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2 'Dark' Books That Help Me Get Through Depression

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Some days TV, food and music don’t work. Somedays I need something to shock my heart and get it feeling again. Normally music does the trick, but every now and then I realize I need a good book.

Somehow dark books, especially ones about depression and suicide, have given me so much will to live. It seems contradictory, but books about struggle touch me in a way a thousand happy songs never will. They make me think about what suicide actually means. There are two books in particular that really gave me hope and I believe everyone with depression would benefit from reading them.

1. “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman

This book was extremely popular a couple years ago, but I never read it. Last year, I went through a really hard transition in my life and I felt lower than I had in a long time. For some reason this book popped into my head. I went to the store and bought this book I knew nothing about. That is extremely rare for me. I don’t read often and when I do I’m very picky. I took it home that night and began to read; it’s about a teenager named Mia, whose parents are killed in a car accident and is left with the decision of whether to live or die. She is stuck in a coma but she is able to see everything going on.

Throughout the book she is thinking back to her life with her family and friends. She is searching for the strength to stay, but also looking for a reason to justify leaving. On reaching the ending, I cried for a good hour. Up until then I had felt completely alone. This book made me realize that I’m not alone, no matter how dark times seem. I doubt that my life would be the way it is if I hadn’t found this book.

2. “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher

I found this book recently and I have fallen absolutely in love with it. It has a very complicated plot, but the basic facts are that a girl named Hannah Baker has just died by suicide. Before she died, she left tapes behind and sent them to all the people who took her to the point of wanting to die. The story follows a boy named Clay who had a huge crush on Hannah. Receiving the tapes made him realize how desperately she wanted to feel loved. She had been tormented, touched, bruised and broken. All she wanted was to matter to someone. What she didn’t know is that there was someone who loved her and wanted to be a part of her life all along.

This book got me thinking about how amazing it is that we can touch people’s lives without even knowing it. Depression can make you feel insignificant and lost, but you never know who really cares and is just too nervous. Even if you feel alone, you could be someone’s world and not even know it. This book was the only reason I got out of bed for months. Even if suicide feels like the only way, there is always another way. I promise. No amount of pain, loss or heartbreak can take away the potential for you to have an amazing life filled with people who adore you.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Unsplash photo via Ben White.

Originally published: May 11, 2017
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