My Favourite Books That Have Helped My Mental Health

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For me, when it comes to learning more about not only my own mental health struggles with the subject as a whole I like to take my comfort from books. The online space is of course, wonderful and there are so many awesome people sharing their story which has been incredibly helpful in raising awareness and I know I wouldn’t feel so safe talking about my struggles online if it weren't for those people. But I take so much solace in books and these are all the books that I’ve learnt so much from in the past few years.

REASONS TO STAY ALIVE - MATT HAIG

This is such an important book on mental health and I read it at a time that I needed it so much more than I could have ever imagined. I was struggling with my OCD a lot but was still understanding what it was like to go through a rough patch as when you’re in the throws of it then you always feel like it’s never going to end and you’re never going to feel ‘normal’ again. Reasons To Stay Alive is a beautifully written book all about how wonderful life can be as well as what it’s like to go through a mental health breakdown, the way Haig writes is so brutally honest but his words never feel invasive which is cannot be an easy balance to strike. This is a book that I’d recommend anyone reading, whether or not they struggle with mental health issues as there is so much to be taken away from it.

IT’S NOT HOW GOOD YOU ARE, IT’S HOW GOOD YOU WANT TO BE - PAUL ARDEN

Technically, this isn’t a book about mental health but it’s always one that gives me a boost when I need it. Especially with my work and working for yourself as it can take a real toll on how you feel about yourself as it’s all too easy to constantly compare yourself to what everyone else is doing. When it comes to creative books usually I find them a little too whimsical and not realistic at all but anything I’ve read by Paul Arden is so honest but is still somehow super inspiring which I absolutely love. These are great books as you can pick them up and put them down whenever you please and you can dip in and out of them whenever you feel in the mood. The author also has another awesome book in the same vein as this called Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite which is a brilliant read if you want help in switching up your thought and idea process.

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WILD - CHERYL STRAYED

Again, not a book directly about mental health but one that was such a comfort for my busy mind. I’ve recently finished Gilmore Girls and this book is mentioned which made me want to include it in this post as it made me remember just how much I loved it. Not only is Wild an incredibly inspiring story, brutally honest but still so inspiring and I’d recommend it to anyone but what Wild is for me is an explanation of why being outside can be so good for us. Getting outside is something that helps my mental health an incredible amount, I’m so lucky that I get to be outside every single day with my dogs and it’s not something that I take for granted at all. Whenever my mind feels like it’s going into overdrive and it’s painfully busy getting outside can really help me slow down my thoughts a little bit, it’s doesn’t fix things but it certainly helps me a lot and Wild always reminds me of the beauty of getting outside.

QUIET - SUSAN CAIN

Being an introvert is something I’d never even heard of until I got into my twenties, but as soon as I did it felt like a switch had been flicked on in my brain. Being an introvert has absolutely nothing to with your mental health but for me, because I didn’t quite understand what made me tick it was effecting me mentally. I always felt like I was just some sort of weirdo who couldn’t be around people normally and would rather stay at home than go on a night out but I just get my energy in a different way than other people and there is nothing wrong with that. Quiet is such a good book if you not only want to understand more about being an introvert but how we connect with other humans in general whether they’re also introverts but extroverts too. It's a book based on a lot of facts but it's not too heavy and still easy enough to digest.

MAD GIRL - BRYONY GORDON

As well as Reasons To Stay Alive this book from the incredible Bryony Gordon has helped me an incredible amount. Despite going into therapy for my OCD I never quite understood it until I read this book and it was like Bryony had reached inside my brain and put it into her book in an easy to understand format. So often there is a lot of smoke and mirror around mental health and whilst people can be saying a lot they’re often not saying anything at all and that’s not helpful to anybody. Without this book, I would have no idea how my brain works and how to tackle my OCD when it gets bad and it feels like it’s suffocating my life and I don’t think I’d be in the place I am now when it comes to coping with it. If you struggle with OCD or know someone who struggles then this is such an important book to read as it breaks down the barriers on an illness that are typically avoided.

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what are your favourite books about mental health?