Eighteen Books to Read for Mental Health Awareness Month 2022 – Kobo Writing Life

May is Mental Health Awareness Month in North America, and the KWL team has put together this list of eighteen books – nine non-fiction, nine fiction, a mix of backlist favourites and new releases! These titles feature the authors themselves and/or their main characters alike being frank in their writing about lived experiences regarding mental health and wellness. Start a new TBR pile with one or more of these titles this month, or grab a copy of each and begin reading today.

Eighteen Books to Read for Mental Health Awareness Month 2022 – Kobo Writing Life

You may also consider my Les Pensées Dangereuses, in which I discuss my own struggles.

Sample Saturday: “Les Pensées Dangereuses”

Hi, everyone. I considered sharing a seasonal tale here, but ultimately decided on this snippet from Les Pensées Dangereuses, in which I talk about some of the things I experienced with depression. I had not yet been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease when I wrote this. When all is said and done, though, I am 100 percent certain that the situation I talk about briefly was an instance of situational depression. I had an abusive supervisor who was gaslighting me and others; there’s only so much of that a person can take.

This is the final entry in my series for National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month. Please know that, if you are experiencing depression or any kind of mental health crisis, you are not alone. People care, and you matter. Please reach out for help, even if it’s just telling a friend like my pal Harold.


penseesSo, madness.

One of the things I remember most vividly was how a kind word could bring me to tears on those lowest days. During my last HMO job, there was a man in Radiology who was a hero to me. Harold always had a smile and a wave and, on some very dark days, a box of tissue, a hug and a safe haven in an office where I could cry for as long as I needed to without anyone seeing me. This time in my life was a third slide over the precipice, and this nice man cared enough to notice and offer a hand of friendship while others walked away as though the taint of my insanity might be contagious.

The physical pain. The gastrointestinal disturbances that were so bad that I bled. The night terrors, oh God. I would wake up screaming and crying. The main one I remember featured my colleagues hunting me with guns … and how when I thought I had climbed to safety, a coworker shoved me back into the bullet fire.

Crying on the way to work. Crying while I was there. Knowing that I was being sabotaged … that this was not a trick of my mind. Others knew, too, but refused to speak out; they told me they were worried about their own careers. Except for Harold in Radiology; he told my husband that he would speak in court about how I was treated if it ever became necessary.
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If you would like to obtain your own copy of Les Pensées Dangereuses, here are the back cover “blurb” and purchase links. Thank you for your consideration.

Part autobiography and part inspiration, Les Pensées Dangereuses (French for ”dangerous thoughts”) is a series of essays on friendship, spirituality, education, bullying, animals, clinical depression and more. Author Sharon E. Cathcart (In The Eye of The Beholder) shares her thoughts, including an unfinished autobiography, ”Unmasking My Phantoms: My Dance With Madness,” in this new book.

Apple Books; Amazon (geotargeted link); Angus & Robertson (Australia); Barnes & Noble; BOL (Netherlands and Sweden); Booktopia (Australia); Chapters Indigo (Canada);  Fnac (France); Kobobooks  (Also available for 2400 SuperPoints); La Feltrinelli (Italy); Librerías Gandhi (Mexico); Livraria Cultura (Brazil);  Mondadori (Italy); Porrúa (Mexico); Rakuten Japan; Scribd; Smashwords

Sample Saturday: “Les Pensées Dangereuses”

Hi, everyone. Continuing our theme for National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month, today’s sample is from my book of essays. Enjoy!

penseesOld coping skills remembered … (Blog, 3/14/05)

As I was working on the kitchen (not where I wanted it but certainly better, and the dishwasher is burbling merrily away), I remembered some things I hadn’t thought about in a while.

Some things that I learned when I had a complete nervous breakdown. (For those of you new to my blog or my life, it happened in 1996 and I still have some residual issues from it, including some agoraphobia).

Things I hadn’t thought about in a while … like “even if it’s small, do something.” By this, I mean take a small action. If the whole picture of a task is overwhelming, break it into individual steps and do the first one. Most of the time, taking the first step creates enough inertia to do some more. But at least take the first step. If that’s enough for today, that’s enough for today.

Celebrate small victories. You left the house when you felt scared to do so. You went somewhere alone: someplace you wanted to go. Rather than stay at home when you couldn’t find a companion, you went. Hurray for you!

Admit that you need some help. See a counselor (doing that). Take meds if you need ’em (primarily sleep issues; meds are periodic at this point).

Be grateful for the wonderful people who love you. Be grateful for the abundance you have; believe it or not, Mom was right when she told you there were people out there worse off than yourself. Every time I’m frustrated by the state of my house, I consider that there are people with no house over which to be frustrated … and I tackle one more little chore.

If you have too much stuff, give some of it away. Jeff and I are planning another enormous donation to the library where our friend works: a little municipal library without much in the way of fancy collections but with a great deal of gratitude for every book given to them. For us, this serves the multipurpose distinction of helping the library and its constituents, but also opening up shelf space for my horse collection … which then opens up floor space in the office/computer room.

Most of all, damn it, celebrate the things you did accomplish rather than looking around and crying about all of the stuff you didn’t get done. I’m not saying you should be like Pollyanna and play the “glad game,” but sometimes looking at everything you didn’t do makes it harder to get up and do some more.

I’ve been through hell lately; I won’t pretend otherwise. Much of it was outside my locus of control; believe me, if I could “fix” Le Petit General, I would. But I can control one thing: my office doesn’t own my soul or my spirit , and I am a better person than to allow them to keep me down. I’ll fix what I can (look for another job while I continue to do my excellent work) and realize that, no matter what they think, I’m better than that.


If you would like to obtain your own copy of Les Pensées Dangereuses, here are the back cover “blurb” and purchase links. Thank you for your consideration.

Part autobiography and part inspiration, Les Pensées Dangereuses (French for ”dangerous thoughts”) is a series of essays on friendship, spirituality, education, bullying, animals, clinical depression and more. Author Sharon E. Cathcart (In The Eye of The Beholder) shares her thoughts, including an unfinished autobiography, ”Unmasking My Phantoms: My Dance With Madness,” in this new book.

Apple Books; Amazon (geotargeted link); Angus & Robertson (Australia); Barnes & Noble; BOL (Netherlands and Sweden); Booktopia (Australia); Chapters Indigo (Canada);  Fnac (France); Kobobooks  (Also available for 2400 SuperPoints); La Feltrinelli (Italy); Librerías Gandhi (Mexico); Livraria Cultura (Brazil);  Mondadori (Italy); Porrúa (Mexico); Rakuten Japan; Scribd; Smashwords

Music Monday: “Sugar Sugar”

Yes, friends, I know I’ve shared this song before. However, October is National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month. I’ll be sharing things all month that helped me during the darkest days of my depression (triggered by what we now know is my Hashimoto’s disease). Reaching for joy in the midst of depression feels insurmountable, but you can often reach the next better feeling from where you are with simple pleasures. This is a song that never fails to make me smile and feel just a tiny bit better.

Sample Saturday: “Les Pensées Dangereuses”

penseesHello, everyone. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I think I’ve been pretty straightforward about some of the challenges I faced in this area, including the fact that I had a full-on breakdown in 1996 and my mom had to come and live with me for a while. So, today I’m sharing an essay from Les Pensées Dangereuses that talks about something I experienced a number of years ago. This may be hard reading for some, but I think it’s important to put an honest face on things.


So, the sleep disturbances have evidently started again.

Every time I woke up last night, I found myself thinking about work. I used my CBT techniques to stop it and kept trying to do something I’ve never successfully been able to do: build a “safe room” inside my head.

Lots of people who have been through psychotherapy probably recognize this technique. You build a room with things in it that are specific to you: things that you love, and make you feel good. The idea is that you create this space and then are able to go there whenever you need to in order to feel mentally okay.

One of the frustrations I’ve had is that I’ve never been able to create such a space. I’ve been able to briefly use real-world places where I’ve felt good, but never with the degree of success that you might hope.

I got a couple of things accomplished mentally over the wee hours: a solarium with polarized glass and an ivory damask chaise longue with dark wood accents. (Apparently, this fabric has one heckuva Scotchgard, because I want my animals in this “safe room.”) My symphonium is there too … and I can have any song disc I want, not just the ones I own.

Other than that, nothing is made or put in place. Stopping the racing thoughts and thinking about what would go in my room did help me go back to sleep twice, but when I was still awake at 4:15 after the latest odd/scary dream, it didn’t seem to make sense to try going back to sleep any longer (I arise at 5).

It’s raining outside right now. My calico cat, Abigail, is in the computer room with me, washing her pretty little face. She has spent the majority of the past 4 days on the bed with me. Seamus, my big grey tabby, is still on the bed where I left him, cuddled up next to where I had been sleeping.

I know this sounds peculiar to non-animal people, but Seamus and I have a particular connection, and I sometimes get what amount to messages from him. One day, I quite clearly received “I am afraid the ‘sad place’ is going to make you die.” The ‘sad place’ is that place I go every day and come back from sad. That would be work.

I wish I didn’t have to go to the ‘sad place’ ever again, because it seems to be getting sadder by the moment. Unfortunately, my continued search for alternate employment has been unsuccessful. So, I’ll go back to the ‘sad place’ today and do my best to get through it.
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If you would like to obtain your own copy of Les Pensées Dangereuses, here are the back cover “blurb” and purchase links. Thank you for your consideration.

Part autobiography and part inspiration, Les Pensées Dangereuses (French for ”dangerous thoughts”) is a series of essays on friendship, spirituality, education, bullying, animals, clinical depression and more. Author Sharon E. Cathcart (In The Eye of The Beholder) shares her thoughts, including an unfinished autobiography, ”Unmasking My Phantoms: My Dance With Madness,” in this new book.

Apple Books; Amazon (geotargeted link); Angus & Robertson (Australia); Barnes & Noble; BOL (Netherlands and Sweden); Booktopia (Australia); Chapters Indigo (Canada);  Fnac (France); Kobobooks  (Also available for 2400 SuperPoints); La Feltrinelli (Italy); Librerías Gandhi (Mexico); Livraria Cultura (Brazil);  Mondadori (Italy); Porrúa (Mexico); Rakuten Japan; Scribd; Smashwords