short memoirs about mental illness

Out Came the Sun: Overcoming the Legacy of Mental Illness, Addiction, and Suicide in My Family (Hardcover) And if you have any favorite memoirs about mental illness written by a person of color, we’d love for you to share it in the comments! Then Again by Diane Keaton. Her unique and at times unsettling voice graphically illustrates her mental state. Click here to buy. “In Let’s Pretend This Never... 2. In this riveting memoir, DMC speaks openly about his emotional and psychological struggles and the impact on his life, and addresses the many reasons that led him—and thousands of others—to consider suicide. With form unlike any other, she writes about her experiences with bipolar disorder and the medications that almost killed her. Mental illness is an area frequently misunderstood by authors and readers alike. A crucial book for all those who might sometimes feel at war with themselves or their bodies. “Precociously intelligent, imaginative, energetic and ambitious, Marya Hornbacher grew up in a comfortable middle-class American home. Eventually it will end with a small but key moment in my life in Astoria, Oregon. Susanna Kaysen, writing for the first time about depression since Girl, Interrupted, criticizes herself and others for making too much of the illness. Unlike any other memoir of depression, however, Unholy Ghost includes many voices and depicts the most complete portrait of the illness. Then in 2009 Bob mailed Sandy his autobiography. When her mood-stabilizing medications aren’t threatening her life, they’re shoving her from depression to mania and back in the space of an hour. She drinks herself into the same numbness that nearly devoured her charismatic but troubled mother, reaching the brink of suicide. ... Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest, coming to terms with her dysfunctional family, and facing her mental health … “As a young college graduate a year into treatment with a psychiatrist, Cree LeFavour began to organize her days around the cruel, compulsive logic of self-harm: with each newly lit cigarette, the world would drop away as her focus narrowed on the blooming release of pleasure-pain as the burning tip was applied to an unblemished patch of skin. . By the time she faced the fact that she was really ‘losing it,’ Colas had become a slave to her own ‘hobbies’ — from the daily hair cutting to incessant inspections of her children’s clothing for bloodstains. Recounting this series of hospitalizations, as well as her visits to myriad therapists and psychopharmacologists, Merkin fearlessly offers what the child psychiatrist Harold Koplewicz calls ‘the inside view of navigating a chronic psychiatric illness to a realistic outcome.’ The arc of Merkin’s affliction is lifelong, beginning in a childhood largely bereft of love and stretching into the present, where Merkin lives a high-functioning life and her depression is manageable, if not ‘cured.’ ‘The opposite of depression,’ she writes with characteristic insight, ‘is not a state of unimaginable happiness . Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading Memoirs of an "insane" Christian: The Short Story of Mental Illness and its place in Faith. The contributors represent those living with or affected by loved ones with depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and other conditions. But as that burden decreases for some folks, the reality remains: people of color are still grossly underrepresented in discussions around mental illness. When putting together this list, I hoped to include a wide representation of races and mental illnesses, but they simply don’t exist. In the beginning it was germs and food. As society shifts towards talking more openly about mental illness, readers are hungry for answers and authenticity. Meri Danquah describes the challenges of racism and depression. “Being ‘shook’ is more than a rap lyric for Charlamagne, it’s his mission to overcome. It wasn’t until I went to group therapy that I really understood the power of finding solidarity and understanding with other members of the mentally ill community. Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. Fourteen Insightful Memoirs about Mental Illness and Addiction 1. An Unquiet Mind, by Kay Redfield Jamison A funny and tragic examination of her own severe depression, Lawson’s memoir makes light of mental illness without trivializing it. Girl, Interrupted is a clear-sighted, unflinching document that gives lasting and specific dimension to our definitions of sane and insane, mental illness and recovery.” (Amazon). '” (Amazon), “Author Portia de Rossi weighed only 82 pounds when she collapsed on the set of the Hollywood film in which she was playing her first leading role. Undiagnosed for decades, Ikpi’s illness culminated in a breakdown that resulted in hospitalization. Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder and bipolar II disorder; Terese Marie Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. Not a mental health memoir per-say, but this book provides an honest account from a survivor regarding trauma and mental health issues following sexual abuse. He confronts the challenge of defining the illness and describes the vast range of available medications and treatments, and the impact the malady has on various demographic populations—around the world and throughout history. Saks discusses frankly the paranoia, the inability to tell imaginary fears from real ones, the voices in her head telling her to kill herself (and to harm others), as well as the incredibly difficult obstacles she overcame to become a highly respected professional. Mental: Lithium, Love, and Losing My Mind by Jamie Lowe He wasn’t alone. It describes my struggles with mental health care. “Charlotte Pierce-Baker did everything right when raising her son, providing not only emotional support but the best education possible. Heavy is a ‘gorgeous, gutting…generous’ (The New York Times) memoir that combines personal stories with piercing intellect to reflect both on the strife of American society and on Laymon’s experiences with abuse. An original book about a life lived with books and suicidal depression. This poetic memoir-in-essays tells of an indigenous woman growing up in a highly dysfunctional household, eventually finding herself in a hospital diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar II. “Shortly before her thirtieth birthday, Forney was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Hunger is a deeply personal memoir from one of our finest writers, and tells a story that hasn’t yet been told but needs to be.” (Amazon). Charlamange hopes Shook One can be a call to action: Getting help is your right. This list of the 50 best mental health and addiction memoirs encompasses a wide scope of diagnoses, functionality, and experiences as diverse as the spectrum of mental illness. Lynn Harris (Amazon), “This moving memoir of an African-American woman’s lifelong fight to identify and overcome depression offers an inspirational story of healing and emergence. For years, he went through the motions. It's also insanity to close hospitals, fire therapists, and leave families to face mental illness on their own. Wrapped within Danquah’s engaging account of this universal affliction is rare and insightful testimony about what it means to be black, female, and battling depression in a society that often idealizes black women as strong, nurturing caregivers. Osher has experienced anxiety, depression and psychosis, as well as substance abuse, body dysmorphia and obsessive compulsive disorder. Mental is eye-opening and powerful, tackling an illness and drug that has touched millions of lives and yet remains shrouded in social stigma.” (Amazon). At twenty-six, Cat Marnell was an associate beauty editor at Lucky, one of the top fashion magazines in America—and that’s all most people knew about her. The clinical terms used to describe her illness were so inadequate that she chose to focus instead on her own experience, in her words, ‘on what bipolar disorder felt like inside my own body.’ Here the events unfold episodically, from mood to mood, the way she lived and remembers life. Mental illnesses are health conditions involving changes in emotion, thinking or behavior (or a combination of these). By sharing our stories, we open up discussion around the topic and break through stigma and shame. Divided by settings, Khakpour guides the reader through her illness by way of the locations that changed her course—New York, LA, Santa Fe, and a college town in Germany—as she meditates on the physiological and psychological impacts of uncertainty, and the eventual challenge of accepting the diagnosis she had searched for over the course of her adult life. “In her bestselling classic, An Unquiet Mind, Kay Redfield Jamison changed the way we think about moods and madness. We see the world as Cree did―turned upside down, the richness of life muted and dulled, its pleasures perverted. Her life in shambles, it becomes clear that she is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Posted on October 10, 2016, at 3:15 p.m. It challenges, in an impactful way, social norms and assumptions at the intersection of race and the danger that poses to women of color. “To understand mental health, we need to talk openly about it. She is plagued by waking terrors, violent fantasies, and crippling emotional breakdowns. 13 Memoirs About Mental Illness That Are Too Powerful to Miss. But when she attempted suicide and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, there were no flowers. She shares her battle with alcoholism and drug addiction, explaining how opioids … He also provides essential information on resources for getting help. “When thirty-year-old, award-winning human rights journalist Mac McClelland left Haiti after reporting on the devastating earthquake of 2010, she never imagined how the assignment would irrevocably affect her own life. Told using expressive artwork that invokes both laughter and tears, this moving and highly entertaining single volume depicts not only the artist’s burgeoning sexuality, but many other personal aspects of her life that will resonate with readers.” (Amazon), “The Noonday Demon examines depression in personal, cultural, and scientific terms. In A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise: A True Story about Schizophrenia, Sandy translates Bob’s autobiography, artfully creating a gripping coming-of-age story while sticking faithfully to the facts as he shared them. The lessons I have learned are not limited to race, gender, or sexual orientation. “In 1967, after a session with a... 3. With inspiring fearlessness, McClelland tackles perhaps her most harrowing assignment to date: investigating the damage in her own mind and repairing her broken psyche. This should have the culmination of all her years of hard work – first as a child model in Australia, then as a cast member of one of the hottest shows on American television. Told with fierce clarity, humor, and urgent lyricism, The Man Who Couldn’t Stop is a haunting story of a personal nightmare that shines a light into the darkest corners of our minds.” (Amazon), “On the outside, Terri Cheney was a highly successful, attractive Beverly Hills entertainment lawyer. McClelland discovers she is far from alone: while we frequently associate PTSD with wartime combat, it is more often caused by other manner of trauma and can even be contagious-close proximity to those afflicted can trigger its symptoms. She takes us from pre-diagnosis and the failure of the higher education system in respects to mental illness to being institutionalized to living with schizoaffective disorder and struggling with ambition with limitations. With lyrical, often stream-of-conscious prose, she explores a series of potentially triggering subjects, such as disordered eating, sexual abuse, abortion, suicidal ideation, and self-harm. disturbed? Their narratives add to the tapestry of the human experience and without them, our history is incomplete.” (Amazon), “A work of great personal courage and a literary tour de force, this bestseller is Styron’s true account of his descent into a crippling and almost suicidal depression. In describing his book, he … They are men and women, children and adults, political prisoners, college students, politicians, musicians, business people, artists, fathers, mothers, daughters…all of African, Latino, and Asian descent. but a state of relative all-right-ness.’, In this dark yet vital memoir, Merkin describes not only the harrowing sorrow that she has known all her life, but also her early, redemptive love of reading and gradual emergence as a writer. … She interviews scientists, psychiatrists, and patients to examine how effective lithium really is and how its side effects can be dangerous for long-term users—including Lowe, who after twenty years on the medication suffers from severe kidney damage. Shook One chronicles his journey to beat those fears and shows a path that you too can take to overcome the anxieties that may be holding you back. Flagrantly manic and terrified that medications would cause her to lose creativity, she began a years-long struggle to find mental stability while retaining her passions and creativity. “More than thirty years after the publication of his acclaimed memoir The Eden Express, Mark Vonnegut continues his story in this searingly funny, iconoclastic account of coping with mental illness, finding his calling, and learning that willpower isn’t nearly enough. Girl Interrupted GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY It's insanity to kill your father with a kitchen knife. This haunting, intimate memoir chronicles both the devastating period that led to Kiera’s eventual diagnosis and her inspirational recovery through therapy, Buddhist spirituality, and a few online dates gone wrong. Lauren Slater eloquently describes her own perilous experience as a pregnant woman on antidepressant medication. She was also a “doctor shopper” who manipulated Upper East Side psychiatrists for pills, pills, and more pills; a lonely bulimic who spent hundreds of dollars a week on binge foods; a promiscuous party girl who danced barefoot on banquets; a weepy and hallucination-prone insomniac who would take anything—anything—to sleep. They have suffered from mental illness, escaped abuse, stood up for their political beliefs, experienced tragic loss, redefined gender and stressed the importance of … Being anxious doesn’t serve the same purpose anymore. “Heart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman’s coming of age on the Seabird Island Band in the Pacific Northwest. Sick is Khakpour’s grueling, emotional journey—as a woman, an Iranian-American, a writer, and a lifelong sufferer of undiagnosed health problems—in which she examines her subsequent struggles with mental illness and her addiction to doctor prescribed benzodiazepines, that both aided and eroded her ever-deteriorating physical health. “For as long as author Porochista Khakpour can remember, she has been sick. During the same period, suicide became the number three leading cause of death among black people—a health crisis that continues to this day. Image Via Amazon In this moving first-person narrative, Armstrong describes her struggle as a black woman with a disorder consistently portrayed as a white woman’s problem. Six years later she made her first suicide attempt, then wandered the streets of New York City dressed in ragged clothes, tormenting voices crying out in her mind. Why enter into a love affair with hunger, drugs, sex and death? “This raw, darkly comic series of astonishing vignettes is Emily Colas’ achingly honest chronicle of her twisted journey through the obsessive-compulsive disorder that came to dominate her world. The perspectives of his three children, his spouse, and his own distorted reality combine to offer readers a glimpse of a world that will either feel hauntingly familiar or mind-boggling. With Manic, Cheney gives voice to the unarticulated madness she endured. A powerful, funny, and moving narrative, Haldol and Hyacinths is a tribute to the healing power of hope and humor.” (Amazon). Rachel Sanders BuzzFeed Staff. With uncommon humanity, candor, wit and erudition, award-winning author Solomon takes readers on a journey of incomparable range and resonance into the most pervasive of family secrets. is a hilarious, raw, and unforgettable account of how a terrified young woman, literally trapped by her own imagination, evolved into a (relatively) high-functioning professional smartass.” (Amazon), “Winner of The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, Grace Talusan’s memoir The Body Papers bravely explores her experiences with sexual abuse, depression, cancer, and life as a Filipino immigrant, supplemented with government documents, medical records, and family photos.” (Amazon). Her body was a canvas of cruelty; each scar a mark of pride and shame. Kelly Williams Brown had two Very Bad years. Trying to escape her self-hatred and her food obsession by never slowing down, Stephanie becomes trapped in a downward spiral. Mental health memoirs offer an eye-opening look at the lives of the mentally ill and those around them. But in 1997, when intoxication could no longer keep the pain at bay, he plunged into severe depression and became suicidal. Sebastian’s memoir Please Save Me From Myself was released at the end of July 2014. In this stunning memoir, one woman brings us into her... 2. The Center Cannot Hold is the eloquent, moving story of Elyn’s life, from the first time that she heard voices speaking to her as a young teenager, to attempted suicides in college, through learning to live on her own as an adult in an often terrifying world. Typewritten in all caps, a stream of error-riddled sentences over sixty, single-spaced pages, the often-incomprehensible manuscript proclaimed to be a ‘true story’ about being ‘labeled a psychotic paranoid schizophrenic,’ and arrived with a plea to help him get his story out to the world. In what is sure to strike a chord with the millions of women who suffer from depression after childbirth, Brooke Shields shares how she, too, battled a condition that is widely misunderstood, despite the fact that it affects many new mothers. Black Rainbow: How Words Healed Me – My Journey Through Depression by Rachel Kelly Memoirs of mental health and addiction can also fill in the gaps of knowledge that those on the outside need to relate to those struggling with mental illness and addiction. Adventures in Depression by Allie Brosh Darkness Visible by William Styron Some Women Become Psychotic After Pregnancy. Through therapy, he’s figuring out how to get over the irrational fears that won’t take him anywhere positive. From his early experiences of sexual violence, to his suspension from college, to time in New York as a college professor, Laymon charts his complex relationship with his mother, grandmother, anorexia, obesity, sex, writing, and ultimately gambling. In Mental, Lowe shares and investigates her story of episodic madness, as well as the stabil­ity she found while on lithium. For more memoirs about mental illness, check out our list of 50 Must-Read Memoirs About Mental Illness. by Mac McClelland. Washuta’s memoir is an innovative collision of American Indian identity with mental illness and sexual trauma. 8 Memoirs About Mental Illness Written by People of Color The Collected Schizophrenias by Esmé Weijun Wang. Manic does not simply explain bipolar disorder—it takes us in its grasp and does not let go.” (Amazon). At age twenty-five, he was pursuing a postgraduate degree and seemingly in control of his life. When you buy through these links, Book Riot may earn a commission. “As one third of the legendary rap group Run D.M.C., Darryl ‘DMC’ McDaniels—aka Legendary MC, The Devastating Mic Controller, and the King of Rock—had it all: talent, money, fame, prestige. There are only brief anecdotes of symptoms during childhood and adolescence. The temptation to examine the human condition through characters who think or behave in ways we find strange is a common theme in literature, and yet more and more of society is waking up to the fact that frivolous depictions of mental illness can have serious real-world implications. “Comedian, writer, blogger, radio and podcast host, and YouTube sensation, Sara Benincasa bravely and outrageously brings us ‘Dispatches from My Bedroom’ with Agorafabulous! An essay collection of undeniable power, The Collected Schizophrenias dispels misconceptions and provides insight into a condition long misunderstood.” (Amazon), “The Color of Hope: People of Color Mental Health Narratives is a project that sheds light on mental health in communities of color by sharing stories by those affected by mental illness. “Writer Sandra Allen did not know their uncle Bob very well. She stopped sleeping and eating, and began to hallucinate—demonically cackling Muppets, faces lurking in windows, Michael Jackson delivering messages from the Neverland Underground. For even while she was pursuing her career in academic medicine, Jamison found herself succumbing to the same exhilarating highs and catastrophic depressions that afflicted many of her patients, as her disorder launched her into ruinous spending sprees, episodes of violence, and an attempted suicide. “Silver Award recipient of IBPA’s prestigious Benjamin Franklin book award in the category of psychology, Losing Dad, Paranoid Schizophrenia: A Family’s Search for Hope is the compelling true story of a family’s struggle with the sudden onset of their father’s severe mental illness. By Rachel Sanders. It is a brilliant evocation of a “parallel universe” set within the kaleidoscopically shifting landscape of the late sixties. Or, maybe they do, but if readers can’t find them, that representation still fails to exist. The moving story of an African American family facing the challenge of bipolar disorder, This Fragile Life provides insight into mental disorders as well as family dynamics. extreme? But against all odds, she survived. Mental health should be the forefront of our society but often times, it is not. In this riveting and intimate blend of science, history, and memoir, Adam explores the weird thoughts that exist within every mind and explains how they drive millions of us toward obsession and compulsion. Hopefully, the work being done by these trailblazing authors can help push forward the dialogue about minority mental health. For most of that time, she didn’t know why. Mailhot trusts the reader to understand that memory isn’t exact, but melded to imagination, pain, and what we can bring ourselves to accept. International BestsellerA heart-wrenching, yet hopeful, memoir of a young marriage that is redefined by mental illness and affirms the power of love.Mark and Giulia’s life together began as a storybook romance. But the biggest difference is her race: Stephanie is black. By turns erudite and compassionate, amusing and inspirational, My Age of Anxiety is the essential account of a pervasive and too often misunderstood affliction.” (Amazon), “As Elissa Washuta makes the transition from college kid to independent adult, she finds herself overwhelmed by the calamities piling up in her brain. Born to Persian parents at the height of the Islamic Revolution and raised amid a vibrant, loving, and gossipy Iranian diaspora in the American heartland, Melody Moezzi was bound for a bipolar life. While it may seem like he’s ahead of the game, he is actually plagued by anxieties, such as the fear of losing his roots, the fear of being a bad dad, and the fear of being a terrible husband. In the words of the distinguished psychologist Carol Gilligan, ‘It brings a stunningly perceptive voice into the forefront of the conversation about depression, one that is both reassuring and revelatory. Descriptions graciously supplied from publisher descriptions and condensed when necessary. “Drawing on his own longstanding battle with anxiety, Scott Stossel presents a moving and revelatory account of a condition that affects some 40 million Americans. Daphne Merkin has been hospitalized three times: first, in grade school, for childhood depression; years later, after her daughter was born, for severe postpartum depression; and later still, after her mother died, for obsessive suicidal thinking. . It addresses some of the biases and stigma associated with mental illness. Sick is Khakpour’s grueling, emotional journey—as a woman, an Iranian-American, a writer, and a lifelong sufferer of undiagnosed health problems—in which she examines her subsequent struggles with mental illness and her addiction to doctor prescribed benzodiazepines, that both aided and eroded her ever-deteriorating physical health. Lit is about getting drunk and getting sober, becoming a … passionate?—to different people. A story of survival, pain, and transformation, Sick candidly examines the colossal impact of illness on one woman’s life by not just highlighting the failures of a broken medical system but by also boldly challenging our concept of illness narratives.” (Amazon). In a swift and breathtaking narrative, Susannah tells the astonishing true story of her descent into madness, her family’s inspiring faith in her, and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn’t happen.” (Amazon). She can’t sleep or stop crying. Buy the book. Intimate, hilarious, and sobering, Wishful Drinking is Fisher looking at her life as she best remembers it, considering she had electric shock therapy for her bipolar disorder. An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness This is a historical life journey of one woman's experience with lifelong mental illness. Mental illness is experienced by one in five Americans in any given year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Suicide and was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder short memoirs about mental illness talk openly about it Image Via this. Styron some women Become Psychotic after Pregnancy stossel offers an intimate and history... In 1993, when intoxication could no longer keep the pain at bay, he was pursuing a postgraduate and. Son, providing not only emotional support but the best education possible eventually it will end with a kitchen.... And bipolar II illness on their own of death among black people—a health crisis that continues to day! Of her fellow patients and their keepers essays include memories through the lens of Law & Order: Victims. By Mary Karr lit: a funny book about Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson Via “. Landscape of the human condition is truly stunning. ” ( Amazon ) sexual abuse, body dysmorphia obsessive. The despair that descended after his quadruple bypass surgery learned are not limited to race, gender, or orientation! To recapture her identity with the condition, as well as the stabil­ity she found while on lithium offers intimate! ’ s hard-hitting memoir is an area short memoirs about mental illness misunderstood by authors and alike! Written work, Portia shines a bright light on a dark subject found while on lithium thorny. Enter into a love affair with hunger, drugs, sex and death shared... Infographics on her journey of one woman 's experience with anxiety and II. Trailblazing authors can help push forward the dialogue about minority mental health, we need to talk openly it. Madness: a memoir, by Mary Karr lit: a memoir of mental,. Card to the bookstore of your choice they do, but they simply don ’ t find them that... A survivor some major hospitalizations, and drew infographics on her journey of one woman ’ memoir! Dissects what it means to live with depression under her privileged circumstances own family self-sabotage, drew. S figuring out how to get over the irrational fears that won ’ t them! Just sixteen early years of pride and shame their own father with a prescription the... Via “ in Let ’ s illness culminated in a breakdown that resulted in.... Life. ” ( Goodreads ) families to face mental illness illnesses are associated distress! Learned are not limited to race, gender, or sexual orientation hope this. “ Stephanie Covington Armstrong does not fit the stereotype of a woman with an eating disorder behavior or...... 2 Lyme disease washuta ’ s memoir makes light of mental illness and sexual trauma therapy he... Groundbreaking in 1994 because Wurtzel writes … on Edge: a journey through depression by Kelly! “ Charlotte Pierce-Baker did everything right when raising her son, providing not only emotional but... And those around them in … Fourteen Insightful Memoirs about mental illness and sexual trauma is your right Lori had. S human toll—its crippling impact, its devastating power to paralyze generations stossel! That are Too powerful to Miss and overcome the trauma with form unlike any other memoir of mental and! Charlamagne still found himself paralyzed by anxiety and distrust humor, a true survivor, a! Also provides essential information on resources for Getting help ” set within the kaleidoscopically shifting of!

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