Mental Health Bookclub discussion

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message 1: by Book Crumpet, Inactive (last edited May 19, 2015 06:36AM) (new)

Book Crumpet | 56 comments Mod
Feel free to post any suggestions for what *you* would like to see in the group here :) x

message 2: by Sami (new)

Sami | 2 comments Do we have a suggestion thread for fiction books that deal with mental health and related issues such as autism?

I would like to suggest The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman Tell Me Your Dreams by Sidney Sheldon . I'm sure there are better ones but these are the ones I have read and felt they had a message to get across.

message 3: by Martha (new)

Martha (marthais) Yeah that would be great, if we could get together lists of books for different issues or groups of issues (e.g. anxiety, depression, bipolar etc).

Particularly if we can get ones that people have found to be a good (or bad) representations of their illness, unfortunately there's loads of books floating around that misrepresent mental health so it'd be nice to know what ones are getting it right :)

message 4: by Kassay (new)

Kassay | 33 comments I read this memoir about a month ago or so. I really recommend it, but if you're triggered easily by eating disorders or self harm, this won't be the best book. Anywho, it's called "Elena Vanishing" by Elena Dunkle.

message 5: by Carmen (new)

Carmen (carmenschultz) I got a couple suggestions that may interest people. These are more aimed at an interest in psychology, not just stories. It may not be for everyone though. I just found them of interest myself.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat - Oliver Sacks
This is enjoyable if you have an interest in neurological disorders. They're based on true stories, but are from a more clinical point of view. Oliver Sacks has a whole range of books, many of which you may enjoy if it's your style.

The Happiness Trap - Russ Harris
I haven't read this book (yet) but I've heard good things. It's non-fiction, but if you've experienced depression/anxiety it covers ACT which could be helpful. But it may just be interesting to learn new ways to think.

Marina (Sonnenbarke) (sonnenbarke) I've heard of the two books you mention, Carmen, they look very interesting. Also, I've heard about the ACT therapy, though I've never tried it myself. Anyone tried it and recommend it? For what kinds of disorders?

For some reason I had completely missed this thread, I like Martha's idea of recommending books about the different illnesses and disorders.

Here are some I really enjoyed:


The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath: this is a novel, but it's probably THE novel about depression. One of my favorites, really
Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron: a very good account of the author's depression

Bipolar Disorder

The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath: I haven't read all of the book, but some parts are really inspiring
An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison: a great memoir by one of the leading therapists specialized in the field, herself a sufferer from Bipolar Disorder

Eating Disorders

Brain over Binge by Kathryn Hansen: this is a very controversial book about the author's experience of fighting Bulimia. Not everyone will like it - in fact, some people may hate it - personally I was in between the two, that is I found it interesting in some ideas, while at the same time finding it completely preposterous. Still, it gives a different perspective on Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Coping with BPD: DBT and CBT Skills to Soothe the Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder by Blaise A. Aguirre: a very useful book with suggestions on how to overcome the different symptomps of BPD
The Buddha and the Borderline: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder through Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Buddhism, and Online Dating by Kiera Van Gelder: a great account of one woman's recovery from BPD, mainly through DBT
Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified: An Essential Guide for Understanding and Living with BPD by Robert O. Friedel: a very good book explaining the symptoms of BPD and demystifying the misconceptions and prejudices surrounding this disorder
Sometimes I Act Crazy: Living with Borderline Personality Disorder by Jerold J. Kreisman: great book on BPD
Lost in the Mirror: An Inside Look at Borderline Personality Disorder by Rick Moskovitz: this is the definitive book on BPD. You really should read it if you suffer from the disorder or have a loved one with this diagnosis

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel A. van der Kolk: a very interesting account of PTSD written by one of the most famous psychiatrists specialized in the field

Sexual Abuse

The Sexual Healing Journey: A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse by Wendy Maltz: this is a wonderful book to help people who have suffered sexual abuse, written by one of the leading therapists in the field

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, And Distress Tolerance by Matthew McKay: I keep this as a reference book, it's a self-help book with lots of exercises and good suggestions

Schema Therapy

Reinventing Your Life: The Breakthrough Program to End Negative Behavior...and Feel Great Again by Jeffrey E. Young: a great self-help book based on the principles of an interesting kind of therapy. Actually, this is interesting for everyone, not just for people who are doing Schema Therapy (I've never tried this kind of therapy, for instance)

BeatrixJolieGermanotta | 9 comments I'm not sure this is the right thread to ask but I didn't know where else to do it so here I am,of course I won't get mad if you remove or move this post:)
I was wondering if any of you has read "It's kind of a funny story" by Ned Vizzini,I've read mixed reviews about the book and I'm not sure whether it'd be worth buying or not.
Thank you in advance!

message 8: by Martha (new)

Martha (marthais) Hi Beatrix!

No problem sorry it's not clear where things can go. This thread is a bit of a mish mash of different things to be fair.

I've started a new thread for you in the Book Discussions Folder where everyone can ask for opinions or recommendations.

Alternatively you're welcome to start a thread in that folder specifically about the book. That folder's probably the best place for it to go as it's about discussing different books



message 9: by Martha (new)

Martha (marthais) Thanks to Beatrix for highlighting - it would be great if we could have this thread as general suggestions and feedback for the group as a whole. Any new ideas, or things you like or dislike about current features - it's your group so all feedback is welcome! :)

message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Hi, I know I'm new to this group and here as an ex-therapist rather than someone with actual mental health problems, but I can't help thinking that maybe those with MH issues spend too much time reading about MH issues! From my days as a therapist I know that the best form of therapy is distraction and I would advise my clients to read about whatever interests them, as long as it was as far from mental health as one can get!

message 11: by Kassay (new)

Kassay | 33 comments Hi Kit,
That actually makes a lot of sense, about not reading about MH. In other forms, I try to stay away from things that might be depressing, but never thought of doing it for books. I found myself reading MH books before I even realized I had a problem with depression. I really enjoy reading these books & only a few have made me depressed around the time I was reading them. I just thought Id share that in response

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Kassay wrote: "Hi Kit,
That actually makes a lot of sense, about not reading about MH. In other forms, I try to stay away from things that might be depressing, but never thought of doing it for books. I found mys..."

Distractions are a very important coping mechanism for any form of mental health problem. Allowing yourself to be distracted is a form of control over your problems, and taking control is the key!
It's always important to remember Kassay, that no matter what form of mental health difficulties a person has, they must be careful with what they read ... and what they watch!

message 13: by Martha (new)

Martha (marthais) I agree with you Kit, we have to be careful what we read and watch. I avoid anything to do with Horror like the plague - it's enough to screw with my head for weeks!

When it comes to mental health, I've got mixed feelings. On the one hand, I definitely agree with you that reading too much about mental health can be much the same as ruminating on one's own condition. From an anxiety perspective, getting stuck inside my own head is a huge problem, and any book that triggers off anxieties that I'll go round in circles with is definitely a bad thing.

On the other hand, some of the books I've read about mental health have actually been really good for me. I think a lot of us have had a stage in dealing with our conditions where we think that there is no one else in the world who can possibly understand how we feel - and no one else could ever feel as bad as we do right now. Talking to others in that moment can be so hard to do (and risky if we don't know how they will react). When I've felt like that and come across a book where the author or the character is also feeling that way, or also dealing with similar issues, it's been hugely validating and incredibly beneficial in showing me that I'm not alone, and there is a way through. There have also been some non fiction books that have inspired me to think about my illness in a new way, or try new things to manage it.

In that sense, I suppose my opinion is that there's a lot of mental health books (or books featuring mental health but not solely about that) that can be really helpful so I don't think we should run away from it completely. However, I do think that too much of it, and particularly certain kinds (e.g. misery memoirs!) are definitely a risk. Classic cliche - everything in moderation and it's all about balance! :)

My advice is to find out what triggers you (e.g. an intense memoir about someone suffering with severe depression might not help) and what validates you (say a memoir with some fantastic advice or fiction where a character is dealing with your illness in a positive way) so that you can incorporate the latter and use it to help you navigate your own experience. Of course it's never a 'one size fits all' and I'd hope that no one would feel under pressure to read about mental health if it was going to worsen their condition.

Thanks for starting a great conversation Kit!

message 14: by Mindy (new)

Mindy (mindytsai) Hi club moderator, for July 2019, I would like to suggest my memoir for consideration: Becoming Whole, A Memoir. It describes my experience with schizophrenia. I hope the story can help connected people like me and add one more voice for schizophrenics. Thank you!

message 15: by Kelli (new)

Kelli | 5 comments I'm not sure if this is on the TBR list or not, but if you're looking for a non-fiction book about Borderline Personality Disorder there's a memoir called "Get Me Out of Here: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder" by Rachel Reiland. I read it a long time ago, but it was pretty insightful.

message 16: by Di (new)

Di | 291 comments Mod
thank you!

RM(Alwaysdaddygirl) Griffin (alwaysdaddyprincess) (alwaydaddygirl) | 509 comments Mod
Aloha All,

All suggestions are always welcome! Anyone has any other suggestions?


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