Feature Image Credit: @readsrandiread

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and while it only lasts 31 days, people struggle with mental illness 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. It can be hard to understand for those who have not experienced it, but the authors of these books share personal and often hilarious perspectives of different mental illnesses. And they’re the perfect reminder for those that do live with mental illness to find laughter and joy in the difficulties and the absurd. 

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Drawing from her own experience with depression and other conditions, Lawson explains how it has led her to live life to the fullest. People struggling with any type of mental illness will connect to the words and experiences in Furiously Happy. This book talks about depression and mental illness, but it digs deep into finding and seeing happiness.

Telling the Truth but I’m Lying by Bassey Ikpi

Underneath the mask of being a confident performer, Bassey Ikpi’s mental illness was filling her mind. After a breakdown that resulted in hospitalization, she was diagnosed with Bipolar II. Ikpi helps us to understand mental illness by sharing her own experiences. She looks at how mental health impacts our everyday lives, and looks at the preconception of what it means to be “normal.”

That’s Mental by Amanda Rosenberg

How is it to live life with Bipolar II? Rosenburg breaks down the meaning and misconceptions of what it is like to live, laugh and love with Bipolar II. Digging into the overlooked and offbeat issues of mental illness, this book brings awareness of thoughts and ideas that are often avoided, because facing them is uncomfortable and embarrassing. It moves through the everyday realities of mental illness.

Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety by Daniel Smith

Smith shares how he learned to live with—and laugh at—his own anxiety issues. He shares his life-long experience with anxiety, from his first severe episode to trying to keep the love of his life. After medication, endless psychoanalysis, self-imposed isolation and meditation, Smith finally makes peace with his restless mind and becomes the man he has always longed to be.

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Seeing no way to go on living at 24, Matt Haig’s world caved in. This is a true story of how Haig came through crisis, prevailed over an illness and learned to live again. This is a funny, joyous book exploring how to live better and feel more alive.

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir by Felicia Day

This memoir talks about Felicia Day’s unusual upbringing, her fame on the internet, and embracing her weirdness to find a place in the world. From being home-schooled with zero friends to becoming one of the most influential creators in new media, Day opens up about the rough patches along the way. This book celebrates what makes people different and celebrate it in order to be brave enough to share it with the world.

It’s All Absolutely Fine: Life Is Complicated So I’ve Drawn It Instead by Ruby Elliot

Ruby’s minimal drawings of complicated issues capture the humor and joy of everyday life. Her drawings appeal to new people exploring these subjects, and to people who struggle with mental illness daily. This book talks about mood disorders, anxiety and body issues through funny drawings and a few shorts narratives.

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh

This is a full-color, illustrated book based on Allie Brosh’s popular website “Hyperbole and a Half.” It is a funny and honest memoir that recounts the thoughts in Brosh’s head that some of us may be too scared to talk about. She uses pictures, words, stories and more to talk about her experiences and make you laugh.