9 Books To Read If You Have Depression & Just Need A Little Help Making It Through The Day
As someone who has lived with this mental illness for the better part of two decades, let me tell you: depression is the worst. You don't want to do anything because nothing feels good, but the sheer boredom of it all feels worse. That's why I've put together this list of nine books to read when you have a depressive episode. These books won't cure you of your depression, but they will occupy your mind while you work things through.
For those of you who haven't experienced depression firsthand, allow me to explain a few things. First off, you should know that depression isn't mere sadness, and you can't simply hydrate/exercise/laugh/pray your way out of it. There can be no power of positive thinking when your brain chemistry makes it impossible to think positively, and good luck trying to do muster up the strength to get off the couch and shower, let alone exercise or go grocery shopping, when you're completely numb to all feeling. So if you've got a friend who is depressed, stop acting as if they could snap out of it if they wanted to.
If you're going through a spiral of depression right now, I see you. I know that you're doing the best you can with what you've got, and that it's OK if you don't get better right away. While you're recovering, these books will be there to keep you company.
Here are nine book that may make your day a little easier:
'Hyperbole and a Half' by Allie Brosh
Based on Allie Brosh's blog of the same name, Hyperbole and a Half contains hilarious, illustrated stories about the author's two rescue dogs and her life with depression and anxiety.
'Milk and Honey' by Rupi Kaur
Rupi Kaur's short poems won't overwhelm you, but they make Milk & Honey such a fast read that you'll be checking Read A Book off of your to-do list in no time.
'Mooncop' by Tom Gauld
If depression has sucked away your ability to read anything more than a few words at a time, try Tom Gauld's Mooncop. Told more in pictures than in words, this melancholy-yet-cheerful graphic novel is the perfect thing to read when you're having a bad day.
'Difficult Women' by Roxane Gay
If a loved one has ever told you that you're being difficult when you're in the middle of a depressive episode, don't let it make you feel worse about yourself. Read Roxane Gay's short-story collection, Difficult Women, and embrace everything that makes you "difficult."
'Reasons to Stay Alive' by Matt Haig
This memoir from How to Stop Time author Matt Haig details his bout with depression and anxiety during his late 20s and early 30s, including lists, treatment options, and his ultimate recovery.
'Furiously Happy' by Jenny Lawson
The next time you're stuck waiting in a long line at the pharmacy, tap the person in front of you on the shoulder and ask if they mind you cutting ahead of them, because you're here to pick up your anti-psychotics. That's a pro-tip from Jenny Lawson's hilarious memoir, Furiously Happy, which should be on your depression reading list.
'Texts from Jane Eyre' by Daniel Mallory Ortberg
I'll be the first to admit that jokes aren't that fun during a depressive episode, so you might not enjoy Texts from Jane Eyre as much right now as you would on a good day, but the quick and easy-to-read format might be just what you need to feel accomplished today.
'The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl' by Issa Rae
Introverted and funny as hell, Issa Rae is a fantastic author to read when you're dealing with depression. The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl is a super-relatable read for your next bad day.
'The Color Purple' by Alice Walker
Some people might disagree with my putting The Color Purple on this list, because Alice Walker's novel has its fair share of truly dark moments. The ending will leave you feeling lighter, though, so I promise that it's worth the read.