The International Bipolar Foundation Recommends Stacks of Mental Health Reading

The complexity of mental health makes it challenging to boil down to a single hour of radio. There's the personal experience that individuals have of depression or mania, and how those spill over into their daily experiences — narrative, lived experiences light on medical background but rich in emotional resonance. Then there are experts, who bring the latest science to bear on how we understand a confusing medical condition. Finally, there's how to be a good ally — stories of people living with loved ones working through issues of the mind, and sharing the experiences and wisdom they gain in the hopes of helping others.

We knew we were only skipping some of the surface of these topics, and thankfully, the International Bipolar Foundation offered to help expand the conversation we waded into with our show on the chemistry of depression. They've provided three reading lists of books that dive into personal stories of mental illness, offer medical and self-help resources, and stories of families coping with mental illness together. Where possible, we've embedded a preview of the book so you can read the first few pages.

Finally, here's a challenge for you to recommend some books to us:

Necessary disclaimer: Information from the International Bipolar Foundation (or TTBOOK) is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or received from the International Bipolar Foundation.

Top Memoirs on Mental Health

"More Fool Me" by Stephen Fry

"An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness" by Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D.

"Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running from Madness" by Suzy Favor Hamilton

"Madness: A Bipolar Life" by Marya Hornbacher

"Manic: A Memoir" by Terri Cheney 

"Electroboy" by Andy Berhman

"Cracked, Not Broken" by Kevin Hines

"Mental: Lithium, Love, and Losing My Mind" by Jaime Lowe

"Wishful Drinking" by Carrie Fisher

"Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me" by Ellen Forney

Top Picks for Medical or Self-Help Reading

"Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner" by Julie A. Fast & John D. Preston, Psy.D.

"The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide" by David J. Miklowitz, PhD

"Clinician's Guide to Bipolar Disorder: Integrating Pharmacology and Psychotherapy" by David J. Miklowitz & Michael J. Gitlin

"The Wellness Workbook for Bipolar Disorder: Your Guide to Getting Healthy and Improving Your Mood" by Louisa Grandin Sylvia PhD, Andrew A Nierenberg MD

"Behind Happy Faces: Taking Charge of Your Mental Health, A Guide for Young Adults" by Ross Szabo & Melanie Hall

"What Works for Bipolar Kids: Help and Hope for Parents" by Mani Pavuluri

Books About Family

"My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward: A Memoir" by Mark Lukach

"Gorilla and the Bird: A Memoir of Madness and a Mother's Love" by Zack McDermott

"Another Kind of Madness: A Journey Through the Stigma and Hope of Mental Illness" by Stephen Hinshaw

"Strange Tribe" by John Hemingway

"Crazy: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness" by Patrick Earley

"Daughter of the Queen Of Sheba" by Jacki Lynden