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The 20 Greatest Memoirs of Mental Illness

Health & Wellness  (tags: Mental Illness, Memoirs, Health, Stigmas, Treatment )

- 2712 days ago -
Memoirs about mental illness are more or less a subgenre all on their own, and any author willing to put him- or herself out there in the interest of education deserves commendation.


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Lydia S (155)
Thursday May 19, 2011, 9:37 pm
Dark yet very interesting . Thanks

Bruno Moreira (61)
Friday May 20, 2011, 6:06 am

Kay M (347)
Friday May 20, 2011, 6:30 am

Rebecca T (1)
Friday May 20, 2011, 6:48 am
Great list, thank you. I would add Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar to that.

Lindsey Williams (234)
Friday May 20, 2011, 7:35 am
thank you for this.

Lindsay K (6)
Friday May 20, 2011, 7:43 am
Thank you - very interesting

Danielle Herie (2)
Friday May 20, 2011, 10:34 am

Hege Torset (43)
Friday May 20, 2011, 1:43 pm

Justin M (2)
Friday May 20, 2011, 2:42 pm
Noted and posted the article to my Twitter

Staci G (16)
Friday May 20, 2011, 2:47 pm
Thank you for sharing.

Jonjon Hoy (146)
Friday May 20, 2011, 2:52 pm
Wonderful article and very interesting. Thank you

Jonjon Hoy (146)
Friday May 20, 2011, 2:54 pm
As humans we can only take so much till something has to give.

Ana MarĂ­a O (0)
Friday May 20, 2011, 4:01 pm
Rather interesting... Thanks for sharing!

Anna Borsey (66)
Friday May 20, 2011, 5:38 pm
Yes, Very interesting.

I wonder though, why the compiler of this list left two very famous memoirs out, both written by American women.

"I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" by Hannah Green

"I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1964) is an autobiographical novel by Joanne Greenberg, written under the pen name of Hannah Green. It was made into a film in 1977 and a play in 2004. I Never Promised You a Rose Garden is a semi-autobiographical account of a teenage girl's three-year battle with schizophrenia."

"The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath

"The Bell Jar is American writer and poet Sylvia Plath's only novel, which was originally published under the pseudonym "Victoria Lucas" in 1963. The novel is semi-autobiographical with the names of places and people changed. The book is often regarded as a roman à clef, with the protagonist's descent into mental illness paralleling Plath's own experiences with what may have been clinical depression. Plath committed suicide a month after its first UK publication. The novel was published under Plath's name for the first time in 1967 and was not published in the United States until 1971, pursuant to the wishes of Plath's husband Ted Hughes and her mother."

T. A. H (39)
Friday May 20, 2011, 6:00 pm
Anna Borsey (comment above) is absolutely right about "The Bell Jar" -- a wonderful, heartbreaking story of a young woman in the prime of academic success, just starting a career, brought down by an illness she (and her doctors, parents, friends, and acquaintances) do not understand or know how to treat. The first part of the book is as wonderfully funny as the latter part is dispiriting.

Craig Zimmerman (86)
Friday May 20, 2011, 7:46 pm
Everyone should read Frances Farmer's autobiography "Will there really be a morning?" Frances Farmer was a hollywood actress who was commited to Western State Hospital near Tacoma, Washington in the 1940s. Her description of the conditions at the mental hospital are shocking and unforgettable.

Shirley S (187)
Friday May 20, 2011, 10:56 pm
Sad legacies.

Edgar Z (47)
Saturday May 21, 2011, 4:24 am
Excellent article. Often to overcome a disease, it is very important to learn about it.

John Kirkby (23)
Saturday May 21, 2011, 5:51 am
Noted. Interesting list of books. Even the term 'Mental Illness' is unfortunate when the most common problem is depression. The authors of those books are commendable for writing on such a topic.

Lidia E F (8)
Saturday May 21, 2011, 8:39 am
i was diagnosed by Marie Brooks as a nut,a pyschopath,a socially dangerous person.None of her opinions hold true.There are many people with said symptoms that are not crazy by any means.Suicide doesn't imply one is crazy,I tried twice,and failed.Obviously.It is merely a deep depression that leaves one feeling completely hopeless,and seeing life as having no meaning.I believe the medical institute makes up mental symptoms simply to feed us more pills.The word 'CRAZY' is used too loosely nowadays,and it has no true merit in what is going on with a person's mental state.

Melody Aragorn (135)
Saturday May 21, 2011, 9:21 am
Thanks Nancy, bless you for this..


Dannielle P (26)
Saturday May 21, 2011, 9:41 am
noted. Thanks for sharing.

Kamila A (141)
Saturday May 21, 2011, 6:08 pm
The world is crazy, not these people

Sue Matheson (79)
Saturday May 21, 2011, 8:42 pm

KS Goh (0)
Sunday May 22, 2011, 12:48 am
Thanks for the article.

Cindy B (61)
Sunday May 22, 2011, 1:42 am
Thanks... good books all.

alicia m (97)
Sunday May 22, 2011, 2:19 am
noted, gracias

Bracha Katz (31)
Sunday May 22, 2011, 2:57 am
A friend of mine once had a nervous breakdown, and went to a mental hospital. She got to see a little of the 'other side'. I want to see some of it too. Thanks Nancy

Walter Firth (45)
Sunday May 22, 2011, 3:53 am
Noted thanks for the article Nancy.

Ben O (140)
Sunday May 22, 2011, 7:34 am
I haven't read any of those books; -shame on me!

Nita O. (5)
Sunday May 22, 2011, 9:46 am

Ron Avila (20)
Sunday May 22, 2011, 1:36 pm
Thank you

Tracey O (38)
Sunday May 22, 2011, 2:15 pm
Thank you Nancy as it felt like it was for me. A mentally disabled person & not ashamed as I am so blessed in other areas! People should really read my share on my page as it is all sadly true! I am even more blessed now than ever before! Yeah!

Susanne R (236)
Sunday May 22, 2011, 8:09 pm
Here are a few more suggestions, for those who are interested:

What Becomes of the Brokenhearted: A Memoir, by E. Lynn Harris
Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness, by William Styron

Thanks for posting, Nancy!

Sharon Balloch (127)
Monday May 23, 2011, 7:47 am
Comments are great also ...thanks..

Consuelo H. (0)
Monday May 23, 2011, 8:23 am
I always say that there is no such thing as normal, we are all crazy. some of us just get caught.

. (0)
Monday May 23, 2011, 11:58 am
Thanks for sharing.

Beth Tatum (95)
Monday May 23, 2011, 2:06 pm
I have read 5 of the books listed, all great reads, all sad, but helpful. I'll try to find some of the others now. Thanks for the list.

Krasimira B (175)
Monday May 23, 2011, 2:56 pm
Noted with thanks.

Susan S (187)
Wednesday May 25, 2011, 6:21 pm
Fascinating. Thanks.
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