I’m a bookworm. A voracious reader. I wouldn’t know how to write if I didn’t read. Here are 12 books that have played the biggest role in helping me navigate my depression and subsequent existentialism. I highly recommend them and hope they will benefit someone’s life, too.
DEPRESSION AND FINDING MEANING
The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon
. . . The Noonday Demon examines depression in personal, cultural, and scientific terms. Drawing on his own struggles with the illness and interviews with fellow sufferers, doctors and scientists, policymakers and politicians, drug designers and philosophers, Solomon reveals the subtle complexities and sheer agony of the disease . . .
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
. . . Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose . . .
Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life by Thomas Moore
. . . Promising to deepen and broaden the reader’s perspective on his or her own life experiences, Moore draws on his own life as a therapist practicing “care of the soul,” as well as his studies of the world’s religions and his work in music and art, to create this inspirational guide that examines the connections between spirituality and the problems of individuals and society . . .
The Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling and the Search for Meaning by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham
. . . The Spirituality of Imperfection brings together stories from many spiritual and philosophical paths, weaving past traditions into a spirituality and a new way of thinking and living that works today. It speaks to anyone who yearns to find meaning within suffering . . .
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
. . . The story of a wealthy Indian Brahmin who casts off a life of privilege to seek spiritual fulfillment. Hesse synthesizes disparate philosophies—Eastern religions, Jungian archetypes, Western individualism—into a unique vision of life as expressed through one man’s search for meaning . . .
Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn’t Teach You and Medication Can’t Give You by Richard O’Connor
. . . Undoing Depression teaches us how to replace depressive patterns with a new and more effective set of skills. We already know how to “do” depression—and we can learn how to undo it. With a truly holistic approach that synthesizes the best of the many schools of thought about this painful disease, O’Connor offers new hope—and new life—for sufferers of depression . . .
The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time by Alex Korb
. . . Neuroscientist Alex Korb demystifies the neurological processes in the brain that cause depression and offers effective ways to get better, one little step at a time. In the book, you’ll discover that there isn’t “one big solution” that will solve your depression. Instead, there are dozens of small, practical things you can do to alleviate your symptoms and start healing . . .
RELATIONSHIPS AND PAST TRAUMA
Love is Never Enough: How Couples Can Overcome Misunderstandings, Resolve Conflicts, and Solve Relationship Problems through Cognitive Therapy by Aaron T. Beck
. . . Love Is Never Enough explores the most common problems in [relationships]: the power of negative thinking, disillusionment, rigid rules and expectations, and miscommunication . . .
The Journey from Abandonment to Healing: Turn the End of a Relationship into the Beginning of a New Life by Susan Anderson
. . . The Journey from Abandonment to Healing is designed to help all victims of emotional breakups—whether they are suffering from a recent loss, or a lingering wound from the past; whether they are caught up in patterns that sabotage their own relationships, or they’re in a relationship where they no longer feel loved . . .
Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect by Jonice Webb
. . . Running on Empty is the first self-help book about Emotional Neglect: an invisible force from your childhood which you can’t see, but may be affecting you profoundly to this day. It is about what didn’t happen in your childhood, what wasn’t said, and what cannot be remembered . . .
When the Past is Present: Healing the Emotional Wounds that Sabotage our Relationships by David Richo
. . . Psychotherapist David Richo explores how we replay the past in our present-day relationships—and how we can free ourselves from this destructive pattern . . .
Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie
. . . The healing touchstone of millions, this modern classic by one of America’s best-loved and most inspirational authors holds the key to understanding codependency and to unlocking its stultifying hold on your life . . .