. The inspirational part begins when she starts going to church and slowly building her self esteem. The writing was inspiring, showing how her positive choices and help from others in her life led her to where she is today. Harmony now runs Treasures, a non profit outreach group for women in the sex work industry and victims of sex trafficking. I honestly can’t say enough great things about this memoir.

There are very few criticisms of Scars and Stilettos, except that I wish there was more about her transition after quitting stripping. The book seemed to skip over some of that.

Overall, an inspiring story that can help a lot of people.

 

 

About Treasures:

Our mission is to reach, restore, and equip women in the sex industry and victims of sex trafficking to live healthy, flourishing lives, and train others to do the same across the globe.

 

  • If you’ve been inspired by Harmony’s book and want more information about her organization, check out her website for the non profit Treasures

 

  • For a list of ways to get involved in a big or small way click here

 

  • Treasures even has an Amazon Wish List that makes it super easy to to help purchase items the organization needs to help so many women 

 

Bookish Posts

Mental Health Awareness Through Reading

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

The more we talk, tweet, write blog posts about mental health, the more people are aware of these conditions. 

I think there’s more to awareness than just the basic “hey, now more people know about depression or binge eating disorder or schizophrenia”. 

Truly understanding the challenges, struggles, and daily life of a person who deals with these mental health conditions is more ideal.

 

What better way to do this, than through books? 

 

Reading is a unique way to experience the human condition of mental health. As many of you all know, books allow us to transport ourselves to another country, lifestyle, personal situation, etc.

Below I have listed some books that center around mental health. It’s definitely not inclusive, but rather books that I have read, enjoyed, and think represent mental health and illness well. 

 

Fiction

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh (depression)

Black Box by Julie Schumacher (depression)

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (agoraphobia, anxiety)

Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Temple (anxiety, panic disorders)

OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu (OCD)

This is How I Find Her by Sara Polsky (bipolar disorder)

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert (bipolar disorder)

Paperweight by Meg Haston (eating disorder)

Saving Ruth by Zoe FIshman (eating disorder)

Pretend We Are Lovely by Noley Reid (eating disorder, grief)

Speak by Laure Halse Anderson (trauma) – also check out the newly released graphic novel by the same name

Cutters Don’t Cry by Christine Dzidrums (self harm)

 

Memoirs

When They Call You a Terrorist: a Black Live Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors (mental health system)

Floating: a Life Regained by Joe Minihane (depression, anxiety)

Pound for Pound: A Story of One Woman’s Recovery and the Shelter Dogs Who Loved Her Back to Life by Shannon Kopp (eating disorder)

In the Water They Can’t See You Cry by Amanda Beard (depression, bulimia, self harm, alcohol & drug abuse)

 

If you want more information about about mental health in general visit NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness at https://www.nami.org

Peace and love, 

Amanda