Books with their main characters fighting mental illness

The first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself. To be conquered by yourself is of all things most shameful and vile, said Plato. Many books and novels have been written about mental health issues, with the purpose of talking about it more out in the open. Here are some brilliant accounts of protagonists in a book managing to overcome their mental hurdles. As it is Mental Health Awareness month, these stories will help provide perspective and spread awareness.

02/13Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir by Ellen Forney

This is a graphic book by an author who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a child. Terrified she would lose her creativity to her disease and medications, she found solace in the fact that many renowned creative minds also suffered from disorders, like Vincent van Gogh and Sylvia Plath. This book details her story in a beautiful creative way.

Photo: Avery

03/13When Rabbit Howls by Truddi Chase

Truddi was the victim of horrific abuse from two-years old on. To deal with it, her mind created “The Troops”- alternate personalities who protected her from the reality of what was happening. This groundbreaking true story is made all the more extraordinary in that it was written by the Troops themselves.

Photo:Amazon

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04/13Defying the Verdict: My Bipolar Life’ by Charita Cole Brown

This is a must read memoir and a detailed account by Charita Cole Brown of her years before and after she is diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. Being true and genial in approach, Charita details her struggle after her diagnosis—a life full of love, hope, and success.

Photo:Amazon

05/13Mental by Jaime Lowe

The story follows Jaime Lowe, a 16-year-old girl in Los Angeles diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1963. For decades, she’d been taking lithium to help her maintain a “normal” life, and it worked. But one day, her doctor suggested that Lowe would had to choose between her sanity and her kidneys. She was left with the option to keep taking lithium and stay sane, which would destroy her kidneys. What follows is a fascinating investigation of the history, uses, and controversies behind lithium, an essential medication for millions of people struggling with bipolar disorder.

Photo:Amazon

06/13Borderline by Shabri Prasad Singh

Having shifted from Chandigarh to New York to study, Amrita has just about begun to adjust in the city and is taken aback by the death of her father on her visit to India. The book takes you on an emotional journey of Amrita Srivastava who is diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and she eventually overcomes her demons.

Photo:Amazon

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07/13The Kevin Show: An Olympic Athlete’s Battle with Mental Illness’ by Mary Pilon

The book is the true account of Olympic sailor Kevin Hall’s struggle with a psychiatric syndrome. The story deals with Kelvin Hall who suffers from a disease called the “Truman Show” delusion. This engages him in an ongoing battle with a person that doesn’t exist to anyone but him: the Director. The book also reflects many-sided struggle of Kevin, his family, and the medical profession to treat a psychiatric disorder.

Photo:Amazon

08/13Shooting Ghosts by Thomas J. Brennan and Finbarr O’Reilly

A U.S. Marine, a Combat Photographer, and Their Journey Back from War tells the stories of two men returning home from Afghanistan. The dual memoir recounts their experiences with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and explores what trauma really does to a person, while documenting their roads to recovery.

Photo:Amazon

09/13Look Me In The Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison

Robison discusses his life growing up and how he had to overcome setbacks from a condition that is Asperger’s syndrome he didn’t even know he had it until middle adulthood. The story sketches his childhood desperation to connect with others, and his struggle to pass as ‘normal’ — a struggle that would continue into adulthood. This book is a rare fusion of inspiration, dark comedy, and insight into the workings of the human mind and highlights the struggle of connecting with others.

Photo:Amazon

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