Books that heal & inspire

Books-that-heal-inspire

This is the fifth post of a 12-week series on How I Learned to Manage My Bipolar Illness by Cultivating a Healthy Lifestyle.

Reading is one of my passions. Lately making time to read has been a challenge. Still, knowing that a good read can be extremely beneficial to my mental health, I do my best to fit it into my schedule.

My favorite books tell stories straight from the heart. So naturally, I gravitate to memoir. I find other people’s true life stories fascinating, mostly because I like to learn from the experiences they write about. It’s almost as if I’m living vicariously through them while reading their words.

Ever since my diagnosis, I’ve sought out books dealing with mental illness and all the devastation, sorrow, exhilaration and exhaustion that comes with it. I wanted to know I could find a way to live with bipolar disorder. I wanted to find examples of people who were not only overcoming their illness, but living highly successful lives despite their mental health disorders.

I just finished reading Resilience: Two Sisters and a Story of Mental Illness by Jessie Close with Pete Earley. I was captivated from page 1 of this unimaginable story of Jessie’s lifelong struggle with bipolar disorder. It wasn’t until adulthood that she was finally properly diagnosed and received treatment. Her illness controlled her life until Jessie realized that she wanted, and deserved, a better life. Through the help of her family and sister, actress Glenn Close, Jessie was able to turn her life around. She became a leading advocate for mental health awareness when she joined Glenn in founding Bring Change 2 Mind. I highly recommend Resilience if you’re looking for a story about hope.

Here are some of my other favorite memoirs about mental illness:

An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison

Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness by Pete Earley

Learning to Breathe by Priscilla Warner

Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life by Melody Moezzi

The Beast: A Journey Through Depression by Tracy Thompson {Tracy was in our debut This Is My Brave show!}

Hurry Down Sunshine by Michael Greenberg

Good Cop, Bad Daughter: Memoirs of an Unlikely Police Officer by Karen Lynch

Detour: My Bipolar Road Trip in 4D by Lizzie Simon

Madness: A Bipolar Life by Marya Hornbacher {Marya is in our Boston This Is My Brave show!}

Freefall to Fly by Rebekah Lyons

Perfect Chaos: A Daugher’s Journey to Survive Bipolar, A Mother’s Struggle to Save Her by Linea and Cinda Johnson

I’ve found parts of my own story wedged within each of these books. Reading helps me to realize I’m not alone. In making time to read, I allow myself to get lost in the brave stories of authors like these I’ve listed. I am encouraged by their fierce determination, their drive to get well and stay well, and their willingness to continue to share their experiences to help others.

They are my tribe.

What’s your favorite memoir about mental illness? Let’s connect on Goodreads!

My 10 Favorite Children’s Books

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“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” ― Madeleine L’Engle

 

School’s out for summer! I know we’ll be taking lots of long walks to the library and the pool this summer. Which got me thinking about writing a post on my favorite children’s books.

Someday, I will share my story with my kids. When the time is right. For now, we spend the time after bath before we shut the light for the night, snuggling up, lost within the pages of these magical stories.

Many of these have been gifts to our children, but a few were saved from their parents’ own collections. There is no greater hand-me-down than a favorite book. I’m thankful to my mother-in-law and my mom for saving our childhood reading materials to pass on to our own kids.

Here are my ten favorite children’s books (as of this moment), in no particular order. I’m including my favorite line from each.

  • Pete the Cat – I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin ~ “No matter what you step in, keep walking along and singing your song…”

Pete

  • On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman ~ “Heaven blew every trumpet and played every horn on the wonderful, marvelous night you were born.”
  • The Two Cars by Ingri & Edgar Parin d’Aulaire ~ “Their motors liked the cool night air and purred like kittens.”
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson ~ “There was nothing but pie. But there were all nine kinds of pie that Harold liked best.”

Harold

  • My Name is Not Isabella by Jennifer Fosberry ~ “I am Rosa, the greatest, bravest activist who ever was!”
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein ~ favorite poem: “The Land of Happy”
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein ~ “Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest.”
  • Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker & Tom Lichtenheld ~ “Tomorrow is another day, another chance to work and play.”

Construction

  • The Empty Pot by Demi ~ “By and by the whole year passed.”
  • That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown by Cressioa Cowell & Neal Layton ~ “I don’t care WHO she is,” said Emily Brown. “This rabbit belongs to ME. And his name isn’t Bunnywunny. It’s STANLEY.”

Emily

Is yours on the list? If not, please share in the comments! We’re always looking for our new favorite.

Books for a rainy day

One more hour and the kids will be home for the day. I should be working, but yet I find myself drawn to the pen and my notebook. Needing to write.

This morning after dropping them off at daycare in the pouring rain, their little raincoats slick with wetness from the sky, I drove over to volunteer at my son’s preschool book fair. I love this church school, feel so at home here.

I quickly learn the cash register and ring up several orders of cute kids books, casually chatting with each parent as they pay for their order.

My half-hour shift is over quickly. The rain is coming down in buckets now, and I can’t help but notice as I peek into the classrooms, how cozy and safe it feels. I love that this is my son’s home here three days a week in the afternoon. His first school experience is so filled with love and smiles.

And books. Lots and lots of books.

As I pack up to head home, I ring up one last sale. I couldn’t leave without buying a few new reads for my little ones. My little book lovers.

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