10 Must-Read Memoirs About Mental Illness, Addiction, and Disorders

Memoirs give us the unique ability to enter the mind and experiences of someone suffering from a mental illness, addiction, or disorder. To truly be immersed in someone’s story is invaluable and necessary in understanding what they’re going through. Here are my top 10, must-read memoirs that deal with these struggles.

loud51wzZR8o3hL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. Loud in the House of Myself by Stacy Pershall

A captivating and unflinchingly honest memoir about one young woman’s struggle with borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder.

9780679746041_p0_v1_s260x4202. Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

Perhaps you’ve seen the movie, but the book is well-worth a read. It focuses on Kaysen’s time spent in a psychiatric hospital in the 1960s.

51L90SoGhIL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_3. Manic by Terri Cheney

Cheney spares no detail when sharing the exploits of her most manic moments.

51nRtjlO7jL4. Purge: Rehab Diaries by Nicole Johns

The memoir is told in a series of vignettes based on the three months that Johns spent in eating disorder rehabilitation treatment.

51LMIy4MEvL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_5. Monkey Mind by Daniel Smith

A compelling and detailed  memoir about one man’s struggle with anxiety disorder.

51YHs+JVgqL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_6. Love Sick by Sue William Silverman

An intimate recounting of the month Silverman spent in a rehab center for sexual addition.

Look_Me_in_the_Eye_(book_cover)7. Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison

Asperger’s is much talked-about, yet little-understood. Robison encounters his own unique set of challenges resulting from this neurological disorder.

Jamison_-_anquite_mind8. An Unquiet Mind by Kay Jamison

Jamison details her experiences with manic depression, as well as the insights she’s gained through her academic study of mental health.

61cctYHga9L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_9. I Am Not Myself These Days by Josh Kilmer-Purcell

Kilmer-Purcell tackles the difficult, and often stigmatized, themes of alcohol abuse and addiction. He manages to address addiction in a way that is relatable without being sentimental or stereotypical. The book also sheds light on various rehabs like the tampa rehab.

9780439339056_p0_v1_s260x42010. My Thirteenth Winter by Samantha Abeel

This young adult memoir tackles the issue of learning disabilities, in addition to the resulting social and clinical anxiety that can manifest as a result.

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4 replies to “10 Must-Read Memoirs About Mental Illness, Addiction, and Disorders”

  1. Kiyatana says:

    #7 almost made me cry immediatly! I have a child with Autism. To read a first hand account would be amazing. I will get this for myself and my son! Thanks for this list!

    1. Alana says:Author

      You’re very welcome, Kiyatana! I’m actually surprised that there aren’t more memoirs about disorders on the Autism spectrum.

  2. Alisha says:

    This is a fantastic list, and I think that it is so important what you are sharing with the world. Mental illness is the silent mass epidemic of our times and more lovely, honest voices like yours should be heard by all.

    1. Alana says:Author

      Thank you, Alisha! The more voices and stories that are shared, the more we’ll be able to understand what others are going through (and what we ourselves are going through as well).

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