I couldn’t let May go by without saying something about mental health, not when it has been such a critical thing in my life. The past year and a half I actually took off of school so I could learn more about my brain’s ways. In that time I read a few books, and in reading them, I feel more in control. Now that I’m back in school doesn’t mean I’m done learning though, it’s going to be a lifetime of learning and keeping my health in check. As my contribution to this wonderful month of awareness, I’m sharing my thoughts on some books I’ve read and some things that help me on a daily basis that could help you feel more in control of your life too.
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This is the first book I read on mental health. Zoë Kessler is an ADHD journalist and blogger who was diagnosed in her adult years. In her book, at the beginning of each chapter she tells a story of an experience she has had. She then ties it in with research and how it relates to her disorder in an entertaining way. I enjoyed her book for her relatable stories, how she writes like she’s talking to a friend, and as a nice introduction into the ADHD world. However, her book was more stories then facts so other resources are necessary to have a total understanding of navigating life with ADHD.
So I’ve talked about this book before in this post, and maybe it’s not technically a mental health book but this book opened my eyes. I have the worst worst worst trouble with asking people for anything. With a little help from this book and my unashamed partner, It’s been a lot easier to ask people things. Sometimes you can’t just rely on yourself and Google, and you have to turn to people who will and want to help you, especially if you are a creative. In her book, Amanda Palmer shares her own life experiences with asking for help, which include having the highest crowdfunded album of all time.
Hardcore Self Help: F**k Anxiety
The name of this book perfectly sets the tone. Robert Duff explains anxiety in about 50 pages in a way that’s entertaining and on everyone’s level. Inside is an explanation of the types of anxiety there are, ways of treatment and a killer breathing exercise will aid you against panic attacks.
I actually haven’t finished this book, but what I have read has helped me. This one is a bit longer, as it needs to be, at about 120 pages. Dr. Duff approaches the topic of depression in the same hardcore tone (in an appropriate way), and goes very in depth on the many facets of depression. On days when I am feeling depressed and realize it, I’ll pick up this book as an attempt to not sink any deeper into it.
This book shook me up. It was written in 1963 by Sylvia Plath, who committed suicide a month after it’s publication date. The main character, Esther, is going through some things mentally at a time (1953) when they didn’t handle mental illness very effectively. In her story, she begins as a prominent University student, then her mental health takes a toll on her. This book also exposed me to the history of posture pictures, and the fact that someone somewhere has a naked picture of Hillary Clinton.
Practices that Rock/How I Keep My Health in Check:
- Diet and Exercise
It’s drilled into our heads for a reason that these are good things to do, my life is so much better when I incorporate some good food and move around. I eat what makes me feel healthy, running is the best stress relief, yoga helps connect my mind and body (love my local place and Yoga With Adriene videos), and I love taking my dog on walks.
I used to journal all the time when I was younger, and I decided to pick it up again. I went and picked out the beautiful journal below. When I’m in the mood, I journal. For me, journaling is a great way for me to sort through all the thoughts going through my head. Also, it’s a nice way just to see that I have gotten through good days, as well as bad.
When I hear something will help me, I like to try it. I never imagined I would ever be someone advocating for, let alone actually practicing meditation. Meditation helps me clear my mind, focus, relieve stress, and let go. I started out using Headspace, something I would recommend if you want to give it a go.
- Talking to Someone
It’s hard to talk to people about sometimes, but it’s so relieving afterwards, whether it’s with someone who’s going through the same thing, someone who’s a great listener, or my psychiatrist. There is also a wonderful online community. I haven’t tried therapy before but I’d like to, and am looking into seeing if I could at my University.
I am always going to be learning more about my mental health because it interests me, but also because it helps me stay at the top of my game. I consume YouTube videos, books, articles, websites, blogs, and ask my doctor questions.
I am not a doctor, these are just things that help me.
I’m glad to live in a time where it’s okay to talk about sensitive topics like this one.
If you have any questions or comments you can email me or comment below : )
What has helped you? Any books or resources you like?