Books and stories are invaluable companions – especially to connect with and accept ourselves on a deeper, rawer level.
Times are challenging, and recent events have brought to the fore a dire need to address mental health concerns that most of us grapple with in silence and solitude. It’s crucial for us and our loved ones to know how to help and cope.
From personal stories to fictional characters that will speak to you and your struggles – scroll down below for a diverse list of books that will help you develop deep insights into your mind and your mental and spiritual health.
I’ve Never Been (Un)Happier by Shaheen Bhatt
I don’t write about my experiences with depression to defend the legitimacy of my pain. My pain is real; it does not come to me because of my lifestyle, and it is not taken away by my lifestyle.
Unwittingly known as Alia Bhatt’s older sister and diagnosed with depression at the eighteen, this tell-all memoir is an intimate and raw look at the day-to-day experiences of living with depression.
Battles of the Mind by Anna Chandy
Our minds fight battles, trials and tribulations on a daily basis. Anna Chandy, the chair of the Live, Love, Laugh Foundation along with actress Deepika Padukone, shares here a personal story of survival through pain and lows – a story that we all can take away something from. Above all, her story teaches us to hope.
Death is Not the Answer by Anjali Chhabria
Did you know that India is the world’s suicide capital with over 2.6 lakh cases reported every year?
From recognizing covert suicidal intentions to timely interventions – it has become more important than ever to develop insights into the minds of suicidal patients. Psychiatrist Dr. Anjali Chhabria attempts with to help thousands who are questioning the motive of their life, or dealing with grief – as well as people who have lost loved ones to suicide.
Beating the Blues by Seema Hingorrany
According to a WHO study, a mindboggling 35.9 percent of India suffers from Major Depressive Episodes (MDE). India’s leading clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, and trauma researcher Seema Hingorrany provides a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to treating depression, examining what the term really means, its signs, causes, and symptoms; and some accessible self-help techniques you can adopt to manage it in your day-to-day life.
On Meditation by Sri M
In today’s challenging world, don’t you wish you knew how to quieten your mind and focus on yourself?
Spiritual leader Sri M breaks down the practice of meditation into a simple and easy method that any working man or woman, young or old, can practise in their everyday lives.
Happy for No Reason by Mandira Bedi
Mandira Bedi is a fitness icon. But behind the six-pack is also a snotty, complaining, can’t-get-out-of-bed-today girl who, in her own way, is still searching for true and unconditional happiness.
In her book, she invites you along on an ongoing discovery of some kind of non-scientific, non-spiritual and as-yet-non-existent formula for finding peace in everything; of how to be happy for no reason.
How to Travel Light by Shreevatsa Nevatia
Diagnosed as bipolar at twenty-three, a young journalist struggles for a decade, fighting a cycle of depression, and euphoria.
In this candid, stylish journey, we visit diverse former loves and eccentric fellow sufferers; mental health institutions and Benares; his moments with Diana Eck and Deepika Padukone-and reckonings with past wounds.
The Beauty of Ally My Days by Ruskin Bond
‘So here I am, delving into the past like Monsieur Poirot, not to solve a mystery, but to try to understand some of the events that have helped define the sort of person I have become.’
India’s most loved storyteller embarks on a self-reflective journey alongside his readers. Each chapter of this memoir is a remembrance of times past, an attempt to resurrect a person or a period or an episode, a reflection on the unpredictability of life. Some paths lead nowhere; others lead to a spring of pure water. Take any path and hope for the best. At least it will lead you out of the shadows.
The Younger Ones Struggle Too
Flyaway Boy by Jane De Suza
Spirited and powerfully imaginative, Flyaway Boy is a story about embracing everything that makes you uniquely you.
Kabir doesn’t fit in. Not in the wintry hill town, he lives in, and not in his school, where the lines are always straight. Backed into a corner with no way out, Kabir vanishes. With every adult’s nightmare now coming true, finding this flyaway boy will mean understanding who he really is.
This one is a must-read for every parent to understand, accept, and connect with their child better.
Inside a Dark Box by Ritu Vaishnav
When you get trapped in darkness, finding your way out can be a long and lonely battle, especially when the war is within your own head. Here’s a peep inside a mind struggling with itself.
Powerfully illustrated and extremely accessible, Inside a Dark Box is a simple book about what depression can feel like.
The Lies We Tell by Himanjali Sarkar
Seventeen-year-old Irfan Ahmed is handsome, easy-going and deeply in love with his girlfriend, Uma. However, when Uma dumps him for his best friend, Rishi, Irfan’s life begins to unravel. Things haven’t been good at home ever since his sister left. And soon, they get worse.
when a photograph of Uma begins to circulate among their classmates, everyone suspects it’s Irfan taking his revenge on his two erstwhile best friends.
Is Irfan really going out of his mind or is there someone else out there playing games with him?
Unbroken by Nandhika Nambi
So okay, I’m a monster.
But look what I have to deal with–my brother is a frightened little freak, my father is selfish and ill-tempered, my mother is an ignorant doormat and my friends are just plain irritating. And I’m in a prison surrounded by them all, with nowhere to escape.
But one day, something happens … and suddenly I see what these relationships and people (however annoying) mean to me. I’ve been a monster for such a long time now, I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to be human. Is it too late?
In the end, all these books and characters come together to convey a simple yet strong message – you are seen, and you are not alone. It is okay to reach out. Your mental health matters.
Team Penguin wishes you safety, health and wellbeing.