I’m super passionate about mental illness and breaking the stigma surrounding it. Because of this, I think it’s really important to portray mental illness in a positive light. Historically, this hasn’t been done in TV shows or movies. However, I think there are several books that do it well, so I wanted to highlight some of them here.
Disclaimer: I personally do not have any diagnosed mental illness. I have minor anxiety in that I have some social anxiety and have had panic attacks before, but it’s never interfered with my life in any major way. My mom is a psychiatrist and I am studying psychology, so I have academic exposure, and three of my best friends have major mental illnesses, so I have personal exposure as well. But that being said, I’m definitely no expert and these are just my opinions!
One of my favourite books. Charlie is such an angel, and I think the portrayal here was very fair.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
I read this a million years ago, but I remember loving it. I like that it portrays hospitalization and medication as a things that can be useful.
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
Though I thought the ending was a little iffy, I liked most of the portrayal here.
One of the people that A is one day has an addiction, and another has major depression and is super suicidal. I liked how both were portrayed, and how A still viewed them the same way he does other people.
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Though I didn’t like this book personally, I did appreciate how it portrayed anxiety and depression. HOWEVER Finch is literally the worst and I hate him. BUT I think that is also important: you can still be an annoying, douchey twat AND have several mental illnesses. Just because you have depression or anxiety doesn’t mean I have to like you. I think that’s important to show, and I’m kind of glad it did.
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
Again, it portrays hospitalization as a thing that can help. I really liked how it was a true insiders look.
Thanks for reading! xx