Depression isn’t just about “being sad” and when you have anxiety you can’t exactly just “get over it”. Easy for people to say who haven’t experienced either one, let alone both of them together. Don’t those kinds of comments make you angry? If only it were so simple. One thing that really helps me learn more, understand more and just not feel alone in my experience, are reading about anxiety and depression.
While I do find statistical information interesting, I don’t tend to read “research-heavy” materials very often at all unless I have a specific question or are wondering about stats. Instead, I like a good mix of funny (having a sense of humor really helps me at times), inspirational stories from people who have the experience and how-to books. I’m kind of a workbook nerd too but I’ll save those for a different post.
The following is a current list of my favorite books that help my depression and anxiety. I love them all for different reasons and I hope you find one that at least one that interests you.
From heartbreaking to hilarious and everything in between this is Lawson’s memoir about her struggle with depression, anxiety, avoidant personality disorder and more; yet vowing to not let it rule her. I appreciate the humor in darkness when it’s coming from somebody who knows the depths of hell that mental illness can bring. It’s definitely not the same coming from people without experience but Jenny Lawson definitely knows what she’s talking about and it’s pretty easy to relate to her.
Memoirs are definitely my favorite genre to read. I love to read inspirational stories about people who have gone (or are going) through the same things I’m struggling with. It reminds me I’m not alone and that can be pretty comforting when I’m feeling down and alone. It helps me realize that life can and does go on and that I might as well make an effort to make the most of it while I’m here.
When I was 16 I definitely wasn’t feeling that way. I wanted to die every single day for quite some time. Thank God I didn’t have the courage to do it because I find that once in a while, I’ll find myself thinking, “I’m so glad to be alive today. There’s so much to be happy about.” I’m telling you not all days are like this, but had I ended my life when I felt like I wanted to, I wouldn’t have ever had those thoughts and I think that’s why they’re so beautiful to me today. It shows me how far I’ve come.
This book will speak your language if you struggle with depression. Some say it may be too dark for those who are currently depressed but I’ve always felt like the more real and raw something is, the more it comforts me. Is that weird? I just want the truth; no sugarcoating. It might be hard to get through and I might “break” a little at times, but ultimately I’m better for it – kind of like a tough therapy session. Reading things like this really show me that somebody else out there really understands the pain associated with depression. It is not something you can get over and it is not just sadness. If both of those were true depression wouldn’t even exist, but it does and it’s everywhere.
I think this is my favorite book of all time. It’s not geared towards depression or anxiety per se’ but I love the bluntness and sassiness that is Jen Sincero. This book isn’t just for people who are struggling mentally, it’s motivating for everyone! And let’s face it, when we’re feeling depressed, sometimes it’s nice when people give it to me straight (while not being an asshole of course). It’s filled with advice, personal stories, exercises and some swearing. I don’t get turned off by swearing and some of hers made me laugh out loud but I understand it’s not for everyone, so I wanted to mention it. I listened to the audiobook and I highly recommend it! After I listened to it, I wanted a hard copy because there were so many takeaways I wanted to dogear and highlight.
As soon as I heard this was coming to Netflix I knew I had to read the book first and I’m glad I did. I cried while reading the book and I sobbed while watching the Netflix series. Why? Because I could relate to the main character in so many ways. It really brought me back to my own high school years. I appreciate how raw it is. It felt so real to me and very close to my personal experiences. I completely understood her despair and why she wanted to kill herself. I think this is another book everyone should read. It’s perfect for those struggling and those who know somebody who is to help them understand.
My absolute favorite part was the episode where her friends showed up at her door to support her. That’s all I ever wanted from my friends and something I never got. It made me cry so hard. But it also made me happy because now people were seeing this and may realize that that’s what they should do if they have a friend who is hurting.
I love that this story tells the stories of non-perfect kids and their imperfect families. You know? Sometimes adults think that school years are the best years and sometimes kids think that their friends’ families are perfect and that is so not true for some people. Some people hated how detailed this was but as a sexual assault survivor with imperfect parents, I could 100% relate. I honestly think this is something *everyone should read or watch at some point.
*If you are a sexual assault survivor, you are the exception. I know how hard certain situations are to watch and I wouldn’t recommend watching this unless you have a good amount of support around you because it might make you crumble as it did for me. I didn’t mind at all because it made me realize that I am still healing, even 20 years later.
This is just a bonus that everyone should read to help them understand themselves and their relationships with other people.
This book was recommended to me several times before I actually read it. I thought there’s no way I’m reading some silly book about secrets to lasting love. Once I started reading the book, I was sold.
Basically, Chapman outlines the five love languages which are ways we express and experience love with the people in our lives.
The Five Love Languages:
- receiving gifts
- quality time
- words of affirmation
- acts of service (devotion)
- physical touch
I found it so fascinating to learn about these and then I started to figure out what kind of love language the people I’m close to “speak”. It really is helpful to understand your relationships with people and learn how to serve them in a way that they’ll respond best to. You’ll also learn your own love language which is helpful to share with those you are close to so they know what you respond best to.
*Note: I’m a little acts of service and a lot of quality time.
Shameless plug for my own book but I believe it’s helpful. I have received great feedback – even from my own teenagers. I’ve read so many books and memoirs about depression that I started to feel like I should write my own and share my own experiences and tips. I did that by asking myself what I was always wanting to know or wanted help with and it turned into a labor of love for sure.
If you prefer the natural methods of battling depression, this book is for you. It talks about several different ways to cope with your depression – even if it feels like it never really goes away.
I told you I liked a good mix!
Q. Have you read any of these books? What’d you think? Are there others you would recommend?