New Mental Health Picks from the Publishing World

A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled by Ruby Wax

frazzled

Ruby Wax is a British comedian who suffers from depression and negative thinking. It was this thinking that forced her to get a Master’s degree in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy from Oxford. Her training in comedy and theatre inform her writing style as this is the funniest book on mindfulness out there. She gives you a six-week mindfulness course as well as humorous snippets of her personal story. She also writes about the science of mindfulness. And, this is science writing that will tickle your funny bone. She’ll show you how mindfulness related to her life and how it can relate to your’s. She won Britain’s highest honor, an OBE, for her services to mental health. Her website is http://rubywax.net.
Lost Marbles Insights into My Life with Depression and Bipolar by Natasha Tracy

lost
Natasha Tracy skillfully uses her personal experience with bipolar 2 and her gift for science writing to talk about stigma, types of bipolar, medication, how to talk to someone with bipolar. This is the type of book I wished I had when I first got out of the hospital. This is a fact-based book on the nuances of living with bipolar and depression.

She writes the well-known blog Bipolar Burple found at http://natashatracy.com.
Notes on a Banana A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression by David Leite

banana
David Leite, the James Beard Award-Winning creator of the website Leite’s Culinaria, writes a tell-all memoir about coming to terms with his homosexuality and getting diagnosed with bipolar 2. Throughout the book, he uses humor and  his love of food and cooking as a motif.  Overall, this was an interesting read and very well-written as he studied memoir with writer Marion Roach Smith of the Memoir Project. A longer interview is forthcoming.

He can be found at leitesculinaria.com.

Tips for those trying to write the mental health memoir

Some of my advice stems from author Dani Shapiro, memoirist, who I had the chance to study with at a writing retreat. Dani along with my graduate school writing professors have inspired me that my book can inform, inspire and be written masterfully.

Find your arc and don’t make it totally about mental illness. Your arc is your over-arching themes. You could write a story about your mental illness or someone else’s and you can infuse moments of cooking into it. There you will have something a lot more people can relate too if they can’t relate to your mental illness.

Write about one or several moments of your illness. Don’t give us an autobiography.

Just start writing. Take one moment in your story and write a long essay about it. This is your first chapter.

Break your story down into moments. Write an essay for each one.

Keep a Commonplace Book of your favorite quotes. Some of them may be included in your book in front of chapters. That one’s from Dani.

Where you can, weave science fact into your story. This will make you into not just a storyteller but an expert.

Look for an agent but be prepared to self-publish. There are a surprising lot of people writing memoirs of this type. If you get a lot of rejection and still believe in your project, there are tons of ways to self-publish on the internet. My first novella was self-published. I’ll save self-publishing advice for another post.

If you have other questions, leave them in the comments or drop me a line on the contact page.