Mental illness – memoirs about healing from PTSD and traumatic events

It’s hard to know where to start with suggesting books about healing from posttraumatic stress disorder but here are some suggestions.

Among You: The extraordinary true story of a soldier broken by war


Among You: The Extraordinary True Story of a Soldier Broken by War by Jake Wood

A part-time soldier’s deployments to Iraq makes his return to civilian life disillusioning. Going back for a third tour of duty, this time in Afghanistan, leaves him with debilitating chronic PTSD. Jake finds himself a new enemy – himself.

A Man Named Dave book cover


A Man named Dave by Dave Pelzer

Adult life with PTSD. The author of A Child Called “It” battles his PTSD in secret, fearing his military career will be over if his PTSD is revealed.

Scarred by Sophie Andrews

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Scarred by Sophie Andrews

Neglected then abandoned by her adopted mother, groomed and isolated by her adopted father, Sophie descends into self injury and alcohol dependence. After several suicide attempts, she spends some of her teenage years in a psychiatric ward, but still refusing to speak about the abuse. Sophie’s only attachment figure is her father, just as he planned to be.

Shards of Glass by CW Seymore


Shards of Glass – A Little Girl’s Journey Back into Her World of Physical, Mental and Sexual Abuse

by CW Seymore

A hopeful book about healing from multiple types of abuse, including a rape which she repressed for many years. The author’s emotions from the abuse she suffers growing up come out in ways that distance her further from others – from using illicit drugs to promiscuity and swearing, yet nobody seems to question why a child from a “perfect” family would behave like this.

Testing the Waters

Testing the Waters (The Elements of Life) by E. McNew

Receiving excellent reviews, this book follows the author through a troubled childhood, her planned baby at age 15. The author battles with trauma throughout, including an abusive relationship and how she initially uses alcohol and drugs to cope.

The Onion Field by Joseph Wamburgh


The Onion Field by Joseph Wambaugh

Police officer Karl Hettinger and his partner were kidnapped by criminals after stopping a suspicious car in 1963. Karl’s partner is shot, leaving Karl with PTSD including survivor guilt. The legal process and trial traumatizes Karl further, as he tries to hold down his job and becomes increasingly unstable and suicidal.

The Missing Piece: A Transformational Journey

Image from goodreads

The Missing Piece: A transformational journey by Kate Gardner, Kerry Connelly, Andréa Dykstra and others

A compilation of 27 different women’s accounts of overcoming difficulties in their lives. Many are focused on healing trauma.

Trafficked by Sophie Hayes


Trafficked by Sophie Hayes

A young, white, British girl goes on holiday to Italy to visit a friend she’s known for several years. The trip quickly turns violent as Sophie is kidnapped and forced into prostitution by her former friend. Sex trafficking as experienced by a survivor.

Wasted by Mark Johnson


Wasted by Mark Johnson

Mark’s childhood involved emotional neglect, violence and crime. He began abusing alcohol and taking illegal drugs at a very young age and descended further into addiction and criminal behavior, including several jail terms. Several times Mark seemed to hit rock bottom and began recovering, only to relapse and descend even further into addiction and crime.  Against the odds he survived and recovered.

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7 thoughts on “Mental illness – memoirs about healing from PTSD and traumatic events

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