Book Recommendations

Non – Fiction Mental Health Books – Book Recommendations

So a while ago I shared a post with some recommendations with fiction books that deal with mental health, which you can read here.

So this post is some recommendations of some non-fiction mental health books. I know reading these books is not for everyone and some books may resonate more than others so I am going to share a few that I have read and found beneficial and some that have been recommended to me.

1 Reasons to Stay Alive & Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig – I really loved these books and I also enjoy reading his social media posts. I met him last year at a book event which was really insightful.

2 Looking After Your Mental Health by Alice James & Louie Stowell – This book is for young teens and preteens and I found it really helpful in helping to talk to my younger cousins about mental health and she also found it helpful

3 It’s All in your Head by Rae Earl – This book is for older teens and young adults and I thought that it was written really well dealing with topics that that are actually relevant to them.

4 Happy by Fearne Cotton – I bought this recently when it was recommended to me so I am hoping to read it soon.

5 You’re Crushing It by Lex Croucher – This was a really great book and one you can dip in and out of again and again.

6 The Self Care Project by Jayne Hardy – This is another book I picked up because I really love The Blurt Foundation’s work and Jayne is the founder so I had to pick up her book. PS. Check out their buddy boxes, they’re so good for anyone struggling with any mental health problems.

7 Reclaim Your Heart by Yasmin Mogahed – This is an Islamic book dealing with mental health and I wanted to include it because this is the one book that I repeatedly go to when I am struggling. It’s helped me in some of my most difficult times and I highly recommend it.

So here’s some of my recommendations! Let me know if you have read any that you have found beneficial!

Book Recommendations, Top 5 Wednesdays

Top 5 Wednesday – Books featuring Mental Health

Hey booknerds! It’s another Top 5 Wednesday post! This is hosted by Sam over on Thoughts on Tomes where you share you top 5 for the chosen topic for that week. You can check out each weeks topic over on Goodreads.

At the beginning of this month it was mental health awareness week. It’s so important to speak about mental health and to get rid of the stigma so people who are suffering don’t feel alone and can get help.

One of the things I am seeing more of is books that include characters who suffer from mental health and I’ve read some really great ones and a few that are releasing soon that I’m really looking forward to reading.

1 The Weight of our Sky by Hanna Alkaf – this book deals with a character suffering from OCD and I really loved it.

2 Are we all Lemmings and Snowflakes? By Holly Bourne – this book was so well done and has a cast of characters dealing with different mental health conditions

3 All the Things we Never Said by Yasmin Rahman – releasing soon and I’ve heard really great things

4 The Million Pieces of Neena Gill by Emma Smith-Barton – another book that’s releasing soon and I’m hoping to read the arc soon!

5 No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen – in this book the main characters mum suffers from anxiety and we see how it not only affects her but how it affects him too.

So these are some books that I loved and I am looking forward to reading that feature mental health.

Have you read any books with great mental health rep?

Booksish Discussions

World Mental Health Day – Self Care Tips

Today is World Mental Health Day and although speaking about mental health should be done regularly I am glad that we can use this day to highlight how important mental health is.

On this post I want to discuss some tips for self-care. It’s something I am incredibly bad at but I am working on that and so I thought that I would share some things that I will try my best to do and hopefully encourage all of you too!

But first, what is self-care? I know it’s taken me a long time to figure out what self-care actually is but what I’ve worked it out to be is the acts of caring for yourself both inside and out. I also think that creating boundaries so that you are not exerting yourself to the point of you burning out. And that self-care can be different for each person depending on what works for them. It can also vary depending on any other health conditions you have, I suffer from chronic pain due to 3 prolapsed discs and it has a big impact on my mental health.

So here are some things that I do and some that I’ve been recommended to try

1 Daily maintenance – brushing your hair, washing your face and getting changed out of your pyjamas may seem like something small but I find it really helps.

2 Go for a walk – especially when the weather is good I like to go out even for a short while. Fresh air and just getting out of the house can be really helpful

3 Exercise – I have a love hate relationship with exercise. I grew up playing netball but I just can’t cope with that level of sport anymore but I still do stretches and exercise at home. Exercise releases serotonin and helps keep my pain in control which helps improve my mental health

4 For me reading is my ultimate way to take a step back from the world. Making a cup of tea, lighting a candle and grabbing my blanket as I curl up on the sofa is one of my favourite ways to help me relax

5 Aside from reading there’s lots of other ways in which you can relax from colouring, drawing, painting, journaling any hobby that helps you relax

6 Meditation or relaxation exercises – there’s lots of different relaxation exercises you can try to find one that works for you or doing some deep breathing exercises which I find very effective in helping me stop a panic attack before it fully starts.

7 Mindfulness – this is something I first heard about last year during my counselling sessions and there’s lots of ways to practice mindfulness which I find really helpful

8 Spending time with my cat, Sherlock, who just knows when I need to be comforted and will come and lie down with me. Petting and cuddling is just so therapeutic! My panic attacks have gotten significantly less since adopting him

9 A relaxing bath or shower – when my depression is bad convincing myself to shower is incredibly hard but once I do I feel so much better. I know some people find baths very relaxing, add a bath bomb and light some candles and you can sit and read or listen to something

10 Take a step back from social media – although it’s a great way to connect with each other, it’s also something that can cause a lot of stress. I find not going on my social media so much or limiting my time on there helps to improve my mental health

So here my top tips! There’s lots more ways to practice self-care but I didn’t want the post to get overwhelming. If there’s anything you do to practice self-care then do let me know in the comments!

Fiction Books, Middle Grade Books

No Fixed Address by Susin Nielson – Book Review

I picked this book up at the Northern YA Literary Festival and I’m glad I did because I really loved this book! This story deals with a topic that is so relevant in todays society and it was really well done!


Rating: 5/5

You can read the synopsis here from Goodreads:

Felix Knuttson, twelve, is an endearing kid with an incredible brain for trivia. His mom Astrid is loving but unreliable; she can’t hold onto a job, or a home. When they lose their apartment in Vancouver, they move into a camper van, just for August, till Astrid finds a job. September comes, they’re still in the van; Felix must keep “home” a secret and give a fake address in order to enroll in school. Luckily, he finds true friends. As the weeks pass and life becomes grim, he struggles not to let anyone know how precarious his situation is. When he gets to compete on a national quiz show, Felix is determined to win — the cash prize will bring them a home. Their luck is about to change! But what happens is not at all what Felix expected.

This story is both heart breaking yet it still makes you smile. It deals with homelessness, mental health and friendships and it does it really well. It is told from the point of view of 12 year old Felix who lives with his mum Astrid and due to a lot of different issues in their life they end up homeless and living in a van. He has to navigate a new school and friends without letting them find out that he is homeless and that comes with lots of problems and him having to lie about where he lives.

Felix has had to deal with so much in his life that it has made him mature for his, sensible and has learned how to cope with everything that is thrown at him better than I think most adults could handle. He always puts on a brave face and is so resilient. As their living situation gets worse they have to resort to things which he is uncomfortable with. He has moral dilemmas about having to steal food but ultimately has to be able to eat. He is a good person and he always wants to do what is right. I felt so bad for him as he was put in horrible situations that no child should have to deal with but I also admired the way he handled everything.

His mum, Astrid has a lot to deal with too, she has mental health issues and although we’re not told directly, the way she was indicated that she had depression as she would suffer from what Felix called “slumps.” Although she isn’t a horrible mother, she isn’t the best mother either. She is unable to hold a job because she tends to be rude to customers and has to lie in her job interviews to be able to get another job. But it is clear from their relationship that she loves him very much and he loves her.

Reading this book made me think about everything that we take for granted, from a safe, warm place to sleep to hot food and access to a shower and bathroom. We don’t realise how important these basic necessities are to having a good quality until we don’t have them anymore and it makes you appreciate these so much more.

Another thing I loved was the friendships in this book. Felix has some wonderful friends, both Dylan and Winnie are supportive and even though they may not always know what to do they are always there for him. They don’t judge him or make him feel like he should be embarrassed for his situation, instead they subtly bring more food in their lunches to share with him. I also loved that a teacher noticed that something was wrong with Felix’s situation and he tried to help Felix too along with other members of the community once people find out about their situation.

I enjoyed the inclusion of the game show in the story and how it gave hope to Felix to be able to solve their money problems and it did result in them getting the help they need but not in the way they had initially imagined.

This is a book that is relevant in todays society with the increase in homelessness and this book makes us think about how people can become homeless and that we should have more compassion and not make assumptions about them.


The Big Blurtathon – We All Have A Story

Today is The Blurt Foundation’s first Big Blurtathon. The aim of The Big Blurtathon is to raise awareness of mental health and the impact it has on people and to help raise funds for The Blurt Foundation. The theme this year is “we all have a story”.

But first let me tell you who The Blurt Foundation are. They are a social enterprise which exists to help people who are affected by depression. They are dedicated to making a positive social change and increase awareness and provide support for those affected by depression.

So lets get back to the theme of this post. Today I want to share my story with you all. It’s something I’ve been debating about doing since I heard about the blurtathon as I was kind of nervous about sharing what is a difficult topic for me. But I am going to share what I can with you all today.

So I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression 2 years ago but I know that I’ve had it for much longer than that. It just took me a very long time to actually seek help. I hid it for many years and I think I got so good at hiding it that it just became my “normal”. But eventually it got so bad that I couldn’t cope with anything anymore and I knew I had to seek help.

I kept it so well hidden that no-one even realised I had anxiety or depression. Everyone just thought I had mood swings and even I didn’t understand what was happening to me until I was about 18. But I was 25 when I first decided that I need to get help. It was probably the most scariest and stressful thing I’ve ever done. But I am proud of myself for finally taking that step.

I have good days and bad days and my mental health is also affected by how I am doing physically. I have 3 prolapsed discs in my lumbar spine and suffer from chronic pain. So one can make the other worse.

I think one of the most difficult things for me was that I had to stop working as physiotherapist, more due to my physical health but I think that’s one of the things that made my mental health deteriorate a lot more too. I’ve slowly come to terms with this now and I’ve started blogging and finding new things to keep me busy and joining the book community. It has helped me to start recovering and I am in a much better place now. It’s been a long road but I am proud of how far I have come.

I have started tentatively speaking to some of my family and friends about my anxiety and depression. I am hoping that as I get more used to speaking about it, it will help break the stigma which was one of the main reasons that I found it difficult to speak about it and seek help.

Even though I’ve struggled a lot with my condition, it’s helped me to become more resilient and persevere despite the circumstances.

So there you have it, this is my story.

Do go and check out the hashtag #weallhaveastory on social media for all the others who have shared their story today and check out The Blurt Foundation for more of their work on their Website and their social media; Twitter, Instagram and Facebook