Books and blogs when times are rough

“When things fall apart and we can’t get the pieces back together, when we lose something dear to us, when the whole thing is just not working and we don’t know what to do, this is the time when the natural warmth of tenderness, the warmth of empathy and kindness, are just waiting to be uncovered.”

Pema Chodron

Your brain is not the most awesome or inspiring place to delve into when you’re feeling awful.

Scientifically speaking, things have changed too.

Your brain:


What can save the day is a couple of things. Maybe add new ones to your own ideas list. Not everything is appropriate for different times of day or weeks; sometimes you need cheer up laughter and other times you need to listen to someone talking of an experience you relate to, so that you feel less lonely. So, here are a few suggestions based on things that have worked for me.

  • For leaving the house and walking down the road when existential panic and feelings of WTF threaten to overwhelm you: music and podcasts 🙂 
  • For getting dressed in the morning: sometimes a podcast, sometimes a piece of comedy from YouTube. Sometimes angry female lead songs.
  • For commuting: definitely a podcast
  • For getting home from work: music
  • For bedtime: a spirit-based podcast or a book (if you can concentrate enough to read – this is often one of the first symptoms of mental illness)


For comforting people, who strengthen you just where you are:

  1. Tara Brach:
  2. Pema Chodron:


For changing your brain up and out of the sadness (thanks to The Mighty)

Tune 1

Tune 2

Tune 3

Tune 4

Tune 5

Tune 6


For books that comfort:


For podcasts you can relate to:

  1. Mentally Yours
  2. The Hilarious World of Depression
  3. Mental Illness Happy Hour
  4. On Being

And…. buy or read any design, art, fashion or tune-out magazines that help you feel superficial and detached from the world of mental illness. Because life is also about coral pedicures, baking the perfect chicken pie, Singapore shopping and antique jewellery up for auction. The main purpose of anything you do is to either bring comfort to yourself and/or help you to feel less alone and more understood.

Finally, my favourite mental health cartoonist in the world is Gemma Correl. She takes the seriousness of things out of things, and will put a smile on your face 🙂


Happy reading, smiling and listening!




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