All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…

Day 19: My (not very high) opinion of self-help books

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The 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge continues:
Day 19: Have you ever read a self-help book or a book related to psychology?
What is your opinion on them?  If you have read them do you have a favorite?


Following my breakdown in 2007, my abuser decided that all I needed to do to ‘get better’ was to read any of the hundreds of self-help books she had decided were the saviors of humankind.

Whether it be Roads Less Travelled or the endless Chicken Soup series, she believed that my entire life – that my entire soul – would have been fixed by simply reading one of these books.

I didn’t believe such nonsense.

In fact, the only self-help book I’ve ever loved is called Happiness (Will Ferguson); a fictional satire on the self-help book industry. For that is what it is, an industry established to make people feel bad about themselves for not being able to fix their lives with a single platitude or simple belief.

The “self-help” books I like are those grounded in reality. They are those that come with substantiated evidence from the medical field and are written by professionals who have practiced what they have preached with quantifiable results.

Books such as: The Happiness Trap (Russ Harris), 8 Keys to Safe Trauma Recovery (Babette Rothschild), Getting Past Your Past (Francine Shapiro) or Living with Voices: Fifty Stories of Recovery (Marius Romme/Sandra Escher); all of which look at areas of recovery without resorting to the level of emotional manipulation that many self-help books do.

Many self-help books (and the ones my abuser believed held the key to my salvation) teach you that all you have to do to change your life is to believe your life will change and it will magically do so.

This is bollocks!

The only thing that will change your life is a hell of a lot of goddamned hard work, so if I do turn to the written word to help me, I will always turn to books that will assist me in my battle, rather than those that manipulate my fragile sense of mind with hope, faerie dust and bullshit.

One thought on “Day 19: My (not very high) opinion of self-help books

  1. Addy,
    I agree with you 100%. A “close friend” gave me a book called The Shack. The premise is a child is kidnapped, sexually assaulted, then murdered. The father goes to the location and finds god and is happy. What the fuck? That is going cure me? Needless to say, no longer friends. Just turn to jesus people tell me. I am Pagan, they all know this. Self help books are a joke. It does get old that people think there is a cure. I am just happy my good days out number my bad days. Best to you! Xo


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