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10 books to read if you’re depressed – fight back in 2022!

This isn’t a typical article about depression, its symptoms, and potential treatments. Google offers thousands of articles about that, so it is more than enough. Also, if you’re depressed, you will probably know it without checking a long list of symptoms. So instead, we decided to write an article about 10 books to read if you’re depressed and need help to cope with it.

You might argue that it’s trivial or even insensitive to suggest that reading can help those with depression. You can even call me irrational or romanticist, but I believe that reading books can change your life!

Similarly, reading fiction or memoirs of those who suffered & overcame melancholia can inspire us. It can strengthen us against our depressing plight and mend our broken souls. It can be part of the antidote to cure this poisonous disease that sucks the life out of us.

Benefits of reading books

Trust me! Beyond drinking from the cup of wisdom, reading books has both physical & mental benefits. More importantly, it can alleviate depression and improve mental health.

You can also think of reading books as a different form of self-therapy or an exercise that strengthens your mind & body. 

However, since this article focuses on people with depression, we will talk exclusively about the benefits of reading for depressives. Let’s dive in!

10 books to read if you're depressed!

Benefits of reading books for depressives

Depression is a masterful beast when it comes to feelings of isolation & loneliness (I can tell). It makes you distant and isolated from others as well as alienated from yourself & emotions. That’s because it makes it hard for people to reach out and confide in others about their feelings.

Still, reading books can help you reconnect with yourself & mitigate the intense feelings of loneliness and emptiness. After all, they say a good book is the best friend one can have.

While reading, you won’t have to worry about being misunderstood, misjudged, or stigmatized.

Reading about others’ experiences will help you reflect upon your own experience and hardships. It will refresh your outlook on life and enable you to think clearly about your condition without the bewilderment of depression.

In other words, a book can be a friend, a solace, and a sanctuary where you can escape & have a break from it all. It will provide a room wherein you can ponder quietly on your inner experience and life as a whole.

Fiction & depression

10 books to read if you're depressed!

Fiction is the embodiment of our collective reality & life experience. It is an imagined world that reflects the real world when it comes to its complex entirety. It’s the sum of stories that unite us together within a bigger story titled ‘life’.

So, reading fiction can be very helpful to combat depression!

It will allow you to flee from the bleak & claustrophobic cage in your mind into the freeing world of fiction. You will be able to reflect on characters, their stories, and conflicts while thinking about your own story & hardship.

It is both inspiring and liberating because it changes your perspective on life & yourself.

Each story you read provokes and challenges your inner dialogue and perception of yourself as a person. Not only as a depressive!

Fiction is a reflection of reality and an escape from it.

You might think that you’re nothing more than a depressive. However, when you read fiction, you realize that you’re so much more than your depression. You’re not defined by it because it’s only a part of who you are and not who you are.

In the fictional world, you can be Atticus Finch, Hermoine Granger, Madame Bovary, Gregor Samsa,  the Great Gatsby, and much more!

Self-help books & depression

Unlike fiction, self-books are practical. It means that they don’t help you escape reality but rather face it! They’re a great source of information to understand depression, and how to deal with it properly.

Also, self-help books can help you learn useful techniques and methods to manage your depression effectively. They can give you scientific & psychological details about the anatomy of depression. In return, you will have a much deeper understanding of it, and how to prevent it from undermining your life.

Depression: the plague of the 21st century

Unfortunately, In this modern era, depression has become a global plague.

Statistics show that mental health issues & depression pose a direct threat to every society. That’s because suicide and depression rates are higher now than at any other time in history. For instance, depression is the leading cause of death in Japan, and it’s the primary reason for suicide cases worldwide.

In other words, depression kills people (so surprising!); it is as deadly as cancer or even worse.

Still, you might ask: what is the main reason behind this rise of mental health issues & depression nowadays?

Then I would gladly say that there isn’t one specific reason. It is rather a group of interrelated factors that need dozens of articles & books to be covered.

However, the simple version of the answer would be this:

Our brains are not wired to deal with the chaos & madness of our modern, materialist, and consumerist culture.

We live in a world that commodifies happiness into materialist possessions and constant consumerism. We have been convinced that the world is perfect and real happiness can be bought. 

Moreover, part of the problem is the stigma & neglect around mental health and depression. Usually, people don’t treat a depressive the same way they treat a cancer patient. That’s because cancer’s anguish is apparent unlike the elusive anguish of depression that makes people suffer in silence. 

Accordingly, depressives tend to feel ashamed and misunderstood while suffering in silence. Although depression is a serious disease just like cancer, the stigma around it still exists. Thus, it prevents people from speaking up and seeking the help they desperately need.

All in all, I hope the following list of books helps you through your struggle against depression. In case, you’re not depressive, I wish these books help you understand depression & how to help a loved one.

If you get bored reading books, check our article about dopamine detox to solve this!

Books to read if you’re depressed

We had a long discussion about whether we should include affiliate Amazon links for these books or not because the primary goal was and still is to help people out there! In the end, we saw that we made some efforts to wrap this article up and we deserve a very small commission if you chose to buy through our affiliation links! You can click the title and you’ll be sent directly to the Amazon page to get the book. Thank you in advance!

1- Reasons to stay alive by Matt Haig

Personally, this is my favorite book on this list of books to read if you’re depressed.. I read it two years ago and at the time, I was so depressed that death became my only consolation. I was suicidal & hopeless, and I almost gave up on life.

However, this book made me reconsider everything about my struggle. It taught me that I’m not the only one suffering, and I shouldn’t be ashamed of my depression.

Although it is a memoir about depression, it is very uplifting and hopeful. It is a story about defeat and victory, despair and hope, and pain & happiness. Thanks to it, I was able to get through a very bleak period of my life.

2 – Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron

This memoir is a true account of Styron’s struggle against depression. Thankfully, he was one of the first literary figures to convey the dark and hellish experience caused by depression. That is because it almost caused the author his life. 

Still, the memoir is also an account of recovery and triumph over depression. Personally, it taught me that melancholia is a disease that can affect anyone at any time. Still, there is always hope for recovery, and one shouldn’t feel afraid to seek treatment. 

3 – It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

This book is living proof that the pressure to succeed  & toxic competitiveness can lead to depression.

In a nutshell, it narrates the story of a young teenager who suffers from depression due to the pressure to succeed in today’s society. It’s a reminder that there isn’t one path to success, and your life’s meaning isn’t defined by others. 

4 – Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel

This book is about the dark side of the American lifestyle. The story’s plot sheds light on pressure practiced on youth and how that leads to breakdowns, suicidal thoughts & attempts, and drug addiction…

There is just too much to this fictional story that it can make your eyes wet at some parts while making you laugh out loud at some others! It’s a simple representation of a depressive’s life… meaningless laughter and deep tears combined!

The story is written in a generation attacked by parents’ divorce, aids (covid’s grandpa), economic shakedowns, and a lot more than that!

5 – An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison

The title is so triggering for me because I’ve always felt like my brain is unquiet! And I bet you do too! It often feels like there are just too many voices and colliding bodies in your brain, making it too loud inside to rest!

This book is a personal memoir reciting the darkness of a teenager’s life and the invisible struggle imposed by society. This is definitely one of the best books to read if you’re depressed and want to fight back!

6 – Your Voice in My Head by Emma Forrest

The American journalist Emma Forrest was 22 when she realized her quirks had gone beyond eccentricity. The book is an allegoric modern New-Yorkian fairy tale story where the author shares some devastating memoirs. Emma takes this fictional piece of art on a personal level and she uses the plot as an outlet to speak her voice up and inspire other people to live a fulfilled and less depressing life.

7 – Heartburn by Nora Ephron

This fictional piece tackles the issue of adultery, group therapy, revenge, and most importantly: the collapse of -the so-called- perfect marriage.

Nora Ephron tells the story of Rachel, a pregnant lady in her 7th month that discovers her beloved husband, Mark, has fallen prey to another woman’s love. The story is about the meaningless attempts of Rachel to get her husband back through any possible means and grant her child a normal life with ^married happy parents.

 We couldn’t describe the novel in a better way than an Amazon review did: “Heartburn is a sinfully delicious novel, as soul-satisfying as mashed potatoes and as airy as a perfect soufflé.”

8 – The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

This is probably the richest novel in terms of visual scenes and detailed description (without making you bored). Reading this novel will most probably feel like attending the movies, rather than reading an actual book!

The novel tells about the crack-up of Esther Greenwood, the brilliant, talented, gorgeous, and successful woman. Esther falls prey to madness and fights her way out. And in her journey, deep psychoanalytical wise words are spoken not only about Esther but about every single one of us!

The Bell Jar is one of the American classics. It’s one of the most trendy books to read if you’re depressed at least once in your life!

9 – Black Pain by Terrie Williams

Black author Terrie Williams takes on the struggle black people endure every day in the American dream society. Terrie’s launched a public relations company and worked with clients as Eddie Murphy and Johnnie Cochran. But Terrie collapsed and fell prey to depression despite her successful facade.

Terrie speaks about the Black society’s Pain and struggles to keep up with the social requirements and practiced pressure on successful people, especially black ones! In fact, the novel primarily focuses on the struggle from black people’s point of view. And it’s recommended to read this even if you’re white! We’re all one after all, aren’t we?

10 – Looking for Alaska by John Green

Depression is not a new theme for John Green. We have seen how emotionally he can engage in different massively successful novels such as The Fault in Our Stars and Let It Snow.

But many of John’s fans don’t know that his 2006 novel Looking for Alaska is an actual deep masterpiece. The very emotional novel tells about a teenage boy from Orlando who’s obsessed with the ‘Great Perhaps’, a concept inspired by poet Francis Rabelais. As confusing and seemingly meaningless the plot sounds, Green uses it to tackle teenage and young adults’ struggle to find meaning in life.

Wrapping up

Alright, guys! This was our list of books to read if you’re depressed!

However, if you’re struggling with depression or you know someone who does, I want you to learn that you’re not alone. I don’t pretend to understand the amount of pain you might be going through. 

All I want to say is that you shouldn’t feel ashamed or as though you’re just a burden because of depression. You’re more than your depression. You’re a person who struggles with a serious illness. Just the fact you’re still coping is great courage in my opinion.

Therefore, don’t hesitate to reach out and seek proper treatment for your depression. Remember! you’re strong enough, and you can defeat it. I know that your inner voices are whispering that you cannot do it, but don’t believe them. You can overcome it just like the above authors did!

All in all, I hope this article about “10 books you should read to cope with depression” has been helpful. I wish you find solace in reading these books. wishes you strength, good health, and very soon recovery.

See you soon champs!

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6 months ago

[…] who’s depressed requires patience & understanding. Usually, people suffering from depression may not accept the fact that they’re sick. They feel ashamed of their condition, and they refuse […]

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