Growing up can be scary. It is even more intimidating when you are dealing with a mental illness. As a teen living with depression, certain moments in my life have felt overwhelming and even unbearable. One way I like to help myself calm down is through reading. Here are some of my favourite books that have helped and inspired me when life became overwhelming. I hope they can help you as well.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
This is a popular book and for good reasons. The book follows a fifteen-year-old named Craig Gilner, as he tries to navigate the pressures of growing up. His stress causes him to become depressed and suicidal. Eventually, Craig is admitted to a mental hospital where he meets other patients from all walks of life, and he begins to find a sense of purpose again. It’s Kind of a Funny Story shows very real experiences, and how even though they can be scary, it is always possible to survive them.
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
This novel is about an eighteen-year-old girl named Eliza Mirk. She spends most of her time creating her widely popular online comic book, known as Monstrous Sea. To publish her comic she uses a persona called LadyConstellation because she is terrified of anyone finding out who she really is. In real life, Eliza is shy and has no friends outside of her digital community, until Wallace Warman transfers to her school. As the two grow closer Eliza’s secret is revealed causing her world to turn upside down. From this point on Eliza has to face her fears that she has been avoiding in order to overcome her anxiety. Eliza and Her Monsters is a story about perseverance and learning to face your anxiety in order to do what you love.
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is the story of a grade twelve student, named Leonard, as he struggles with the idea of killing his ex-best friend, and then himself. As the novel progresses the reader gets to learn more about Leonard Peacock’s life, and why he is choosing to end it this way. Leonard goes to say goodbye to the most influential people in his life, but as he is doing this he begins to question his decision. This novel shows the harsh realities of living through trauma and the multitude of choices that can be made afterward.
Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos
James Whitman is a sixteen-year-old boy battling with depression and anxiety. The story follows James as he tries to balance school, his mental health, abusive parents, and his older sister Jorie being expelled from school, and then kicked out of the house. As the novel progresses James goes searching for his sister, as he has no way of contacting her, but as he does this he begins to realize that he needs help as well. Through the help of his imaginary therapist “Dr. Bird”, and eventually a real therapist, James learns to cope with his anxiety and depression, as well as all of the hardships that life can bring.