Mental illness is something we don’t often discuss. Even though our understanding of it has come far in the past few decades, we could still do more and help more. People who have to deal with issues like depression, anxiety, addiction etc. are lonely and often misunderstood.

I know, because I was one of them – and I had a whole host of issues, especially through my teenage and early adulthood years, even recently.

Starting off with anxiety, depression, and all the way to the negative body image, I suffered through it all. Some of it was self-inflicted but some of it was more about society and the way things work and the way people act nowadays.

I was alone in my struggles. And so many young people are. Society only looks after what’s convenient for them – when you are not, they shun you.

But I lived through it and I still am. Every day is a fight but it’s the one I’m surviving and living to tell the tale.

While I had no support back when I was a teenager, I found plenty later in life. And some people will always hold that special place in my heart.

Here are some writers that changed my life and the way I perceive myself forever:

Bryony Gordon

“Bryony Gordon is one of those down to earth and relatable people who can always make you smile. From her Instagram account to her podcast, you’ll be more than delighted with her stories and her refreshing honesty.” – Johnny Hubbell, writer and mental health campaigner.

She has several best-selling books, an award-winning podcast called Mad World and she is an overall inspiration to people all around the world.

She is best known for her interview with prince Harry about his mental health in the debuting episode of her podcast but also for championing body positivity when she ran the marathon in just her underwear. Bryony often speaks about sobriety, OCD, importance of being yourself and many other important issues.

I stumbled upon her social media profile first and then I discovered that she also writes and has a podcast. And at just the right time too – I had some major body positivity issues and I felt like I constantly had to pretend I’m someone I’m not. When I found Bryony, I was startled. This person was amazing, and she beamed so much positivity as well as being herself in the purest way possible.

So, I started listening and I took notice. Slowly, her words started making an impact. I was no longer afraid to show who I am, and my body didn’t seem to be an enemy anymore. Thanks to her wise – and hilarious – words, I got better.

Laura Dockrill

Laura Dockrill has a vast experience with visiting and seeing just how many young people in schools bully not only others, but also themselves into looking and being the certain way. She wanted to write a book to help those kids handle the impact of negative comments and the overall negative outlook on different types of bodies and personalities. She mainly tackled low body confidence, self-love, body positivity and similar subjects in her book Big Bones.

Laura wants to show that teenagers – no matter the size – can be happy and healthy.

If I had Laura’s words when I was a teenager, I would have gotten better a lot sooner. Sadly, I didn’t get to know her work until later in my life, but it was still something quite special and dear to my heart.

Her work is mainly aimed at teens, yet so much of it can speak directly to adults with same issues. It did so for me. I still read her words and I still find healing for my wounds and doubts in what she has to say. There is no one perfect body size – and we can all be happy, no matter what we look like.

Juno Dawson

“Juno is an author tackling everything from gender identity and body positivity to addiction. She is namely known for being an award-winning author and speaking about mental health for young people as well as representing transgender people.” – Anders Gates, artist and writer.

Some of her amazing books include Mind Your Head which talks about the importance of mental health for teens and The Gender Games: The Problem with Men and Women, from Someone Who Has Been Both, which tells the tale of how gender is messing with everyone.

Since I liked her book Mind Your Head, I decided to take a look at the rest of her work and all I can say is that people of all ages struggling with body image issues and gender identity as well as how society perceives them, will find healing and help in her words.

Mira T. Lee

Mira T. Lee tells us all about mental health and sisterhood in her wonderful book Everything Here Is Beautiful. One woman is struggling with her illness and the other is looking for the right way to give support. One of them has always been the responsible so when the other starts to hear voices, she starts searching for ways to help her. However, things don’t go as planned and nothing is easy for either of them. It’s a fantastic tale of love, loss, belonging, sisterhood and many other things. It will touch the hearts of many people whether they have dealt with mental illness or not.

While I had no personal experience with anyone close to me having a mental illness, once I started taking interest in mental health books and writers, this book seemed like the right choice. And truly, no matter how heart wrenching at times, it’s one of a kind book for anyone who wants to dig a little deeper.

Stephanie Wittels Wachs

This amazing author wrote one of the most captivating tales of the year, Everything Is Horrible and Wonderful: A Tragicomic Memoir of Genius, Heroin, Love, and Loss which could change your entire perspective on addiction.

She tells the story of losing her brother to one of the most commonly misunderstood and wide-spread illnesses of our time – addiction. When he overdosed, she decided to get to the heart of what makes this disease so much harder to understand than the others and why forgiving the victim is difficult. This novel is not only incredibly emotional but also raw and honest.

This book will help anyone dealing with addiction – or anyone who has someone struggling with addiction.

These authors, unapologetically themselves in the most honest way possible, all helped change our collective perspective on mental health and victims of mental illnesses. They helped change mine as well. Reading their work encouraged me and made me feel better as well as think better about myself.  Hopefully, you will enjoy their work and you will find as much peace in their words as I did.

Martina Sanchez is an entrepreneur also working as a content marketing specialist at Lucky Assignments and Gum Essays. She loves writing articles and running her blog where she shares useful tips on digital marketing and SEO. Martina is also a manager for Researchpapersuk website.



Image courtesy of Priscilla Du Preez.