Australian Authored Lived Experience Books

I haven’t provided links for purchasing these books, so that you can research where the best purchase point is. And in some cases, they may only be available second-hand or by borrowing from the library.

This list is nowhere near as extensive as I expected it to be, but I hope it will become such, with your own suggestions for additions to the list.

Both in Hard Copy and E-Books

  • A Better Life by Craig Hamilton - A Better Life is a rich blend of Craig Hamilton's own amazing story of how as a busy broadcaster, dad, husband and mental health campaigner, he lives with bipolar. Craig also shares the experiences of others in the public eye who are dealing with mental illness.

  • A Woman's Courage: Inside Depression by Christina Taylor - What is it like to live with depression? To feel you are in a black hole with no way to escape? Christina Taylor presents an honest account of what it was like for her, keeping a smile on her face for the benefit of the outside world, as she battled daily with conflicting and abnormal emotions and behaviours. Finally, no longer able to keep up the facade, she attempted suicide.

  • Back From The Brink by Graeme Cowan - If you have severe depression or bipolar disorder, it is important to remember that you are not alone. Featuring interviews with people from of all walks of life, Back from the Brink is filled with real stories of hope and healing, information about treatment options and medication, and tools for putting what you've learned into practice. If you are ready to put one foot in front of the other and finally set out on the path to recovery, the powerful stories in this book will inform and inspire you to make lasting change.

  • Black Dog Daze by Andrew Robb - Andrew Robb's battle with the black dog has touched a chord with many Australians. His memoir explores the challenges of managing depression, political ambition and life in the Liberal Party.

  • Broken Open by Craig Hamilton - The true story of how ABC broadcaster Craig Hamilton stared down his demons to survive a mental breakdown. How, on the eve of the biggest undertaking of his career, he suffered a complete mental breakdown. Instead of covering the Sydney Olympics Craig was confined to a padded cell in a mental institution and later diagnosed as suffering bipolar disorder.

  • Is There No Place for Me? Making Sense of Madness By Kate Richards - Kate makes a plea for more awareness and understanding of mental illness, so that there is a place ‘Where our differences are not automatically judged as “bad” but are understood in the context of our illness and our lives, and perhaps even celebrated’. Kate’s differences, as detailed in her memoir, show that she is an extraordinary human being, and that her life and efforts to become well are undeniably worthy of celebration.

  • Journeys with the Black Dog Edited by Tessa Wigney, Kerrie Eyers & Gordon Parker - Inspirational stories of bringing depression to heel from 'people like us' who contributed to the Black Dog Institute's 2007 writing competition.  Lots of good ideas on what works – and what doesn't! – in dealing with depression.

  • Life in Limbo My Battle with depression, infertility and mental illness by Matt Barwick - This memoir is a frank, moving and at times humorous account of Matt Barwick’s struggle with infertility, and diagnosis with bipolar disorder triggered by family suicide.

  • Life Sentence - A Police Officers Battle with PTSD by Simon Gillard - Available 1 May 2017  - 'How a dream job became a nightmare' - I’m awake again, shaking, sweating. My heart is racing and I stare into the dark. I can’t close my eyes. I fear the images too many to count. They swim behind my eyelids; I am drowning in their terror. Suicides, heart attacks, murders, car crashes. The images come again and again. All the dead people . . . I have to touch their legs, their arms, reach into their pockets, look into their unseeing eyes for clues.

  • Madness: A Memoir by Kate Richards - Kate is well positioned to ask the hard questions about our mental health system. She experienced episodes of depression and psychosis well into her adult life and is a trained doctor. 'With swift, bold brushstrokes she plunges us into [these] fractured worlds . . . These powerful vignettes show those suffering mental illness as ordinary people rather than as statistics or ''patients''.' The Saturday Age

  • Mastering Bipolar Disorder  Edited by Kerrie Eyers & Gordon Parker - Personal stories from sufferers of bipolar disorder reveal what it's like on the inside. Their inspiring accounts and wise advice are accompanied by tips from psychiatrists for managing this difficult condition successfully.

  • Out Of The Blue by Joanna Fincham - Behind the bubbly warm facade that viewers saw, Joanna had been struggling with depression for years.  An inspirational story of overcoming depression to live a happy and fulfilled life.

  • Running Like China: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted by Madness by Sophie Hardcastle - This is her engaging, lyrical and brave story of her mental illness; her attempts to ‘fix’ herself with drugs, alcohol and sex; and her family’s anguish.

E-Books Only

  • Back From The Brink Too by Graeme Cowan Family members of people with mental illness play an enormous role in providing care and support for people living with depression, as well as other forms of mental illness. Back From The Brink Too provides much-needed practical guidance for family carers and raise awareness of the key role they play in helping to manage mental illness, but it also works to reduce the isolation many families experience. It wasn’t until Graeme recovered from his own depression did he come to understand the tremendous toll that the illness caused his family.

  • Bipolar and the Art of Roller-coaster Riding: living well with bipolar disorder by Madeleine Kelly - Veteran manic-depressive, rights activist and former medical student Madeleine Kelly presents detailed, easy-to-understand medical information and practical advice on recovering from crisis; getting the best and avoiding the worst of treatment; protecting your well-being, work, education, relationships and money; and using your brakes to stop bipolar episodes before it's too late - and discover how to enjoy the ride!

Hard Copy Books Only

  • A Better Life : How Our Darkest Moments Can be Our Greatest Gift by Craig Hamilton A Better Life is a rich blend of Craig Hamilton's own amazing story of how as a busy broadcaster, dad, husband and mental health campaigner, he lives with bipolar. Craig also shares the experiences of others in the public eye who are dealing with mental illness, including powerful and practical material from Andrew Johns ( bipolar disorder), Garry McDonald ( anxiety and depression), Jessica Rowe ( postnatal depression) and Wally Lewis (depression). Craig's authentic, practical and reassuring advice is underpinned by a wicked sense of humour that lifts the darker aspects of his story and makes for a truly compelling read. 

  • Back, After the Break by Osher Günsberg - Osher Gunsberg, one of Australia's most loved celebrities, opens up in a powerful, dark, funny and heartwrenching memoir about life, love and living with mental illness.
    It's hard to remember a time when Osher Gunsberg (or Andrew G as he was then) wasn't on TV - he's just always been there, looking at ease in the spotlight, beaming a big smile, with an occasionally questionable haircut, on everything from Channel [v] to Australian Idol, and later capturing the heart of the nation by hosting every season of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise.
    But while everything looks great from the outside, the real picture has not always been quite so rosy. Osher has always known he's different to most other people. Struggling with anxiety, panic attacks and weight issues since he was young, he tried for years to drink away the anxiety and depression. He ended up unemployed, divorced, suicidal and certifiable on the other side of the world, yet somehow he managed to put back together the broken pieces of his mind and make a life for himself again. He lives with a mental illness - and he's come to terms with it to live an authentic, rich and fulfilling life.

  • Bev Aisbett Books  - Living With It : A Survivor's Guide To Panic Attacks Panic attacks - approximately 5% of the population will experience them at some time or another. the dread of having an attack - they seemingly come out of nowhere - transforms the ordinary world of everyday life into a nightmare of anxiety and suffering. Author Bev Aisbett, a survivor of Panic Syndrome, has three basic messages: ? You can beat this ? You are not alone ? You will recover! Taming the Black Dog : A Guide to Overcoming Depression Don't want to get out of bed in the morning? Feeling as though the light is fading at the end of the tunnel? You may be suffering from depression, a condition Winston Churchill referred to as the Black Dog. taming the Black Dog is a simple guide to managing depression, which an estimated 1 in 5 people will suffer in one form or another at some time in their lives. Modelled on Bev Aisbett' s successful LIVING WItH It, tAMING tHE BLACK DOG has a unique blend of wit and information and is an invaluable guide for both chronic sufferers of depression as well as anyone with a fit of 'the blues'. Letting it Go : Attaining Awareness Out of Adversity LEttING It GO can show us how to: recognise self-limiting beliefs improve our self-esteem change our negative attitudes benefit from fortuitous coincidences in our lives improve our intimate relationships and ourselves learn to love and forgive others, and ourselves As a survivor of Panic Disorder, Bev Aisbett had a lot to live with. But she overcame It and has shared with us the secrets of her success in two previous books, LIVING WItH It and LIVING It UP. In this book, Bev Aisbett shows us how we can use the strategies learned in her journey of self-discovery to achieve change and growth in our lives. Now Bev has a lot to live for. And we can too!  The Book of IT Using 10 steps from her popular workshops, counsellor Bev Aisbett provides you with practical, sound advice on how to recognise and tame anxiety, whether it affects you just occasionally or every single day. Do you beat yourself up over mistakes? Do you often worry, worry, worry? Do you tend to expect the worst? Do things have to be perfect before you can enjoy them? Do you have a belief that life is hard? Are you overly concerned about what others think of you? Do you compare yourself to others? Do you find it hard expressing your feelings, especially anger? Do you give more than you get? Do you look after others more than you do yourself? Are you critical of yourself and others? If you answered 'yes' to even half of these questions, would you say that your life and emotions are in balance? Anxiety isn't a punishment - it's a wake-up call, and you can do something about it! All of It Bev Aisbett's simple and humorous illustrated self-help books have provided guidance on anxiety, depression, self-image and self-worth issues for thousands of readers over the past 18 years ... this is her story. Bestselling author Bev Aisbett's no-nonsense text, combined with her insightful cartoon images, have reassured countless people seeking help for anxiety. Now, she reveals the deep spirit that lies behind these deceptively simple books. All of It is an unflinching self-examination, an exploration of Bev's life journey through and beyond crippling anxiety and depression. the themes of love and loss, rejection, self-doubt and a longing for spiritual meaning are familiar to all those who seek to make peace with life on this complex plane called Earth. Peppered with glimpses of 70s and 80s share-house culture, and told with candour and tenderness, this is the story of an unconventional and multi-layered life and the ultimate quest to 'come home to myself and find a welcome there'. Fixing It : The Complete Survivor's Guide To Anxiety-Free Living What's your IT? Anger? Fear? Low self-esteem? Depression? Addiction? FIXING It brings together for the first time in one volume, a complete guide to surviving anxiety in its many forms and how to move on to achieve change and growth in our lives. Includes the titles LIVING WItH It: A Survivor's Guide to Panic Attacks, LIVING It UP: the Advanced Survivor's Guide to Anxiety-free Living and LEttING It GO: Attaining Awareness out of Adversity. A survivor of Panic Disorder, cartoonist and author Bev Aisbett presents a fun, easy-to-read guide for sufferers of anxiety disorders, and a valuable insight for those interested in personal development. Living It Up : The Advanced Survivor's Guide To Anxiety-Free Living LIVING IT UP offers further hope and guidance for sufferers of anxiety disorders, and valuable insights for those interested in personal development. What is your "It"? Anger? Fear? Low self-esteem? Depression? Addiction? LIVING It UP, a sequel to the popular LIVING WItH It: A Survivor's Guide to Panic Attacks, is a guide to surviving anxiety in its many forms - from the overwhelming terror of Panic Disorder to the less intense but equally destructive daily stresses of modern life. Bev Aisbett, a survivor of Panic Disorder, cartoonist and author, presents a fun, easy-to-read guide to life skills required to transform anxiety into a valuable tool for growth and change. Get Over It : Finding Release From the Prison of the Past Got difficulties? Get over it... GET OVER IT is the perfect resource to help you feel more grounded in your ability to face the difficulties in your life. Finding Release From the Prison of the Past Got difficulties? Get over it ... the past can be a prison which traps us in the illusion that life is hard, that we are meant to suffer and that our fate is out of our hands. One day I decided that this was an extra burden that I could live without. Bev Aisbett, acclaimed author of LIVING WItH It, tAMING tHE BLACK DOG and LEttING It GO, once again delivers the straight-talking, compassionate advice that has helped tens of thousands of people move past trauma and into hope. GEt OVER It is the perfect resource to help you feel more grounded in your ability to face the difficulties in your life. Taming The Black Dog The fully revised, expanded and updated edition of Bev Aisbett's bestselling guide to overcoming depression, Taming the Black Dog First published in 2000, Bev Aisbett's classic, simple and easy-to-follow guide to overcoming depression Taming the Black Dog has sold over 220,000 copies and helped thousands of people manage their depression.Now expanded and fully revised, this updated edition of Taming the Black Dog features Bev Aisbett's unique blend of information, humour and clear, simple and practical advice. It is an invaluable guide and source of information for both chronic sufferers of depression as well as anyone with a fit of 'the blues'. Over 1 in 5 people will suffer some form of depression at some point in their lives, so Taming the Black Dog is a more important resource than ever before. 

  • Fairytales in Reality - My Victory Over Manic Depression by Margo Orum - At thirty-one Margo Orum suffered a brief psychotic episode which was later diagnosed as manic depression (bipolar disorder). In the seven years that followed she endured six manic episodes and three crippling depressions. Fairytales in Reality is her compellingly honest account of her experiences. From the heights of euphoria - believing at times that she was the Messiah - to the depths of fear, confusion and loneliness, Margo reveals her thoughts and emotions with unnerving clarity. We share her embarrassing moments, the rocky path of her search for love, and her triumph at discovering ways to manage the illness and reclaim control over her life.

  • I Had a Black Dog by Matthew Johnstone  - Artist and writer Matthew Johnstone, a sufferer himself, has written and illustrated this moving and uplifting insight into what it is like to have a Black Dog as a companion. It shows that strength and support that can be found within and around us to tame it. Black Dog can be a terrible beast, but with the right steps can be brought to heel. There are many different breeds of Black Dog affecting millions of people from all walks of life. The Black Dog is an equal opportunity mongrel. Stunningly illustrated, totally inspiring, this book is a must-have for anyone who has ever had a Black Dog, or knows someone who has.

  • Life on a Roller-Coaster by Madeleine Kelly - Life on a Roller-Coaster is an encouraging and empowering resource for anyone who lives with manic-depression, whether they're on the roller-coaster or watching from the ground. Madeleine Kelly developed manic depression in her final year of medicine. When finally diagnosed she set about learning as much as she could about her illness to help herself and others. This book is a funny, challenging and practical book to help sufferers and their families lead fulfilled lives.

  • Living with a Black Dog : His Name Is Depression by Matthew Johnstone - Whether you've struggled with your own Black Dog for years, wondered why you're feeling sort of "ruff" lately, or known someone shadowed by a dark canine, "Living with a Black Dog" is for you. Artist and writer Matthew Johnstone, a depression sufferer himself, delivers a moving and uplifting insight into life with this unsavory companion. Even better, the book shows the strength and support to be found within and around us to tame this shaggy beast and ultimately bring it to heel.

  • Mastering Bipolar Disorder Edited By Kerrie Eyers & Gordon Parker Mastering Bipolar Disorder gathers personal stories from the real experts: people with bipolar disorder. They share inspiring and sometimes amusing accounts of their experiences of bipolar episodes, and wise advice on ways of managing the highs and lows on a daily basis.They cover all aspects of bipolar disorder, from first symptoms and diagnosis, to times when the disorder is more or less under control. They emphasise the importance of personal strategies such as exercise and support networks alongside medication and professional assistance.

  • My Mum Has Depression by Nina Mitchell My Mother Has Depression is a beautifully illustrated book that explains depression in simple words and pictures suitable for children of all ages. Nina wrote this book as a result of her personal experience to provide a tool to adults so they can start the conversation with children. My name is Nina Mitchell. I am the mother of three boys, a qualified primary school teacher and now a first-time author. I have also suffered from depression for several years.
    While being treated for depression, I have found it challenging to explain to my sons the highs and lows of this illness and what it means to them. My association with fellow sufferers has led me to the conclusion that like me, most adults also have difficulty explaining what depression is to their children.

  • Running Like China : A memoir of a life interrupted by madness by Sophie Hardcastle - One day Sophie Hardcastle realised the joy she'd always known had disappeared. She was constantly tired, with no energy, no motivation and no sense of enjoyment for surfing, friends, conversations, movies, parties, family - for anything. Her hours became empty. And then, the month before she turned seventeen, that emptiness filled with an intense, unbearable sadness that made her scream and tear at her skin.

  • Swimming Against the Tide By Petria Thomas, Andy Shea Petria Thomas won the hearts of millions around the world with her triple-gold-medal-winning triumph at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004. Having overcome the pain and anguish of three shoulder reconstructions and two ankle reconstructions over the length of her glittering 12-year career, Petria is admired and respected for her grit, determination and steely will to win. But there's more to the Queen of Butterfly than meets the eye, and here for the first time is the full and authorised story of Australian swimming's golden girl: her battle against severe depression, her cries for help that almost ended her life, and the extraordinary determination that overcame these physical and emotional pressures to reach the pinnacle of her career.

  • The Anxious Bird by Jules Haddock - I believe that birds send messages. An aboriginal friend, whose totem is a Mudlark, told me once during a difficult stage of my life, to always hold my integrity. Anxiety challenges integrity. If you watch a Mudlark, they are often looking at their reflection – looking at someone  that isn’t real. This is my story where, like a Mudlark, I saw my reflection in many mirrors, until finally I found myself. I am no longer lost to my mental illness. PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Generalised Anxiety Disorder, but rather I see an experience that has made me what I am  today. A beautiful birdI hope this book inspires you to help and seek help with other human birds in your life. Be the wings of recovery.

  • What Do You Do When the Mirror Lies? by Janet Duffus - Janet Duffus has written a poignant account of her struggle with anorexia nervosa and trauma. It is not an illness that lends itself to disclosure in sufferers, and it is a rare privilege to have her honest and deeply moving account. 

  • When Angels Cry By David O’Neill Tells the story of one man's descent into a living hell and nightmare that was initially triggered by his discovery that his father had been sexually abusing his daughter. The book then follows his nightmare through to some sort of recovery after years of torment for his daughter, family and himself. 



We are currently accepting recommendations for Mental Health Coping Strategies & Techniques, and Australian Online Supports, Research Study Sites, Treatments & Therapies, Apps, Courses and Lived Experience Books. Please fill out the submission form below, and once we look at a suggested inclusion, we will add them to our site.