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My favourite mental health books
Why do I write when I could become a therapist and earn a steady pay cheque? Because before speaking to any therapist about anything, I go to the library. Books are my number one therapist.
I was probably the only student in the history of A. B. Lucas Secondary School to skip class to go to the public library. Once my dad caught me downtown when I was supposed to be in class, but he didn’t worry when he saw me going into the central library downtown. If I’m not searching out free books to borrow I’m browsing titles at used book stores and visiting Chapters, spending hours among the shelves.
Yesterday I was daydreaming, staring idly at my bookshelf above my computer. I keep my favourite mental health books within arms reach at all times when blogging. Anyway, I realized that I haven’t recommended many of my favourite books to all of you yet. These books have been crucial to my survival. Go find them, buy them, sign them out, and see if they speak to your heart as they speak to mine:
Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws by Kate Bornstein
- I’ve definitely talked about this one before. I swear I talk about it every day. It is THAT amazing. A real-life guide to coping in this crazy world.
The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon - Another major favourite of mine. Andrew has been through the darkest of times and is one survivor I couldn’t respect more.
Trauma Through a Child’s Eyes: Awakening the Ordinary Miracle of Healing by Peter A. Levine and Maggie Kline - This book really helped me become more compassionate to the younger self in me. It explains how trauma isn’t always as dramatic as a plane crash, especially for children. Whether or not you identify as someone who deals with trauma, I still recommend this book as a window to understanding childhood.
Pain: The Fifth Vital Sign: The Science and Culture of Why We Hurt by Marni Jackson - This book is SO fascinating! I especially recommend this book if you’re dealing with chronic pain, which often accompanies depression. This book taught me so much about why we feel pain, what pain is, and our society’s treatment options when it comes to coping.
Undercurrents: A Life Beneath the Surface by Martha Manning - This was the first book to ever help me put words to my suffering. I swear, I’ve copied down half of this book in my journal because it’s so full of amazing quotes. It’s written by a therapist who finds herself dealing with severe depression. I must reread this soon.
Telling: A Memoir of Rape and Recovery by Patricia Weaver Franscisco - A must-read for anyone dealing with sexual abuse. I would never have spoken up to anyone about my abuse if it weren’t for this book. READ IT!
The Obsidian Mirror: Healing from Childhood Sexual Abuse by Louise M. Wisechild - This book describes the healing process through metaphor, better than any other book I’ve ever read. There are some graphic descriptions of sexual abuse, but the fierce bravery of this entire book will heal more than it triggers. I read it last year and I already want to read it again
Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think by Dennis Greenberger and Christine Padesky - I haven’t finished this work-book yet but it’s the best one out there for cognitive behavioural therapy. I’ve heard it recommended by many many therapists. A must-read/do if you struggle with perfectionism, talking yourself out of stuff, and depression overall. Changing your thinking works helps you feel better immediately.
Those are my top book recommendations for you for now. I also recommend checking out my Books page for some great fiction titles. I can talk about books for ever and ever and ever so if you feel like recommending some titles in the comments here please do!
Unrelated: my previous post was my 150th post! Yay for milestones!
Erin Schulthies is the writer of Daisies and Bruises, a blog about "finding her way one step and one word at a time". After losing most of her youth to severe depression, she decided that since death was no longer an option, she had to find a way to live. This is it.
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