Reads That Have Personally Contributed to Me And My Mental Health
Reading expands my mind, open my eyes, and fill up my heart.
Reading was something I have always enjoyed, even at a young age. Hence I wanted to share recommendations that have contributed towards the shift of my mindset, as well as my openness towards discussing the topic of mental health over the years:
- Matt Haig, Reasons To Stay Alive
“I am you and you are me. We are alone, but not alone. We are trapped by time, but also infinite. Made of flesh, but also stars.”
Haig writes about his journey battling the black dog, Depression. He talks about his story of going through crisis, standing face-to-face with his mental health condition that almost destroyed him — and yet, learning to live again.
Haig writes in a way that makes you feel that you are having a one-to-one conversation with him. He inspires you to be more open about how you feel about yourself.
I related, was comforted, and didn’t want the book to end. This was a book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading because the author so candidly shared about his battle with depression. We desperately require this kind of openness to talk about mental health especially in our world today.
- Matt Haig, Notes On A Nervous Planet
“I feel we need to stop seeing mental and physical health as either/or and more as a both/and situation. There is no difference. We are mental. We are physical. We are not split up into unrelated sections. We are not an existential department store. We are everything at once.”
Notes on a Nervous Planet depicts Matt Haig’s journey of battling Anxiety. This was an interesting perspective, as the author looks into how social, commercial and technological advancements in the world that we live in has the ability to control the amount of happiness we feel. He examines various topics from inequality, social media, and the news; to things closer to our daily lives, like how we sleep, how we exercise, and even the distinction we draw between our minds and our bodies.
As I was a fan of Reasons To Stay Alive, naturally, I anticipated the release of his next book. I personally have struggled with my anxiety, where I have really good days, or days where I feel paralysed in fear from doing anything at all. Haig writes in a way that gives your soul a ‘push’: that despite the chaos and the crazy you might find yourself surrounded by, you will be okay and you are not alone. I enjoyed how he wrote with such a personal touch — it was as though he was recording everything he felt in his diary.
- Kyo Maclear, Birds Art Life Death
“Worry is a constriction. A mind narrows when it has too much to bear. Art is not born of unwanted constriction. Art wants formless and spacious quiet, anti-social daydreaming, time away from the consumptive volume of everyday life.”
The special thing about books is that sometimes, you find that one book you never thought you needed and you never expected to find. This book was one of them.
I felt that Kyo Maclear took me on a journey about myself, despite this book being about her journey of stepping back. In a world that values the glory, the great, and the ‘go-go-go’, the author looks to appreciating the small, steady lulls allowing for contemplation. The author wrote about her journey of rediscovering herself all over again, the significance and beauty of the small yet significant things, and how they can lead us to the discovery of our greater selves. Sometimes, we have to look beyond the surface to see the beauty around us.
- Connor Franta, Note To Self
“They say that the truth will set you free, but they neglect to tell us what happens when the truth is something we don’t want to hear.”
Yet another YouTuber releasing their own book? Oh my days!
I found Connor Franta’s Note To Self to be better than his first book because I could sincerely relate to what he wrote this time around. Franta talks about his battles with clinical depression, social anxiety, self-love, and acceptance; his desire to maintain an authentic self in a world that values shares and likes over true connections; his struggles with love and loss; and his renewed efforts to be in the moment-with others and himself.
Franta’s heart bled through the pages — and that’s what all writers aspire to do. It’s simple, genuine, and I adored the way he was able to describe situations that allow you to immerse yourself in his shoes for those few moments. He is known for his aesthetics on social media — which to no surprise, his book reflected the very same. If you want to have a light read to quietly reflect on life in a coffee shop, this book provided me the calm that I needed.