Day 26: Self-help books that actually help

Books that market themselves as self-help books are not helpful.

I don’t want a how to. I want a me too.

These books are just that. They’re stories of real people who really fought the same monsters I do. And most of them aren’t talking out of a place of “I’m over this FOREVER, here’s how you can get where I am,” more of a “I’ve gotten so much better at dealing with this but I’m still in the arena like you, here’s what my fight looks like and if yours is different and my coping methods are useless to you I’m not offended.”

1. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
This book is hilarious. Even the chapters about depression are hilarious, partly because they’re so relatable* that it’s funny but mostly because she’s just impossibly funny herself.

2. Boy Meets Depression by Kevin Breel
Allie Brosh somewhat makes light of her struggle, despite being totally open and honest and accurate. This one I cried through the whole thing. The difference is probably that I was deeply, dangerously depressed when I read it, while I read Hyperbole during a high point where I could laugh about it because I wasn’t currently drowning in it. But it’s still wonderful even though it was very very sad.

3. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
Again, I laughed hysterically through every page. My mom got so used to hearing me from across the house that she’d call “Are you still reading that book or is something else funny now?” The answer was always that I was still reading that book. This one is more about anxiety even though it addresses depression too. It’s also just loaded with funny stories about totally random things. It’s my favorite of all on this list.
By the way this list is in no particular order. Hence why my favorite is in the middle.

4. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
I read this quote in an article on Thought Catalog once:
“You will read a book that will change your life. I’m talking about the book that became the lens from which you chose to see the world. You were just waiting for something to come along and explain to you how the world works, to make it all easier for you, and it came.”
And that’s how Daring Greatly happened to me. I wasn’t even looking for it for those reasons. I didn’t even know what it was about. When I read the introduction and found it was about vulnerability, I almost stopped reading because that was the last thing I wanted to think about at the time, but it was exactly what I needed.
I got this book from the library so many times I finally bought it because I wanted to write all over it and highlight it. It’s an easy read but also heavy. Well, heavy makes it sound like a hard read. Rich is better. You can read it fast if you want, but you’ll miss things. You need to read it slowly or read it many times. This is a treasure chest of feel-good wisdom and the kind of truth that’s so true it hurts you.

There are probably more, but I actually prefer short lists when I’m the one looking for new things to read because otherwise I get overwhelmed and can’t choose where to start. If I think of any others I like, I’ll come back and update this.

*Wordpress, you suck. Relatable is a word. Your red line made me doubt myself but Google agrees with me too.


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