Recommend non-fiction about mental illness

I enjoy a good non-fiction book once in a while about someone’s personal struggle with mental illness and I’m looking for some new material to read. Books I’ve enjoyed along these lines are:

Switching Time by Dr. Richard Baer
Well Enough Alone and Devil in the Details by Jennifer Traig
The Quiet Room by Amanda Bennett and Lori Schiller

If it helps, I also like Malcolm Gladwell, Chuck Klosterman and AJ Jacobs. TIA!

I just finished Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron.

It’s a detailed account of his battle with severe depression

Oliver Sachs´s books are very entertaining.

Also: underlined text without links is enough to send the strongest mind tumbling over the cliff-edge of madness.

The Eden Express by Mark Vonnegut is an account of his own descent into and recovery from schizophrenia. Mark is Kurt Vonnegut’s son, by the way. He more recently came out with Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So: A Memoir,which I haven’t read (yet).

Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania by Andy Behrman is the story of his life with bipolar disorder.

Oooh great suggestions! Keep 'em coming!

On Our Own, by Judi Chamberlin. Founding member of Boston’s “Mental Patients’ Liberation Front” and a very accessible writer. Not a polemic.

Too Much Anger, Too Many Tears, by Janet and Paul Gotkin.

Frances Farmer: Shadowland. by William Arnold.

Judge, Jury, Executioner. By Huey Freeman

I highly recommend The Noonday Demon, by Andrew Solomon, which is a memoir as well as a study of depression and how it is treated around the world. Excellent book, and, I found it personally very enlightening (as I am not clinically depressed). It won the National Book Award, so it’s not just my opinion.

I recommend her autobiography, Will There Really Be A Morning? It may be out of print now, though.

An oldie but a goodie: When Rabbit Howls, by The Troops for Truddi Chase

Some really disturbing sex and physical abuse descriptions, beware. I have no idea *what *my mother was thinking to let me read it at 11 years old. But a fascinating book written by multiple personalities (alters) who chose NOT to integrate into one personality when that was unheard of in mental health treatment.

I enjoyed Unholy Ghosts: Writers on Depression.

If you get a chance, pick up Jim Knipfel’s books. I’ve read both Slackjaw and Quiting the Nairobi Trio. Both are a tremendously witty, black humored look at severe depression, brain tumors, and genetic blindness. I can’t reccomend these books enough.

Try An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison

A thread from a year ago: Books About the Mentally Ill and Therapist/Patient Relationships

A much older thread: Books by the mentally ill

In that thread I posted a link to this list of books by former mental patients:

I haven’t read it yet but a friend just recommended that I pick up You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know by Heather Sellers. It’s the memoirs of a woman who grows up with a schizophrenic parent, and later learns that she herself has prosopagnosia, or “face blindness”. While prosopagnosia isn’t really a mental illness, it’s a neurological problem, and a pretty interesting one, at that.

Like I said, I haven’t picked up the book yet, but it’s on my holds list at the library.

Seconded - this is excellent.

My Sister’s Keeper: Learning to Cope with a Sibling’s Mental Illness by Margaret Moorman.

I used to live in the same neighborhood as Margaret’s sister Sally.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat is very technical for a book with such a whimsical title. Fascinating, but a dense read.

Wow thanks everyone for all the suggestions!!

Max Torque, I have that book and I agree with your assessment. So interesting, but so bogged down in the technical material.

Al Alvarez’s The Savage God, a study of suicide.

CMC fnord!

Marya Hornbacher’s memoir, Madness, is a fascinating and really well-written work about her bi-polar disease. She has another memoir, the title of which escapes me at the moment.