6 Books You Need To Read To Understand Mental Illness

6 Books You Need To Read To Understand Mental Illness

"Reading is an amazing gift and a way to see the world through different perspectives."


Reading is an amazing gift and a way to see the world through different perspectives. Last year I struggled with a relapse of my own disorder and reading gave me a way to understanding the causes and patterns of my illness. Whether you have a loved one or a friend with a disorder, want to potentially gain insight on what it is like to live with one, or you simply find the topic interesting and are looking for some awesome and socially important books to read this year this list will give you some amazing picks that are sure to keep you thinking and turning pages. They are in order from decreasing preference with my all time favorite as #1.

1. Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia

By Marya Hornbacher

I LOVE Marya Hornbacher, and for a good reason, this is her first written novel and is a shocking and graphic memoir of her journey in life with crippling eating disorders. Her strength and honesty, as a writer and survivor, is admirable. Of course, this can be triggering for people with their own issues but this books really lets the reader see what goes on in the mind of someone struggling with a disorder and how difficult it can be to stay out of dangerous behaviors with one.

2. Madness: A Bipolar Life

By Marya Hornbacher

Another Hornbacher book published later on. In this memoir, Marya focuses on giving a startling accountant of her bipolar disorder through her childhood and adult life, a disorder that often left her medicated and hospitalized.

3. The Hungry Self: Women, Eating, and Identity

By Kim Chernin

This crucial and very unique read gives some more formal analysis on the causes of eating disorders in girls and young women. Chernin really dives in deep and discusses the harmful aspects of our culture and our unrealistic expectations for women. She describes how women's struggle for identity and self-worth often leads them into the endless loop of self-destruction that comes with eating disorders. This book really helped me understand my own illness and how to begin my escape from it.

4. The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness

By Elyn R Saks

This book is unique in that it gives the perspective from an individual with schizophrenia. Elyn R Saks is an inspiration, a strong spirit who, despite having ongoing episodes, has found a way to claim her life. She is now an esteemed professor, lawyer, and psychiatrist which allows her writing to be an interesting mix of personal account and professional opinion.

5. An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

By Kay Redfield Jamison

Kay Redfield Jamison is an amazing and strong individual both as a writer and as a sufferer of a severe manic-depressive disorder. Despite her infliction and the complications that come with it, she advanced to become one of the foremost authorities of mood disorders. Her story examines the civil rights of those with disorders regarding medication and hospitalizations. This book is wise, honest and truly powerful in its ability to shed light on what it means to suffer from a manic-depressive disorder.

6. The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness

By Lori Schiller

The Quiet Room is a testimony to mental illness and the strength of the human spirit as Lori Schiller goes from average affluent child to full blown schizophrenia in the course of only a few years. Her journey is an eye-opening story of multiple hospitalizations, relapses, halfway houses, and suicide attempts. She is another amazing example of perseverance and courage in the face of horrifying disorders

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