Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron
You can read the DSM and doctor’s comments but reading a narrative by a gifted author (Sophie’s Choice, etc.) about what it’s like to have Major Depressive Disorder is enlightening. He talks about how his view of depression (and suicide) change after suffering himself. He talks about suicide, including how close he got, and various artists he knew who killed themselves. Provides great insight into severe depression.
His writing skill, personal experience, and research (he himself read about his disease in the DSM) provide for a fascinating and brief (less than a 100 pages) read.
Scarred Faith by Joshua Ross
I have already loaned my copy so I can’t quote much except this: “May God forgive us for taking better care of our buildings than we do our neighbors.”
The book is very personal and very powerful. It focuses on the loss of Ross’ sister who died unexpectedly at a young age and that death’s impact on his faith. He says a lot of important things about risk, adventure, and faith. His style is humorous and down-to-earth but also be warned: Don’t read it in public unless are you okay with crying in public. Big, ugly crying.
The second half of the book has a lot of great stories about what God is doing in Memphis.
Would be great for anyone who has lost a loved one, for ministers, and Jesus followers of all kinds.
An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison
Only halfway through this one but it is interesting. It’s a personal account about living with Bipolar Disorder (technically Schizo-Affective because she also had delusions/hallucinations but she focuses on the more commonly known Bipolar) written by a psychologist. She does a great job of painting the picture of the mood swings, especially the highs of mania and the spending, risky behavior, etc. that accompanies it. Jamison does a good job of explaining why so many who suffer from BPD resist taking medication in spite of the severity of the symptoms.
The most interesting tidbit so far is that she made it all the way through graduate school without recognizing she had Bipolar Disorder. She was well aware of her moods and struggles but didn’t connect the dots.