Fourteen (Additional) Memoirs/Non-Fiction Books about Achieving Mental Wellness
And the Healing Power of Story
As an elementary school teacher, my favorite lessons and conversations centered around kindness, love, compassion, and inclusion- topics that came up not only inside the classroom but on the school yard and beyond. I continue to teach these concepts as a volunteer for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) when I go into middle schools, high schools, and into parent education events to share a program called “Ending the Silence.” I always begin by sharing personal stories of my family’s history of mental illness, namely four suicides, bipolar, depression, anxiety, ADHD, OCD, homelessness, substance abuse, and addiction.
Sharing a personal story is a powerful, unifying tool connecting us, breaking down barriers, and healing wounds. Besides educating about warning signs to look out for, suicide prevention tips, and offering resources, I let the students, staff, and parents know they’re not alone, there’s hope, and that by asking for help they’re being brave because they aren’t giving up. I hope they see how mental illness affects the entire family and how it can continue down their family line unless they take action to cut their generational trauma. I want them to know they have the power within them to rewrite their own story.
The best lessons in life come from our own experiences, sometimes in the form of painful traumatic events taking us on unexpected journies. It’s also possible to learn vicariously from others’ experiences, gaining incredible wisdom and empathy through master storytellers who are skillful in painting literary pictures that touch us deeply to the core. The most adept writers and researchers have a way of transporting us into their worlds, peeling back their layers to reveal universal truths, and helping us climb to high peaks to get better views. Their narratives and anecdotes guide us to understand humanity on a deeper level and in turn, our own story.
There’s nothing like a good book to get immersed in a new world and open up our hearts and minds to new possibilities. Four years ago, I first shared Fourteen Incredible Memoirs about Mental Illness and Addiction after reading as much as I could before beginning my own mental health writing journey. Nine months…