3 Memoirs That Touch on Mental Health and the Insights You Can Get
Over the past year, mental health has become an increasingly urgent concern. With so many pandemic-related stressors plaguing us day in and day out, the need for treatment has risen significantly. However, the WHO estimates that people receiving care for specific mental health conditions globally remained at less than 50%. This highlights the need for other interventions, one of the most powerful being that of community.
Finding solidarity and support with other people who have mental health conditions can go a long way in alleviating symptoms that make it so difficult to live with.
However, this can also be difficult to do considering the physical limitations of living and working remotely. Fortunately, the written word still has the power to inspire and touch us, no matter where we are.
Here are three memoirs that touch on mental health and some of the insights you can gain from them:
1. An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison
There are a multitude of things you can learn from people with bipolar disorder, or as they were then called, manic-depressives. Dr Jamison takes her readers through the highs and lows of mania and depression, drawing from lessons from her patients and her firsthand experience with the condition. In An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness, Jamison writes;
I long ago abandoned the notion of a life without storms… It is, at the end of the day, the individual moments of restlessness, of bleakness, of strong persuasions and maddened enthusiasms, that inform one’s life, change the nature and direction of one’s work, and give final meaning and color to one’s loves and friendships.
Readers can draw insights from the dual perspective of the author, who also writes from the perspective of the healer and the healed. For anybody that has had the same struggles, this powerful book of candor and wisdom may just save and transform your life.
2. Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life by Christie Tate
Some of us believe that we are beyond repair. This may make us reluctant to attend therapy or get any help. Author Christie Tate was just like that during one of the most successful points in her life.
In Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life, she discusses how, despite topping her law school class and getting her eating disorder under control, she fantasized about her death. Psychotherapist Dr. Rosen explained that what Tate needed was a witness rather than a cure.
As any of her readers will learn, group therapy can strengthen the ability to face your most vulnerable self and to show that to others. Anybody wanting a cure can gain valuable insights from this book, which shows that to reassemble yourself into pieces that fit, you have to be willing to be broken down.
3. Buddha and the Borderline by Kiera Van Gelder
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is one of the most misunderstood mental illnesses to exist.
Author Kiera Van Gelder provides a first-person perspective of the condition. As with many mental illnesses, BPD often cascades into a slippery slope of struggles that leads to diagnosis. But if there’s anything that Buddha and the Borderline can teach readers, it’s that recovery is possible in many ways.
Gelder did it through therapy, Buddhist spirituality, and surprisingly, a little bit of online dating! Her writing style helps to make one feel less alone and is suited for anybody getting diagnosed or just wanting to understand the condition better.
These books are not only ideal for patients, friends, and family members. They can also lend an eye-opening perspective to psychological professionals in training. At Psych Scene Hub, we encourage every professional to observe five simple rules to successfully transition to an early career psychologist. This includes embracing failures to gain insights, which these memoirs have plenty of to share.
The article was written for psychscenehub.com By Jess Verona
Photo by Anna Tarazevich from Pexels