9 Books On Anxiety and Depression That Will Change Your Life

Part of the Wellness – Anxiety & Depression Series

The Cure You Seek Is In A Book

Shoot, if it were that easy no one would suffer from anxiety or depression. Life for millions would change. Lonely darkness would become welcoming light. Irrational fears would dissipate to nary a second’s worry. Uncontrollable panic would ease to serenity. All in the few days it took us to read away our problems.

Wouldn’t that be wonderful! Pharmaceutical companies would crumble. The printing industry would explode to unseen heights. Our world would change dramatically.

Alas, no book alone will supply a cure for either depression or anxiety. Even though some books titles actually claim to hold that power. But, there are some really good books out there that can better your life and help you take the steps toward healing and acceptance.

I read a lot. When I say a lot, I mean it. I have wasted too much time on crap books that are offer nothing. It’s like seeing a beautiful pin with a catchy title and you click on it only to find out it’s pure bull – a teaser to buy into some online course or some such shit. Or, when the highlights of a movie get you excited, so you take the time to get to the theater, buy the ticket, and the concessions, only to find out the only good parts of the movie are those in the ads.

I don’t necessarily buy books with the highest reviews. I have learned that these can easily be bought. Marketing is everything in today’s world.

So, I will not tell you these books will cure anything. They definitely won’t. What they can do is really help people with depression or anxiety lead more productive lives. They will help you feel less alone, offer great coping skills, and help you delve into some issues so they can be faced and conquered.

 

These are my personal favorites

Big Magic - Creative Living Without Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear By Elizabeth Gilbert

This has to be at the top of the list. I liked it so much that after reading the paperback a few times I still bought the digital copy! I listen it it periodically. The author, Elizabeth Gilbert, is funny, articulate, and is able to offer really simple solutions without coming off as condescending. Not always an easy feat when writing self-help books. She reminds the reader, whether they are into any creative outlet or none, that life is yours to live. She reminds the reader that there will always be good and bad in life, and how to embrace both with courage.

 

Out of the Woods: A Journey Through Depression and Anxiety by Brent Williams

Out of the Woods: A Journey Through Depression and Anxiety by Brent Williams

I don’t buy hardcovers often. I usually read books so fast and don’t often find ones I want to read over and over. This is one exception I am so happy to have made. It’s a book for those who suffer directly from depressions and anxiety, but it’s also great for those that care about them. In the most simplistic terms – It’s like a picture book that offers hope. It give great information and reminds the reader that every step is a celebration and how each little victory propels us towards healing. Sometimes that’s really what we need to hear and be reminded of.

 

On Edge A Journey Through Anxiety.

On Edge A Journey Through Anxiety by Andrea Petersen

I’ve read my share of books by professionals in the mental health field. I’ll even share a few with you. But, I am fascinated by reading other’s people’s personal journeys. On the Edge is the kind of book you suddenly notice that while you’re reading the words a smile has been planted on your face. Alternatively, Petersen’s story is also one that has the ability to bring a lump to your throat and water to your eyes. It all depends on which page you’re reading. It may focus more on anxiety than depression, but the two are so closely linked and this book can be a wonderful resource for people who suffer from either, or both!

 

Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World by Max Lucado

Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World by Max Lucado

This is one I was a little hesitant to share. It’s author uses the bible consistently throughout the pages as reference and comfort. I know some don’t want to deal with religion in their journey to wellness. It can be a touchy subject, religion. But, I found this book helpful in many ways. Quoting scripture didn’t bring me comfort, but neither did it derail the true message of the book. Healing is possible, hope is worth holding, and we are absolutely not the only people with mental health issues functioning in society today.

 

Lost Connections Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions

Lost Connections Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari

I have only read this book once. I’m not sure exactly how I feel about everything the author chronicles, But I know I will be reading it again. Part memoir, part expose, Hari debunks a lot of what we have been taught about the science-side of mental health issues. A sufferer himself, he is talented, stubborn, and seems to genuinely care about helping as many people as possible by sharing his experiences and his hard-won facts. I feel this one is worth reading a few times.

 

Hi, Anxiety: Life With a Bad Case of Nerves by Kat KinsmanHi, Anxiety: Life With a Bad Case of Nerves by Kat Kinsman   

Another one I got the digital version for. And, another one that will truly make you smile and want to cry over and over again until the very end. Kinsman is funny, really funny. Mental Health issues are not easy to talk about, and they are not easy to write about. Especially, with such intimate prose. But, she pulls it off and along the way she allows comfort and knowledge to flow freely from her words.

 

The Courage to Heal A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis

This is another I struggled with sharing. It is not directly a book designed for those with depression or anxiety. On top of that, it talks openly about sexual abuse, an even tougher topic to hear and read about, for many, than depression or anxiety. But, for those brave enough to deal with this added issue, the book is full of helpful techniques that are easy to apply to everyday life. This is book, first written over 20 years ago, is updated frequently. But it’s core theme – helping real people deal with real situations and issues, remain steadfast. it’s not just a book by experts, it is filled with personal stories, journeys, and so much more by those with struggles. I will never tired of reading and rereading this one!

 

The Illustrated Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living by Russ Harris

The Illustrated Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living by Russ Harris

I have a sassy and sarcastic side. This book feeds this side of me and is a great source of comfort at the same time. This illustrated version is  simply cool. Revolving around the self-help Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, it is simple to implement into any lifestyle. I may not agree with everything the author writes, but I agree with enough and see the promise and potential in most of the work.

 

The Body Keeps the Score Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

The Body Keeps the Score Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD

This is a new-found favorite of mine. For such a scholarly author to put out a book packed with tons of current data and not bore me to death is an accomplishment in itself. But, Kolk actually had me understanding so much more than I thought I would when this book was first recommended to me. (Big Magic – above- was recommended for months before I finally gave that a shot. Now, it is a staple in my life. So, I don’t let recommendations pass me by too often any more) But, I told myself to give it a shot. I’m so glad I did!  I could write a whole post just about how this book is a life changer. In the most simplistic terms, this book works for everyone because the author acknowledges that trauma is retained(not necessarily a single event, nor even a type of trauma – physical or mental)by the body. Like the air we breath, the medications we take, our history – they are all part of our bodies history. As such, our body reacts to the traumas it has experiences. Then, there’s a lot of info on how to move forward, overcome our problems, how to step into happiness.

 

Okay, so those are the books I love and find helpful, easy to relate to, actionable, and sometimes fun too. I hope you find one or two that you find interesting. I have many more on my list, but this is a good start.

Don’t forget to look at 45+ Signs of Depression and see the Wellness page for more on Anxiety & Depression.

What books have you found most helpful – for the person with anxiety or depression or as a person who loves one?

 

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