Reading is a very personal experience, and whilst one book may be one person’s saviour, for another, it may induce only panic or hopelessness. None on my list make for light reading, I read only in the hope of finding answers, comfort and inspiration.
Reading is no mean feat when you are in the throes of darkness, the effort required is exhausting.
They say the time to exercise is when you are tired, and subsequently, observe the lift in energy and spirits that follows the execution of said activity. For me, the time to read is when nothing feels possible, all is impossible, I don’t want my eyes to remain open. Like taking a shower, or changing my clothes, I know if I can just make myself do it then I will feel I have achieved something that day. A page can take me a lifetime, reading becomes an exercise in mindfulness, as I rein in my thoughts, sounding out each word from the page, with purpose, in my head. Where these books are concerned, the effort has always proved beyond worthy.
For a book, website, podcast, or programme to make the list, it has to have had a profound affect on me and my life. Some will be specific to depression, some to eating disorders and some, to life in general. It is my belief that, even if aimed at the sufferer/battler/survivor, all can be beyond helpful for those who care/are carers for, the afflicted.
This list, will be one in continual progress.
The Noonday Demon, an Anatomy of Depression, Andrew Solomon Invaluable. An in-depth exploration of the illness that depression is, written by one who knows. Empowering, reassuring, enlightening and fascinating.
The Antidote, Oliver Burkeman A refreshing philosophy, suggesting that it is that act of chasing happiness, that can bring misery. This book brought me great relief and a new way to look at the life I was aspiring to. Not a self help book of instructions, should and should nots, Burkeman’s writing exists to present a new way of thinking.
Highly Sensitive People, in an Insensitive World, Ilse Sand I was sent this book, was reluctant to read it, but had my eyes opened in a way that took me by surprise (I had thought I knew myself quite well). I always knew I was not a boisterous, highly resilient personality, but nor did I consider myself to be of a ‘highly sensitive’ disposition (hint; you don’t have to be a shy introvert to be of highly sensitive soul). It taught me so much. It is not about wallowing in sensitivity, or curing yourself of it, but about managing your life and your relationships to honour the person that you are. It is quite ‘full on’ – I took from it what worked for me. I found a greater self acceptance on reading this book.
Lighter than My Shadow, Katie Green A graphic memoir of growing up, retreating into anorexia, surviving sexual abuse, and a journey to find peace. Strikingly honest, moving and subtly inspirational.