Books & resources about personal journeys & memoirs

The following is a list of recommended books and resources about personal journeys and memoirs. The Location(s) available column shows where these books are available, eg, from your local Christchurch City Library (CCL) and/or from the Mental Health Education and Resource Centre (MHERC).

Books can be reserved online and checked out by visiting a CCL or MHERC. If a book is not available, a librarian may be able to suggest another book or place a hold on a book. To borrow or place a hold on a book, you must be a member of the library. MHERC can post books and other resources out to its users, including those living in rural areas, and will include a post-paid bag for returning books. Once read, books need to be returned to the library.

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CoverTitle & AuthorDescriptionYearLocation(s) available
An Unquiet Mind

By Kay R Jamison
Subject: Personal Journey

Here the author examines bipolar illness from the dual perspectives of the healer and the healed, revealing both its terrors and the cruel allure that at times prompted her to resist taking medication. An Unquiet Mind is a memoir of enormous candor, vividness, and wisdom - a deeply powerful book that has both transformed and saved lives.

8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder

By Carolyn Costin
Subject: Personal Journey

This is no ordinary book on how to overcome an eating disorder. The authors bravely share their unique stories of suffering from and eventually overcoming their own severe eating disorders. Interweaving personal narrative with the perspective of their own therapist-client relationship, their insights bring an unparalleled depth of awareness into just what it takes to successfully beat this challenging and seemingly intractable clinical issue.
Eating in the Light of the Moon

By Anita Johnston
Subject: Insights and story telling

By weaving practical insights and exercises through a rich tapestry of multicultural myths, ancient legends, and folktales, Anita Johnston helps the millions of women preoccupied with their weight discover and address the issues behind their negative attitudes toward food.
Apple a Day : A Memoir of Love and Recovery from Anorexia

By Emma Woolf
Subject: Anorexia, Personal journey

At the age of 32, after ten years of hiding from the truth, Emma Woolf finally decided it was time to face the biggest challenge of her life. Addicted to hunger, exercise and control, she was juggling a full-blown eating disorder with a successful career, functioning on an apple a day. A manifesto for the modern generation to stop starving and start living.
Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive

By Stephen Fry
Subject: DVD. Personal journey

This programme follows Stephen Fry on an emotional but entertaining journey that takes him into the homes of starts and the lives of ordinary people who juggle this illness with their working lives and into the surgeries of psychiatrists and labs of researchers who are trying to help control the condition.
Taming The Black Dog

By Bev Aisbett

Subject: Tips and humour

A simple guide to managing depression. Modelled on Bev's successful Living with IT, this book, with its unique blend of wit, information and practical tips, will be an invaluable guide for sufferers of depression.

All Blacks Don’t Cry

By John Kirwan

Subject: Audio-clips, Personal journey, NZ best seller

This New Zealand best-seller now includes more than 20 audio clips of inspirational messages from John Kirwan himself creating an even more personal reading experience and a powerful tool to aid anyone suffering with depression.

We need to talk about Grief: How to be a friend to the one who's left behind

By Annie Broadbent
Subject: Personal journey

Talking about death and grief has become something of a modern taboo. Most of us would rather avoid the subject altogether because it makes us feel anxious and awkward. When Annie Broadbent's mum died, one of the hardest parts of her experience was seeing her friends and extended family paralysed by their fear of saying or doing the wrong thing. Grief is an unavoidable part of life and we will all be called upon at some point to help a friend or loved one cope with the death of someone they love. We Need to Talk About Grief will help you do that. Frustrated and saddened by her own experience, Annie decided to share her story and the stories of others she has met, in order to shed light on the emotions felt by the bereaved and how best to support someone grieving for a loved one. The contributors differ in age, gender and background but all have experienced immediate loss, whether a child, parent, sibling, partner or close friend. Combined with expert advice from key charities, We Need to Talk About Grief will help you navigate the common pitfalls, such as choosing appropriate words of comfort, making practical gestures of help, how to react to crying, when to offer a hug and how often to stay in touch. This moving and enlightening collection of voices from the shores of grief is an invaluable guide that will help anyone wanting to comfort a grieving loved one.

Overcoming Baby Blues: a comprehensive guide to perinatal depression

By Gordon Parker
Subject: Personal journeys

This book shares intimate stories of mothers' experiences with depression and other mood problems during pregnancy and their baby's first year. The stories shine with wisdom, humor, and fortitude. Also included are research-based guidelines on assessing moods, causes of perinatal depression, and effective management strategies. Safety of medications in pregnancy and breastfeeding is covered, as are suggestions for adapting diet and lifestyle to reduce symptoms, and advice for partners.

Shy: a memoir

By Sian Prior

Subject: Personal journeys

A Memoir frank, provocative, remarkable in its clarity and beautifully written is a book about unease: about questioning who you are and evading the answer. It is about grief, and abandonment and loss. It is about how the simple word shy belies the complex reality of what that really means.

How to communicate with someone who has dementia: A guide for carers

By A Caughey
Subject: Dementia

"When carers and the people they care for engage in good communication, frustrations and stress are minimised. Good communication enables carers to manage most challenges in a positive and respectful way.The book provides practical strategies that are easy to implement when dealing with some commonly encountered problems drawn from real-life experience. It explains what works, what doesn’t, and why. It also shows how to use language effectively, how to implement critical listening skills, and how to interpret body language"--Publisher information.

Keeping it Real: Love your body, love your life

By M Carr

Subject: Overcoming Challenges

Inspirational blogger Makaia Carr left school at 16 and was pregnant with her first child a year later. In her own words, she was a 'Maori teen mum from the 'Naki' who others expected to end up on the DPB. Instead she worked her way up through the fashion

The Resilient Farmer: Weathering the challenges of life and the land

By D Avery
Subject: Wellbeing

"'I had a destroyed farm, a destroyed bank account and destroyed hopes. I couldn't afford to move, so I decided to make good of what I had.' And so begins Doug Avery's story of emotional resilience in the face of what at times seemed a hopeless situation. The Marlborough-based farmer suffered terribly during eight years of drought. His farm was depleted and so was he. Although he didn't realise it at the time, Doug had severe depression. His story, he says, is common to many in the rural sector who soldier on in isolation, slipping further and further into debt, depression and desperation. In addition to providing people with practical solutions for emotional wellness, he espouses a more sustainable way of farming where soil health and respect for the land is paramount. Doug says the three pillars to successful farming are emotional, financial and environmental resilience. By tackling all three, farmers will prosper and be better placed to weather the inevitable ups and downs that come with farming"--Publisher information.


Tyson & Joey: Two Worlds Collide

By T Watts
Subject: Anxiety and depression

The story has a self-help thread throughout, which is inspired by the author’s personal experience of living with anxiety and depression. The text conveys the truths that enabled him to rise out of suffering, and to live a life of peace and fulfilment.

Black sails White Rabbits: Cancer was the easiest part

By K A Hall
Subject: Personal Journey

Kevin A. Hall is an Ivy League graduate of Brown University, where he earned bachelor's degrees in mathematics and French literature. Despite being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1989, he went on to become a world-champion Olympic sailor, as well as racing navigator for Emirates Team New Zealand in the 2007 America's Cup match. A two-time testicular cancer survivor, Hall has spent a successful twenty-five years as a racing navigator, speed testing manager, and sailing performance and racing instruments expert. A brief version of his story was featured in Joel and Ian Gold's book Suspicious Minds: How Culture Shapes Madness, as the only nonanonymous case study of a patient with Truman Show delusion. Hall currently lives in Auckland, New Zealand, with his wife and their three children.
Which Way is Starboard Again? Overcoming Fears & Facing Challenges Sailing the South Pacific

By A Kirtlan

Subject: Anxiety

Many New Zealanders sail the South Pacific but not many do it with as little boating experience as 'uncoordinated, impractical, directionally challenged, desk-bound type' Anna Kirtlan, who says that until she met Captain Paddy and Wildflower II, her idea of rough sailing was 'taking the Cook Strait ferry with a hangover'. Not only does she have to learn to sail, and navigate, from scratch, she also has to overcome recurrences of the anxiety and panic attacks that plagued her teen and early adult years. Anna's story is told with humour and perceptive insight into herself and the adventures she shares with Paddy and those they meet along the way -- fellow sailors and islanders alike. She is upfront about living with mental illness, about fighting with it and being scared out of her mind at the thought of sailing the high seas, but somehow doing it anyway.

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