6 Spectacular Books That Combine Mental Health With Comedy

The topic of mental illness does not always have to be somber. Read on to learn about some books that put a comedic spin on mental health.

Author's Corner Diverse Voices Memoirs & Biographies Recommendations
Person reading books in a hoodie turning back towards the viewer with a light blue background and a darker blue floor.

When it comes to mental illnesses, many people see them as times of complete darkness and sadness. While those are certainly big parts of the experience, that does not mean people should always look at these situations with horror, pity, and a serious perspective. Sometimes, there can be humor found in them as well. In fact, it is important to have this humor to help give people a better understanding of mental health and to help some people recognize that they are not alone. Many writers with mental illnesses have looked at their experiences and have been able to find comedy in them. That is what leads to them write books with comedic and fun language to talk about some of the somber moments of their lives.

The Hilarious World of Depression by John Moe

Depression can affect many people, but a lot of those people are too afraid to talk about what they are going through. However, talking is what can make people feel less alone. Comedian and podcast host John Moe has dealt with depression for a long time, as have many members of his family. Many of Moe’s peers in the comedy world are dealing with depression as well, and he noticed that talking with them about their struggles made him feel less alone. That is why he started his podcast, The Hilarious World of Depression, and wrote a book with the same name.

Book cover of The Hilarious World of Depression with centered white words on a red background with a small microphone above the words and a small tear drop below the words.

The oxymoronic title demonstrates what Moe wanted to get out of his podcast and what he wants to get out of this book. The book is filled with many hilarious stories from interviews he has had with comedians who have depression, as well as some depression-related anecdotes from his own life. Furthermore, this book involves Moe’s exploration into the culture of depression, its reputation in society, and the different ways it can affect people. The topic of depression seems far from hilarity, but Moe’s book helps readers understand a new side to the struggle.

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

As a writer and a comedian, Jenny Lawson has taken some serious topics and used her writing to give those topics more humor. She wants people to feel understood by her books so that they can find the comedic side of the dark situations. Lawson continues this idea with her book Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things, which goes into detail about how Lawson has used humor to confront her mental illness.

Book cover of Furiously Happy with a smiling raccoon on a gold background with small yellow flakes.

Lawson’s life has involved dealing with a large amount of depression and anxiety. At a certain point, Lawson’s depression got so bad that she had no choice but to try to manually force herself out of it. That involved her taking herself on fun adventures and creating some happy moments for herself. These moments and adventures range from being simply lovely to quite hilarious. Lawson wrote this book to show her readers how they can find fun and comedy in the midst of depression and how that can be the first step toward improvement.

Don’t F*cking Panic by Kelsey Darragh

Comedian, filmmaker, and YouTube star Kelsey Darragh is known for her daring personality and her unfiltered observations about the world. She has put forward a persona full of sex-positivity and confidence. However, while there may be authenticity in that reputation, Darragh has also dealt with mental illnesses like anxiety disorders taking over moments of her life. That is why she wrote a part guide and part workbook for coping with anxiety, Don’t F*cking Panic.

Book cover of Don't F*cking Panic with various little pink and black scribbles and drawings on a yellow background with a black and pink title.

In Don’t F*cking Panic, Darragh walks the readers through ways that they could possibly deal with anxiety, as well as how to fight against the stigma of mental illnesses. The book is meant to teach people how they can accept themselves and how they can recover from the panic attacks that may pop up in their lives. In addition, there are also parts of the book that readers can fill out and write in as a way for them to calm their brains. As the title indicates, this book is meant to be comedic and bold, which can sometimes be the best way for someone to lift themselves up through times of trouble.

Sure, I’ll Join Your Cult by Maria Bramford

There are many people that wish they could just belong. They want to be able to find a community and not feel so much like an outsider. Comedian Maria Bramford knows this feeling all too well. Through the low periods of her life, particularly ones involving her mental struggles, Bramford wanted to find a positive community. She talks extensively about her journey to find one in her memoir, Sure, I’ll Join Your Cult.

Book cover of Sure. I'll Join Your Cult with Maria Bramford wearing a long white dress with long sleeves and a tall collar with flowers in her hair and a wide-eyed expression on an orange background.

With her comedic voice, Bramford tells her readers about the different groups that she has joined in her life. There is a wide range in these groups, but they all connect to Bramford’s desire to be included in society. Along with joining groups, Bramford talks about the different activities she has done and other ways she has tried to escape her mental isolation. Through everything that Bramford experienced, she always kept going, and she hopes her memoir will help other people keep going as well.

Overthinking About You by Allison Raskin

It’s no secret that the dating world isn’t perfect. Dating can be difficult for anyone to navigate. It can be even more difficult to deal with that world if you are dealing with mental illnesses. However, that does not mean dating with mental illnesses is impossible. Filmmaker, author, and mental health advocate Allison Raskin has proven that to be the case, and she wants to help other people with her book, Overthinking About You.

Book cover of Overthinking About You with the word Thinking repeating behind the title in faded shadows on a yellow background with a pink title.

In this book, Raskin shares some of her own dating experiences that have been impacted by her OCD, anxiety, and depression and how she was able to learn from them. In addition, Raskin talks to a variety of experts, both in the world of dating and in mental health, who share their insights on the matter. With her experience in comedy writing, Raskin adds her own hilarious and relatable flair to this book to help readers realize how they can lift themselves up through every harsh dating situation. Raskin shows that through every battle that comes with dating and mental illnesses, she is still able to laugh about what has happened and go forward to the next battle.

Everything Is an Emergency by Jason Adam Katzenstein

The debilitating nature of OCD and panicking does not seem so comedic to most people. To those people’s credit, they would be correct, as OCD can be a serious struggle. However, that does not mean that comedy cannot be found in some of the worst moments of life. Writer and artist Jason Adam Katzenstein has dealt with many of the problems that may come with OCD. With his book Everything Is an Emergency, Katzenstein wants to show people what his world looks like through an artistic lens.

Book cover of Everything is an Emergency with a cartoon male holding his legs together with a record player on his head looking panicked on an orange circle which is on a red background and the title in a speech bubble coming from the record player.

In this book, Katzenstein draws some comics that display situations he has gone through in his life. Whether they be the small moments of the anxiety he has over shaking hands or the larger breakdowns that he has had, Katzenstein wants to show it all so that more people can understand what he is going through. The use of pictures with words allows these situations to be more approachable for a reader and provides some light levity to the writer’s situation. Even though many of his situations are tough and possibly painful, Katzenstein is allowing people to see his OCD through a lighter angle.

Everyone’s experience with mental health is bound to be different, even among people who have the same illnesses. However, there are some struggles that are universal and can connect to many people. For instance, a universal experience may be people treating those with mental illnesses like they are sad all of the time and that they are unable to joke around about their situation. These books demonstrate how comedy can be an effective tool when it comes to powering through mental illnesses. It will not be able to solve anything overnight, but it can make some experiences easier, and it can help provide some brutal honesty about mental health struggles.

If you want to learn about more mental illness representation in literature, click here.

If you want more mental health–related book recommendations, click here.