You are no less or more of a man or a woman or a human for having depression than you would be for having cancer or cardiovascular disease or a car accident.
Author Matt Haig tells us the story of how he battled depression and anxiety. He is honest when talking about his journey and learning to live again, trying to make the most of his time on earth. Mental Illness is still a taboo subject in our society. Many people are suffering from one form or another of mental illness, but few are willing to talk about it. It is an everyday battle that is misunderstood or misrepresented. Matt Haig brings these topics out of the darkness and into the light. He doesn’t shy away from admitting his struggles and just how bad it could be. This book is filled with wisdom and stories that help you feel less alone in your struggle. I can honestly say that it has saved my life.
The chapters are only a few pages, or some just one page, filled with stories from Matt as well as advice and insight. He addresses the stigma behind mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Haig provides researched facts to help people better understand what depression means and how many people it affects around the world. He also writes about his inner conversations as they progressed from telling himself he is worthless to reminding himself that he is more than this illness, and he is loved.
Not all chapters are about his experiences, however. There are other chapters that are reminders to the reader that you are not alone. Some parts of the book also try to encourage you to remember things or people that make you happy. These insights and reminders are exactly as the book’s title suggests; they are reasons to stay alive and keep fighting.
I have read this book two times already and I’m about to pick it up for the third time. It’s the perfect sized book to pick up and read multiple times or to reread chapters as you need them. One of my favourite chapters is called “Images on a Screen.” In this chapter, Haig reminds us to accept all of our thoughts, even the negative ones, as long as you don’t let them define you. It’s impossible to feel happy all the time, despite people who say ‘be more positive, it’s not that hard,’ because for some it is that hard. It’s okay to feel sad or angry or anxious, and that doesn’t make you a sad or angry or anxious person. You are still you.“Sometimes on the rocky, windy path of recovery, what feels like failure can be a step forward.” Click To Tweet
Even if you don’t suffer from a mental illness, I suggest you read this book as well. It’s important to understand the reality of these illnesses and Haig even gives advice on how you can help someone else that suffers from anxiety or depression. This book is for everyone to read and I think it should be required reading in schools, to help people of all ages understand that it’s okay to be depressed or have a mental illness. Writing this book helped Matt Haig and reading it has saved my life. Maybe it can save yours too.
About the author:
“Matt Haig is a British author for children and adults. His memoir, Reasons to Stay Alive was a number one bestseller, staying in the British top ten for 46 weeks. His children’s book A Boy Called Christmas was a runaway hit and is translated in over 25 languages. It is being made into a film by Studio Canal and The Guardian called it an ‘instant classic’. His novels for adults include the award-winning The Radleys and The Humans. He won the TV Book Club ‘book of the series’, and has been shortlisted for a Specsavers National Book Award. The Humans was chosen as a World Book Night title. His children’s novels have won the Smarties Gold Medal, the Blue Peter Book of the Year has been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and was nominated for the Carnegie Medal three times.” He recently came out with a follow up to Reasons to Stay Alive titled Notes on a Nervous Planet. (Courtesy of Matt Haig’s website www.matthaig.com)