Journeys of the Mind: Transformative Literature for Mental Well-being

Reading Time: 3 minutes

It is no secret that hearing about other people’s experiences can help us understand our own. However, when it comes to sharing how we are when it comes to our mental health, many would rather not due to fear or stigma.

Books allow us to escape into another world and step into someone else’s shoes for a brief time.

If you are a bookworm looking for something new to digest with a mental health angle, then take a look at the books below. They are an interesting and authentic glimpse into the world of others.

The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath

Mentions: Suicide, Depression/Bipolar, Rape, Trauma

Sylvia Plath is a writer who took her own life not long after the publication of The Bell Jar in 1963. The book follows the tale of a young woman named Esther who ends up spiralling into bad mental health after a series of events that leave her traumatized and nearly losing her life.

The work is semi-autobiographical in nature as it mirrors Plath’s own mental health experiences and is interlaced with many real events, people, and experiences from the author’s life.

Whilst this can be a heavy read for some, it is a great glimpse into mental health conditions such as depression and bipolar II.

Unicorn: The Memoir of a Muslim Drag Queen, by Amrou Al-Kadhi

Mentions: Religion, Anxiety, Depression, Gender Identity, Sexuality

Described as a book that should be read “far and wide” by Sir Ian Mckellan, this was a memoir suggested by staff as it highlights the effect being LGBT can have on a Muslim child.

Also available as an audiobook, Unicorn follows the author through an Iraqi upbringing straight to the stage and shows how religion and gendersexuality can clash in ways that ultimately affect someone’s mental health for their lives.

Whilst informative and eye-opening, this is both emotional and laugh out loud funny.

Girl Interrupted, by Susanna Kaysen

Mentions: Schizophrenia, Nervous Breakdown, Self-Harm, Sociopathy

If this makes you think of the Angelina Jolie film, then you are completely right. This book is what that is based off.

Relaying the experiences of a young woman in psychiatric care who befriends several women with varying mental health conditions.

This is a tale that has been compared to Plath’s Bell Jar due to the accurate depictions of mental health and the true glimpse it gives into a number of mental illnesses.

Way of the Peaceful Warrior, by Dan Millman

Mentions: Anxiety, Mindfulness, DBT, Grounding

This book is said to have helped millions of people across the world since it was released and is a delightful book to read for those looking for grounding.

The story focuses on Dan and the events that followed when he met an older man known as Socrates, who took him on a journey of spirituality.

A book about self-awareness, mindfulness and accepting love where you can, the way of the warrior is a great book that is a must-read for anyone living with a condition that would benefit from talking therapies such as PTSD, BPD and more.

Do you have any mental health books on your shelf that are a “must-read”? Will you be devouring one of the above publications any time soon?

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