Anyone who has followed me on Instagram or read my blog will know that I love books and one of my favourite pastimes is reading. It is also one of my favourite forms of self-care and the thing that has most helped me accept, manage and improve the state of my mental health.
With that in mind, I thought I would share some recommended reading. Some fiction, some non-fiction. Some from me and some from other bloggers whose judgement I trust (but whose recommendations I’ve not got around to reading yet!).
- Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig – a frank, honest, moving account of his struggles with depression, anxiety and panic attacks, Matt Haig’s Reasons To Stay Alive is the book that changed my life. Relatable, highly readable and full of hope. It can be challenging to read as well, simply because of its frankness but I cannot recommend it enough.
- A Beautiful Place To Die by Samuel Bigglesworth – this is not one I have read myself, yet, but it was featured in ECBC’s book club and I love the sound of it. “A beautiful Place to Die is a heart-warming short story collection which will make you laugh and cry. Plunging you into the minds of outsiders of all stripes, from nine to ninety year olds, and from settings as diverse as derelict warehouses and wild woodland, these stories highlight the beauty buried in the most unlikely of places.” Who doesn’t want to read a collection of beauty, connection and hope?
- First We Make The Beast Beautiful by Sarah Wilson – I’m in the middle of reading this and I am really enjoying it. Another frank look at the realities of anxiety, this book beautifully combines personal experience and scientific research to create a new picture of anxiety. I often struggle with nonfiction but this is one I’m enjoying as it has a highly readable style.
- The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig – yep, another Matt Haig. To be honest, I could put any one (read: all) of his books on this list because Haig’s writing is so beautifully poignant and wonderfully human. The Truth Pixie, though, is short, full of hope and wisdom and highly accessible to everyone, including children. A great way in to conversations about mental health with members of the younger generations. Also it has illustrations. And talking rabbits.
- Chasing The Rainbow by Poorna Bell – this is another I haven’t got around to reading yet but I listened to an episode of Happy Place podcast with Bell where she talked a little about the book, and it was also highly recommended to me by the lovely Peter at Living With Anxiety. In the book, Bell tell’s the story of her husband’s suicide, what came before it and the grief that followed. It sounds like an incredible read and I was certainly moved listening to her talk on the podcast.
- The Self Care Project by Jayne Hardy – I recently finished listening to the audio book of The Self Care Project, as well as dipping in and out of it on my kindle, and it’s a very relatable book which really challenges you to think about self care, puts to bed some misconceptions and offers some great advice and exercises. Hardy is the founder of The Blurt Foundation (which you should definitely go and check out if you don’t already know it) and is a truly inspirational woman. The Self Care Project is just one of the latest bits of her incredible work around mental health.
I could go on and on and on and on – there are so many incredible books out there to offer hope, inspiration, encouragement and support. I hope you pick up one of the books above and find something of value in it’s pages. They really can be the best of friends.
Do you have any recommended reads to share? Leave them in the comments below!
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health then please don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to someone. You are not alone and help is available. By opening up and starting the conversation we can move forward together and look to a mentally healthy future. Below are links to a range of fantastic organisations that can provide information, advice and services.
The Samaritans – http://www.samaritans.org
Mind – http://www.mind.org.uk
Young Minds – http://www.youngminds.org.uk
Papyrus (prevention of young suicide) – https://www.papyrus-uk.org
Time to Change – http://www.time-to-change.org.uk
Rethink Mental Illness – http://www.rethink.org
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – https://www.afsp.org
Please do not struggle alone.