Friday, June 6, 2014

Mental Illness Awareness Month and Books

This month is Mental Health Awareness month.  I am so glad there is a month about this. Truly we should all be talking about it every month but well.. that's probably not going to happen.  I don't normally talk about personal things on the blog.. I like to keep it about entertainment and such.  But .. since we are talking about mental health, why not right?    I have anxiety.  There I said it.  It is a long story about how it came to be and all that jazz, but it is hereditary for me. It didn't come about till my middle 20s which is typical for someone who has a hereditary form of it.

I remember when I read Catcher in the Rye.  It was around the time when I first found out what was going on with me.  Catcher in the Rye changed my life.  I could totally relate to Holden.  You can't imagine what it is like to read a book about mental illness and think yes.. that is totally me. I think it's hard to really define what is mental illness.  Mental illness is different for everyone.  

So when it comes to books... which books are actually about mental illness?  When are you actually ill? Do you have to be hospitalized, on medication, does it have to be a certain type of illness?  Talking about mental illness is still awkward.   This month let's all pick up a book and get out of our comfort zone.  Look into the lives of others, know it's OK to have a mental illness.  What do you think of when you think of mental illness? 

The ladies at Uncorked Thoughts and Blog of Erised (whom I have been following for a long time) have a great month set up for all of us.  Be sure to stop by their blogs and see what is going on for the month. Also.. link up any reviews on books you read for Mental Health Month. 

Guest Posts

2nd of June
Carrie White-Parish Guest post + Giveaway (INT)
4th of June
 Marcus Sedgwick Interview + Giveaway (UK)
6th of June
 Matt Clifton Guest post: Books to Help you Through MH 

8th of June
Raise your hands if you were a 'messed up' teen (Mary Fan)
9th of June
Miss Mimz (Lunar Rainbows) Top Ten Tips to Cope with Anxiety
10th of June
 Annabel + Alice Interview
11th of June
 Another Anish Majumdar (Lianne @ Caffeinated Life)
13th of June
 Sarah Rayner Author Interview
16th of June
 Jelsa Mepsey: Guest Post and Cover Reveal
18th of June
 Louisa Reid Chapter Reveal for Lies Like Love
18th of June
 Louisa Reid Interview + Cover Tease
20th of June
Chloe Hammond:  Finding Strength Through Writing Guest Post
23rd of June
 Miss Inga Page Guest Post: MH in YA Literature

25th of June
 Christina Christou: Writing to Heal

Twitter Giveaways

2nd June - 9th June
3 Copies of Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman (UK)
16th June - 23rd June
 3 Copies of Bird by Crystal Chan (UK)
Challenge Giveaways

7th June - 14th June
 Guess the Line + Giveaway (UK + EU)
14th June - 21st June
 Guess the Cover + Giveaway (INT)
21st - 28th June
 Creativity Challenge + Giveaway (INT)

24th of June
Book Pictionary (INT)


  1. I've been circling a big re-read of Salinger lately, funny you mention Holden Caulfield. It's tempting. One of my favorite stories about PTSD is "For Esme with Love and Squalor" from Nine Stories.

    Not for anxiety per se, but that feeling of recognizing myself in a book / reading my own inner world organized and expressed on the page: these are the best reading moments, ever!

    I'm afraid on this topic I can offer very little, but to listen and learn.

  2. We def. should talk more about mental ilness & there are quite a few books out there that are about mental illness. We need to know more about it & a reading month like this def. helps.

  3. I don't know much on the topic when it comes to anything but anxiety. I do know though that people can live normal lives. Bipolar, schizophrenia, these people can all be normal. I also feel they shouldn't be pitied. My mother never patted me on the shoulder and said it would be OK. She told me to get on my feet and get moving to have a normal life. Not sure what else I will do this month for Mental Health. Maybe read some books but I'll have to squeeze them in!

  4. I agree... it is almost like diverse books. We should read more about what we don't know to learn from it and try to understand others more.

  5. I'm so glad this is going on! It's a huge part of society and yet I've only read like two books that include some sort of mental illness. It's rare to be talked about, especially in YA.

  6. Honestly.. I haven't really read any books on this topic. I keep hearing about the Bell Jar and that everyone should read it but I never have. I think I am for sure going to pick that up this month.

  7. Yes!! That is why I picked that name for this blog. Originally this was going to be a personal blog about dealing with anxiety. Then I started it.. (you can look at my original posts) and wanted my blog to be more fun and positive. I am glad though that you thought it was about being anxious for books... that makes me feel like the title is right then. I almost changed it to Angela's Bookish Life a while back but thought.. why not just keep it the same!

  8. Mental illness spans so many things, and it's very important to talk about it and make sure the stigma isn't always there for people. Many people are embarrassed by mental illness or they don't understand it enough to seek help or empathize with others. I'm trying to read a few books for this month since it is such an important topic, but in general, I find books on mental illnesses and the like to be fascinating. Personally, I deal with anxiety and depression.


  9. I know what you mean about mental illness being embarrassing. I hadn't mentioned it on the blog till now. This is the first time ever... though I suppose the title might give it away. I need to get off the blog tonight so I can start getting some books read for this month. Thank you for sharing about your anxiety and depression. It can be hard to tell people about it.

  10. Well I'm a semi new nomad to your blog, but umm I have Bipolar disorder with a morbidity of Major Depression, Anxiety Disorder, and PTSD. I'm very very picky about how books portray it because it often is portrayed as a villian in a story or someone playing the victim, rather than what it truly is. It is an illness. And sometimes the "cure" aka "pills" make it a million times worse.

    I'm actually about to write a post on the blog about all this and I hope you check it out.

    Thank you for directing me to this and I'm glad that Holden made you feel less alone.

    If you need to talk you know where to find me :)

  11. I think it's amazing that you will be talking about it on your blog! Yes to this!! I have to agree... someone who is "crazy" is put in a story to be the villain. Or someone who has a mental illness is always a victim and we are supposed to feel sorry for them. Why can't they just be normal and just trying to live their lives like everyone else. Every day can be a struggle but we fight through it to make it normal. I sometimes want someone to pat me on the back.. but most of the time I want them to tell me that it's OK to fight it and try again at what I was attempting to do. I am so glad that we got to meet through blogging!

  12. I think it's really great that you are participating in mental awareness month, I would but I don't have a lot of time to participate. There is mental illness in my family as well so it really does strike a chord with me.

  13. Thanks for joining us! :) I also have anxiety (with panic attacks) so it's something very close to home. It's an absolute pain in the ass, especially when you're aware of how safe you are whenever it kicks off. I hope people look into it more after this month :). I hate the stigma that's attached. We have some US giveaways going on too so please keep a look out for those! xxx

  14. Angela, I've got anxiety too - probably hereditary. In retrospect, it started to show up in high school but didn't get bad (or diagnosed) until I was in my 40s. You're right that we can live a normal life, but that sometimes we struggle to do so. It sounds like you are really learning to manage your anxiety and live well despite it -- good for you! I've struggled to deal with mine, too, and I'm thankful that I've been able to stay pretty balanced over the last four or five years. But it's a balancing act, no question, and there's nothing wrong with needing help (something I had a hard time accepting at a gut level at first.

    I agree that it's important to get people talking/thinking/learning about mental illness. So many people think of mental illness as "all in the person's head", rather than as the physical illness it often is (a chemical imbalance in the brain, for instance.)

  15. Couldn't agree more, mental illness is different for everyone and one of the main problems is that it is still not accepted as an illness in society, but is thought of as 'oh, just get yourself together, get a hobby etc, and everything will be better. No one would say that if you suffered from heart disease i.e. Medication is not the only answer either. Books can play such an important part for that. I suffer from hypochondria and if I get bad, it can leave me pre-occupied and I can't think of nothing else … but as you said, you learn your triggers, you learn how to cope. I know there are people who are much worse with mental illness and can't cope on their own. My daughter's best friend suffers with schizophrenia and depression and it's hard when you are 15 - not the most attractive feature. Though she is brilliant with him, I have encouraged her The Shock of the Fall together with me.

  16. Lisa @ Captivared ReaderJune 8, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    I didn't know June is Mental Illness Awareness Month!! I think it's sad that there is such a stigma about mental illness. Last month, I made a post about how comics can help you understand mental illness:

  17. Thank you for stopping by and sharing that about your family. I am not sure if I have a lot of time for reading books this month. But I did for sure what to post something on the topic. It is difficult not only for the person who has a mental illness but for the family supporting them. I am sure your family is thankful that you are there for them when they are having a difficult time. I really don't know where I would be today without my parents and sister.

  18. I am so glad that you hosted it. Anxiety is the worst. Unlike some people who get it because something traumatic happened in their lives I don't have it for that reason. I have it for no reason at all actually. I find that people who have it for a reason get more sympathy then those of us who have anxiety for no reason. So even in the world of mental illness there is still judgement amongst ourselves! There shouldn't be... we should all be in this together. Again.. thanks for hosting.

  19. Thanks you for commenting and talking about your anxiety. I look back too and my mom and I were talking about that probably there were signs when I was younger. But I think my mom tried to ignore it and try to let it runs it's course just hoping it didn't get bad. I too had a hard time going for help. Well... at first I had a hard time even telling people. Now I am able to tell people... "you know what... I can't do that because it makes me too anxious". I don't care about being judged anymore. You either accept who I am or you don't.

    I hope to maybe do another post before the month is over. I am trying to make the posts about both mental illness/books to keep to the blog theme. So we'll see what I come up with.

  20. Thank you for sharing this story. I will say medication helped me tremendously BUT I had to find the right drug. People think there is this magic pill for those with mental illness. Take the pill and you are fine. They are so far from the truth. Pills work for some not others. You can feel side effects... you can feel nothing at all. I can't even imagine dealing with anxiety or any mental illness when you are a teen. You are already going through so much. I am very thankful mine didn't show-up till my twenties. I will check out The Shock of the Fall.

  21. I don't even know what to read myself. I usually avoid reading about mental illness afraid it will be too close to home.. but also because a lot of times the person with the mental illness in the book is just crazy. I don't like that in books... really it shouldn't be labeled as crazy. My grandmother back in the 80s when she had panic attacks/anxiety you were called "going crazy", or "having a breakdown". We are quite lucky we live in the world we do now... and people at least aren't "going crazy". I can't wait to see what you read and what else you are going to talk about the month.

  22. I am for sure going to check out that post... and I am very surprised I missed it! Thank you for contributing to helping spread awareness of Mental Illness!

  23. It takes courage to talk about it - I know that personally. You should feel proud that you're able to do that! The more of us who are able and willing to talk about it, the closer we'll come as a society to understanding anxiety, depression, bipolar, etc. as "real" but manageable illnesses with a physiological cause, and the less stigma there will be.

  24. Same here! I tried to figure out what the underlying reason could be but I have none. Anxious because of anxiety itself I think. The constant worrying led to panic attacks which led to more so it's a bit of a spiral! Onwards and upwards though :).