What are the best memoirs about living with mental illness?

asked by Anonymous
885 contributors
34 solutions
  1. 67

    #1Girl, Interrupted

    Girl, Interrupted

    Girl, Interrupted is written by Susanna Kaysen. With over 100 pages, this book is first published in 1994 by Vintage. In 2000, this book became a bestseller because of a movie based on this book.

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    Larry Wade
    Written on April 29, 2018
    "This is a well written memoir of a woman being treated in a mental institution in the 1960's. Times were different and many people (e.g. James Taylor) spent time in this institution. My disappointment was that very little was said regarding why she was admitted, her dx and treatment and how she healed."
  2. 63

    #2Prozac Nation

    Prozac Nation

    Prozac Nation is an autobiography written by Elizabeth Wurtzel wherein she tells her journey from suffering depression, suicide attempts, drug therapy and getting back to living. 

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    Megan Nguyen
    Written on April 29, 2018
    "A very good book on depression. It is very true what a person with depression goes through. For anyone struggling with depression or that knows a friend or family member this can help. This book shows the ups and downs."
  3. 59

    #3Just Checking: Scenes From the life of an obsessive-compulsive

    Just Checking: Scenes From the life of an obsessive-compulsive

    Just Checking: Scenes From the Life of an Obsessive-Compulsive is written by Emily Colas which shares an account of what it is like living with a full-blown case of OCD also known as obsessive-compulsive disorder.  

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    Mark Lee
    Written on April 23, 2018
    "Just Checking: Scenes From the life of an obsessive-compulsive is a very open and honest memoir about the life with OCD. This is very compelling read with lots of insight and powerful message. It was somewhat difficult in reading about the struggles, but worth it to for overcoming."
  1. 59

    #4The Last Time I Wore A Dress

    The Last Time I Wore A Dress

    The Last Time I Wore a Dress is a memoir written by Daphne Scholinski sharing her accounts after she committed to a mental institution due to the diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder to treat the problem. 

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    Linda Obrien
    Written on April 24, 2018
    "I heard this author speak a number of years ago at a festival called Estrofest. I remembered this book recently after talking about how gender, especially non-binary genders and trans folks, are treated within healthcare. I highly recommend this book to the many trans folks who have been told there is something wrong with them for being who they are."
  2. 57

    #5Detour from Normal

    Detour from Normal

    Detour from Normal is a memoir written by Ken Dickson wherein he chronicles how he lands in a high-security psychiatric war after an improper treatment following his life-saving surgery. 

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    Maricela Alonso
    Written on April 23, 2018
    "Book to know about the memory"
  3. 55

    #6Just Another Number

    Just Another Number

    Just Another Number is a memoir by Maggie Young which was constructed by the first 23 men she had sex with detailing how American society curbs women to validate themselves by men.

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    Deborah Armstrong
    Written on May 1, 2018
    "This book is very interesting, it is based on our past reality that the majority of people doesn't know. Story is described vividly and with details, and it has very good style of writing and its easy to understand and remember. I can say that this is a book that is worthy reading it, and knowing what happened in the past. "
  4. 52

    #7The Burn Journals

    The Burn Journals

    The Burn Journals is a book about teenage despair and recovery written by Brent Runyon sharing the accounts of his life after he attempted to commit suicide by dousing and lighting himself with gasoline. 

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    Sandra Porter
    Written on April 22, 2018
    "My name is Corina and I am 14 years old. I just finished this book for some summer reading and here is my review. I feel that “The Burn Journals” does appeal to its audience (teenagers). The book may touch on some subjects that are considered inappropriate, but mature readers will understand what the book is really about. I consider the reading level for this book to be easy. There aren’t many “big” words in this book, and it’s fairly easy to understand. It’s easy to understand since the book was written from the perspective of a teenager. I’m 14 and read at a 12th grade level, so those who read at a lower level may not find it as easy to understand as those who read at a high level. I think that the author’s purpose for writing this book was for him to say that life is precious. The book was his way of telling people not to harm themselves. He wanted for people to know his story so that they wouldn’t follow his mistake. The author wanted people to understand what he and his loved ones went through because he hurt himself."
  5. 48

    #8I Hardly Ever Wash My Hands: The Other Side of OCD

    I Hardly Ever Wash My Hands: The Other Side of OCD

    I Hardly Ever Wash My Hands: The Other Side of OCD is a memoir written by J.J. Keeler wherein she chronicles her experiences and challenges of living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). 

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    Angelina Espinoza
    Written on April 27, 2018
    "This memoir is written from the non-stereotypical side of OCD. Most will associate OCD with clean freaks and anal retentive personalities. This memoir shows that slobs can get OCD too. "
  6. 47

    #9Passing for Normal

    Passing for Normal

    Passing for normal: Tourette's, OCD and growing up crazy is a memoir written by Amy Wilensky wherein she shares her life experience with Tourette’s syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). 

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    Bobby Barnes
    Written on April 27, 2018
    "lifelong struggle with the often misunderstood disorders Tourette's syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder, very familiar"
  7. 46

    #10Devil in the Details: Scenes from an Obsessive Girlhood

    Devil in the Details: Scenes from an Obsessive Girlhood

    Devil in the Details: Scenes from an Obsessive Girlhood is a memoir written by Jewish girl Jennifer Traig wherein she details her experience growing up with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). 

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    Aaron Alexander
    Written on April 24, 2018
    "I was diagnosed with OCD when I was a child. It has lead to many hardships in my life and each day is a fight to keep things under control, even with medication. This book allowed me to see the inside of another person's experience with this illness. So many times I can feel like I am all alone in this suffering, and it is really good to see that other people are right here with me. A really great book that is full of insight."
  8. 43

    #11Rewind Replay Repeat: A Memoir of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

    Rewind Replay Repeat: A Memoir of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

    Rewind Replay Repeat: A Memoir of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is written by Jeff Bell sharing his struggles with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and his recovery on it. 

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    Ernesto Gálvez
    Written on April 21, 2018
    "These days everyone has some self-diagnosed disorder whether it's depression, ADD, OCD, ect. I'm not saying some people don't have these disorders, but it seems like everyone has something."
  9. 39

    #12Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

    Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

    Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson is a non-fiction book that was originally published in 2015. This book is about learning to embrace joy despite dealing with mental illness.

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    Amanda Robertson
    Written on April 25, 2018
    "I laughed out loud many times at this book. Fun read!"
  10. 39

    #13Nowhere Near Normal: A Memoir of OCD

    Nowhere Near Normal: A Memoir of OCD

    Nowhere Near Normal: A Memoir of OCD is written by Traci Foust which documents her life growing up with obsessive-compulsive disorder wherein she details everything from his childhood to her adult life. 

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    Roy Owens
    Written on April 21, 2018
    "I ordered this book after signing up for a workshop with author Traci Foust and I can honestly say, I did not know what to expect. I was not disappointed. Once I opened the book, I was instantly caught up in the story of Traci as a child with undiagnosed OCD. That child kept me reading and wanting to know more about her and her family and after all that is that best type of story, the one you can't wait to hear what happens next. I loved the voice of Traci Foust, honest and compelling. Sometimes I laughed and sometimes tears came to my eyes. Once again, that is the best kind of book. Dark yet at times hilarious, it kept me turning the pages for more. I have learned not only about Traci's life, but facts about OCD that I never knew. Loved this memoir and rated it a big 5 stars. Thankful that I read it."
  11. 37

    #14Madness: A Bipolar Life

    Madness: A Bipolar Life
    Madness: A Bipolar Life is written by Marya Hornbacher which chronicles her suffering from Anorexia and Bulimia and diagnosis of Type I rapid-cycle bipolar, the most severe form of bipolar disorder.
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    Sean Chang
    Written on April 24, 2018
    "his realist book is very interesting. This book is based on real story and its described so vividly, and it has a very unique style of writing. I can say that this is a book that is worthy reading it, and knowing this story and the sad social problems caused by the bipolar life. "
  12. 33

    #15Life in a Whirlwind of Numbers. 26 Years of OCD

    Life in a Whirlwind of Numbers. 26 Years of OCD

    Life in a Whirlwind of Numbers: 26 Years of OCD is written by David William Dahlberg which is the second edition published wherein it shares his account of living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). 

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    Juan Gonzales
    Written on April 29, 2018
    "This book is about living with an obsessive compulsive disorder, and describes how he lived. The reader can almost know what it's like to have the mental illness, by living through this account."
  13. 31

    #16Foxavier Loves Plinka

    Foxavier Loves Plinka

    Foxavier Loves Plinka by Scott Talbot Evans which is based on a true story of a man battling a case of OCD also known as obsessive-compulsive disorder. 

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    Anna Thomas
    Written on April 28, 2018
    "encouraging to those with disorders"
  14. 30

    #17January First

    January First

    January First: A Child's Descent into Madness and Her Father's Struggle to Save Her is a nonfiction biography by Michael Schofield. It tells the story of the author's daughter and how he coped with and fought her illness. It was published in 2013.

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    Joy Huang
    Written on May 12, 2018
    "I was looking for a book that had to do with a person living with or close to someone who has mental illness. I was browsing the library aisles and came across this book. I sat down on the floor in the aisle and began reading it. I found myself forming a love hate relationship with the character but understanding their feelings. This was a great read."
  15. 23

    #18A Shining Affliction

    A Shining Affliction

    A Shining Affliction: A Story of Harm and Healing in Psychotherapy is a non-fiction psychology book written by Annie G. Rogers. This memoir was originally published in 1995.

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    Rachel Murphy
    Written on April 21, 2018
    "I found this an illuminating book. I learned a lot about living with mental illness."
  16. 20

    #19Autistic blessings and Bipolar me

    Autistic blessings and Bipolar me
    Autistic blessings and Bipolar me.: A Frank and Brutally Honest Diary of a Mother with Bipolar and Her Two Autistic Boys is a memoir written by E.J. Plows. This was first published in 2015.
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    Peter Delgado
    Written on May 19, 2018
    "This book has some great facts and really does show us what it feels like to be inside the hands of those who have these type of problems. It is really hard to follow but does indeed help us become more knowledgeable about these concerns."
  17. 2

    #20Marbles (A Graphic Memoir)

    Marbles (A Graphic Memoir)
    Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me is a graphic autobiographical memoir written by Ellen Forney. With over 200 pages, this book is published in 2012 by Avery.
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    Patrick Gordon
    Written on April 27, 2018
    "Everyone should read this book. If anything to be able to understand being bipolar or having a mental illness. Ellen Forney does a great job helping people understand a day in her wonderful life."
  18. 1

    #21An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

    An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

    An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness is a non-fiction psychology book written by Kay Redfield Jamison. This memoir was originally published in 1995.

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    Harry Freeman
    Written on April 26, 2018
    "I finished this book about a week ago. It's a either you like or you don't it seems. It has a unique perspective of suffering from a disease shes made it her lifes work to understand that makes the situation really insightful."
  19. 0

    #22Reasons to Stay Alive

    Reasons to Stay Alive
    Reasons to Stay Alive is a memoir written by Matt Haig, first published in 2015. It is a book that tackles depression, based on the author's own experiences with depression and anxiety when he was 24 years old.
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    Douglas Perkins
    Written on May 12, 2018
    "i would love to read"
  20. 0

    #23Welcome to My Country

    Welcome to My Country

    Welcome to My Country is an autobiography book written by Lauren Slater. This was originally published in 1996. This memoir will help people understand human condition.

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    Benjamin Shaw
    Written on May 3, 2018
    "This book about mental illness is refreshing, and a nice read. It helps people understand the problem, and how to deal."
  21. 0

    #24Protected by the Light: A Spiritual Memoir

    Protected by the Light: A Spiritual Memoir

    Protected by the Light: A Spiritual Memoir is written by Debra Roinestad which is a story of her survival in the hands of her psychotic, violent, drug-dealing parents and other members of her dysfunctional family. 

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    José Alfredo Amador
    Written on April 30, 2018
    "This sounds like a very interesting and unique story written about the author's own experiences dealing with life experiences. This covers mental illness brought on by abuse. This should be a useful book for anyone who has suffered similar home life problems and needs a helping hand in dealing with the lasting mental effects."
  22. 0

    #25Life is Trichy

    Life is Trichy

    Life is Trichy: Memoir of a Mental Health Therapist with a Mental Health Disorder is a book by Lindsey M. Muller. Published in 2014, it focuses on the author's experiences on mental health disorders.

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    George Johnston
    Written on May 10, 2018
    "I was recently diagnosed with a mental illness, and coping with the news has been hard. I wanted to find a way to learn about other people's struggles, so that I would not be so alone. Thank GOD i found this book! It spoke to me in a way only a fellow mentally "ill" person could. Thank you!"
  23. 0

    #26Amen, Amen, Amen

    Amen, Amen, Amen
    Amen, Amen, Amen: Memoir of a Girl Who Couldn't Stop Praying is a non-fiction book by Abby Sher, first published in 2009. It tells the story of the author's experiences with OCD, from its onset to its diagnosis and treatment.
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    Joan Martin
    Written on May 5, 2018
    "Abby Sher's memoir of her struggle with OCD is an honest, touching, humorous and at times heartbreaking look at the illness. There's enough humor in the book to keep you reading, and the more difficult parts of the story are balanced with a candid, sincere approach of explaining of the author's trouble. It really was an interesting read, and I recommend it for anyone interested in the struggles faced by those who deal with OCD."
  24. 0

    #27The Man Who Couldn't Stop: OCD and the True Story of a Life Lost in Thought

    The Man Who Couldn't Stop: OCD and the True Story of a Life Lost in Thought

    The Man Who Couldn't Stop: OCD and the True Story of a Life Lost in Thought is a non-fiction book by David Adam. It tells the story of the author's daily struggles of living with obsessive-compulsive disorder for more than 20 years.

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    Denise Bennett
    Written on May 3, 2018
    "I know a few people who has this disorder. Therefore, it was interesting to see what they have to go through. It is a very useful and enlightening story."
  25. 0

    #28Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety

    Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety

    Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety is a non-fiction book by Daniel Smith, originally published in 2012. It tells about the author's experiences as a man living with an anxiety disorder.

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    Kenneth Rice
    Written on April 30, 2018
    "Though I have not read this book it seems to be a hearfelt story of a man going through a very difficult life ."
  26. 0

    #29Doesn't It Hurt?: Confessions of Compulsive Hair Pullers

    Doesn't It Hurt?: Confessions of Compulsive Hair Pullers

    Doesn't It Hurt?: Confessions of Compulsive Hair Pullers is a compilation of essays edited by Sandy Rosenblatt. Published in 2014 by Plucky Press, it features 15 essays written by people living with trichotillomania.

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    Nathan Harper
    Written on May 15, 2018
    "i was read to very important useful in our life"
  27. 0

    #30Songs of the Gorilla Nation

    Songs of the Gorilla Nation

    Songs of the Gorilla Nation: My Journey Through Autism is a memoir written by best-selling author Dawn Prince-Hughes. It was first published in March 2004. It is about the author and her study about gorillas.

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    Eric Jiang
    Written on April 25, 2018
    "Some of the best stories are those that we can relate to, but yet are still foreign to us. I have a particular interest in novels about mental illness because of the mental illness that I live with every day. "Songs of the Gorilla Nation" is about living with Autism, which is a cause near and dear to my heart. The author does it justice, and shows the reader what a struggle it can be, but also the opportunities that come with rising above."
  28. 0

    #31Life As We Know It: A Father, a Family, and an Exceptional Child

    Life As We Know It: A Father, a Family, and an Exceptional Child
    Life As We Know It: A Father, a Family, and an Exceptional Child is a memoir of Michael Bérubé's son Jamie, and his family's engagement on historical research and critical analysis of the social systems that produce disabled identities.
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    Willie Walters
    Written on April 28, 2018
    " Life As We Know It: A Father, a Family, and an Exceptional Child is my best memory book about living with mental illness "
  29. 0

    #32It's All Absolutely Fine

    It's All Absolutely Fine
    It's All Absolutely Fine: Life is Complicated So I've Drawn It Instead is a graphic novel written and illustrated by Ruby Elliot. First published in 2017, it is an account of the author's life as she struggles with mental illness.
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    Juan Antonio Sotelo
    Written on April 27, 2018
    "Eh, it's ok I guess. Someone bought this for me after my dad was diagnosed, in an effort to be kind. I appreciated the gesture, but didn't really like the book. I wish it was just written, instead of relying on illustrations. But I guess that was the whole point of the book. Maybe it's for you, but I'll pass next time."
  30. 0

    #33Me and My Shadow: Learning to Live With Multiple Sclerosis

    Me and My Shadow: Learning to Live With Multiple Sclerosis

    Me and My Shadow: Learning to Live With Multiple Sclerosis by Carole Mackie and Sue Brattle is a biographical novel originally published in 1999. This book contains the memoirs of the author and her struggle through Multiple Sclerosis.

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    Kathy Woods
    Written on April 25, 2018
    "I was looking for the best memoirs on living with mental illness and found Me and My Shadow: Learning to Live With Multiple Sclerosis. It was exactly what I was looking for but the story is good for any one that wants an interesting tale on illness."
  31. 0

    #3413 Reasons Why

    13 Reasons Why

    13 Reasons Why is a realistic fiction book published on December 27, 2016 by Razorbill. It tells the story of Clay Jensen who listens to recorded tapes of Hannah Baker after she commits suicide.

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    Samuel Hill
    Written on May 20, 2018
    "The initial story of the book is shocking and interesting, the recorded tape of someone after she committed suicide, but the book is not that good. You should take a look at the book to learn how bullying could be devastating in young adults and teens."

Summary

Best What are the best memoirs about living with mental illness
RankSolutionsTypeVotesPrice
1Girl, InterruptedBooks 67 Paid
2Prozac NationBooks 63 Paid
3Just Checking: Scenes From the life of an obsessive-compulsiveBooks 59 Paid
4The Last Time I Wore A DressBooks 59 Paid
5Detour from NormalBooks 57 Paid
6Just Another NumberBooks 55 Paid
7The Burn JournalsBooks 52 Paid
8I Hardly Ever Wash My Hands: The Other Side of OCDBooks 48 Paid
9Passing for NormalBooks 47 Paid
10Devil in the Details: Scenes from an Obsessive GirlhoodBooks 46 Paid
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