Light is finally being shined on mental illness. We are still not exactly sure what it is, but we’re getting there! If you’re wondering what it feels like to live with a mental disorder, let a book help you. Keep in mind that these books don’t define the illness, but give a different perspective on it. Here are some books where mental illness is paired with humor, thriller, romance and more!
7 Books where the characters had mental disorders -
- Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
Disorder – Dissociated Identity Disorder(DID)
Rule number one: You do not talk about Fight Club. But that doesn’t stop us from writing about it! A classic among fictional thrillers, prepare to get your mind messed with. The protagonist suffers from DID, an illness where the person has multiple personalities. This book is about two things - the desire to destroy society and the desire to be consumed by society.
- Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
Disorder – Schizophrenia and Alexithymia
A young adult novel with a psychological twist. Alex suffers from schizophrenia - she hallucinates and is constantly paranoid about her reality. She tries to survive high school, where she bumps into Miles, who suffers from alexithymia( unable to identify emotions). The pair take us through a story that makes us question – Who is real and who is made up?
- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Disorder – Depression
Dive into the dark depth of depression in this semi-autobiography. Depression is a mood disorder consisting of constant sadness and loss of interest. Sylvia Plath’s alter ego ‘Esther Greenwood’, is bright and ambitious, until depression slowly tears her apart. Esther describes her illness as being stuck in a bell jar, being cooked in her own sour air. This book is a honest portrayal of what it means to slowly descend into depression.
- All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Disorder – Bipolar Disorder
At the ledge of a bell tower, Theodore and Violet intend on dying. Instead they bump into each other and decide to live. Theodore battles each day because of bipolar disorder and Violet can’t get over the death of her sister. Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder associated with periods of elevated mood and periods of depression. As Violet’s world grows, Theodore’s world shrinks. Do they conquer their demons? Read it to find out.
- Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson
Disorder – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder(OCD), Attention Deficit Disorder(ADD), Anxiety and Depression
There’s only one person out there who can make mental illness sound funny, and that’s Jenny Lawson. She rambles about the most random events in her life, suffering from OCD, ADD, anxiety and depression. ( OCD involves repetitive thoughts or actions that people think or do. ADD people have a difficulty focusing or doing daily tasks.) What do you do when you’re depressed? You stay ‘Furiously Happy’! Let Jenny teach you how to embrace joy even when mental illness shuts you down.
- Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Disorder – Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
The last place Camilla Preaker thought she’d go to for work was her hometown. The place reminds her of her grief, losing her sister at a young age. She used to constantly physically abuse herself, which is a major symptom of BPD. A journalist, she returns home to write a report on the serial killer lurking in town. A thriller that is downright disturbing, it reveals another mental disorder you have never heard of. (Spoiler alert if we told you!)
- We Were Liars by E.Lockhart
Disorder – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD)
Cadence Sinclair normally spends her summer on her grandparent’s private island with the Liars - Cadence, Johnny, Gat and Mirren. The last summer she spent ended up in an accident she has no memory of. When she visits the island the next summer, everything has changed. What happened the day of the accident and why can’t she remember?
(PTSD develops after a person has encountered a traumatic event. They have increased distress, avoid trauma-related things and have disturbing thoughts.)
Books aren’t the only times people have mental disorders. It happens in real life too!
Here are musicians you love that coped with mental illness.