I am a big lover of literature, though recently, ironically because of my mental health, I haven’t read as much. But I do want to share some of my favourite books featuring mental illnesses.
1. It’s Kind of a Funny Story – Ned Vizzini
This has probably got to be one of my all time favourite books. Ned Vizzini himself suffered from depression and sadly committed suicide a few years ago. I don’t know a single person who hasn’t enjoyed this book in some way. This book follows a teenager, Craig, as he struggles to cope with the pressures of his school and eventually gets admitted to a Psychiatric ward. There are so many aspects that I love of this book. Not only does it portray depression in a realistic way, but it’s incredibly funny and not a depressing read one bit. It has some lovely quotes to follow by, not necessarily those really beautiful ones but ones that are still very meaningful, and it’s language is actually pretty simple so makes an easy read.
2. Am I normal yet? – Holly Bourne
This book is the first book in the trilogy by Holly Bourne. I have yet to read the other two and I am thoroughly looking forward to getting around to reading them after this book. I feel a lot of books deal with depression and while I don’t think that’s a bad thing, I feel other mental illnesses aren’t always written about.
Am I normal Yet? is about another teenager, Evie, who suffers with generalised anxiety disorder and OCD. I am so pleased to see OCD used in a fictional book. While Evie does state something about her OCD being a the common OCD (the fear of germs and bacteria), I feel it is well portrayed. Bourne has managed to portray OCD as life destroying as it can be and not just this simple hatred for things being out of place.
This book is also set in a Britain, so I found this relatable on a whole new level. It was so nice to read about someone I could relate to a lot more.
While OCD and anxiety is a big theme in this book, friendship and love life also plays a big part in this book and I feel it really helps portray what having a mental illness whilst dealing with other things like friendship really is.
3. The Perks of being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
This book is always recommended in any mental health reads type thing but I still want to add it in. This book is just so beautifully written, told in letter form from yet another teenager, Charlie. What I love about this book is that a mental illness is not mentioned at all from what I can remember. I really don’t want to say too much about this book as it would be so easy to spoil parts of it but it follows Charlie as he makes friends and it is just so wonderful to watch him grow as a character.
4. All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven
This book is overhyped for some and fair enough, I can understand why in ways, but for someone who battles with Mental health issues, I loved it and found Theodore Finch, who is clearly suffering from depression from the first page, such a relatable character. Finch meets Violet Markey and the friendship soon forms. I may do a discussion on this book with spoilers to explain why I actually love it so much.
5. My Heart and Other Black Holes – Jasmine Warga
Now I cannot lie, I found this book triggering as hell and was contemplating putting it down. But I didn’t for the reason I felt it was my thoughts literally being written by someone else. And the storyline itself was rather hooking in my opinion. This book follows a teenage girl and boy, Aysel and Roman, who meet and plan to commit suicide together. From that very brief summary, you can probably see why it was triggering. However, if you’re not easily triggered by this kind of stuff, or your someone who want to read about mental illnesses and understand the thoughts, then I definitely recommend this. My only problem with this book apart from it being triggering, was I really disliked the end, but otherwise a thoroughly enjoyed it.