I am hardly an authority on loss, grief, divorce, depression, or anxiety… What I have is real-time experience with these issues. When it comes to the concept of “self help,” I tend toward a largely sarcastic, honest, and brutalist ilk, rather than more sunshine and rainbows. I want honesty, I want grit, I want to recognize and celebrate the pain, and I want a healthy helping of side-splitting laughter thrown in. If you operate in a similar vein, I would recommend the following works as they have helped me enormously:

Furiously Happy – Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess)

Hyperbole and a Half – Allie Brosch

Hardcore Self Help – Robert Duff

Music (Albums, Songs, and Musicians)

My music recommendations come more from my overall favorites than the lyrical integrity of each individual song. Not that the songs are not, in themselves, wonderful… But each one is not necessarily going to give you that “ah ha” moment and be incredibly inspiring. I’ve found that loud music is hugely beneficial to combat existential pain. Sometimes you want to belt the lyrics at the top of your lungs and sometimes you want to crank the volume to the highest level and let the beat, bass, and cascade of notes and words fall over and through you. Rather than letting difficulty and self doubt do something similar. I don’t need “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” for music to feel my soul…

Frank Turner – Positive Songs for Negative People (Album)

Half the City – St. Paul and the Broken Bones (Album)

Wooden Heart – Listener (Album)

Men Among Mountains – The Revivalists (Album)

Lonesome Dreams – Lord Huron (Album)

Shouted, Written Down, and Quoted – Green Sky Bluegrass (Album)

Adam’s Son – Matt Wright (Album)

Takk – Sigur Rós (Album)

Bad Self Portraits – Lake Street Dive (Album)

Our Own House – Misterwives (Album)

GLA – Twin Atlantic (Album)