Mental health is one of the main reasons I wanted to start my blog, as an outlet for my own experience with anxiety, as well as a piece of the internet where introverts like me could read and even share their own experiences.
I read Matt Haig’s part memoir (mostly), part self-help book, Reasons to Stay Alive.
If you feel reading on may upset or trigger you, then you do not have to read on. You can read my post on my own experience with anxiety here.
If you aren’t too familiar with Matt Haig, he is an author who has written books for adults and children, including eye-opening books on his experience with depression and mental health.
This book is a powerful, evoking piece of work which I think would benefit everyone and anyone. This is a book that encompasses everything I have experienced with anxiety (and a bit of depression at times), which delicately addresses the often taboo subject of the ‘black dog’. It’s also a book that I know would help others understand what it is like to battle mental health struggles, pending they have the time for it: I read this in one evening.
Depression and anxiety, whether together or separately, is not something that is you. It is simply something that happens to you.
Haig mentions that adding anxiety to depression is a bit like adding cocaine to alcohol. He isn’t wrong! Either way, it isn’t a good mix.
Both can be eased by talking, words, comfort, and support. NOT tough love. People suffering with mental health are not being wimps. It is a mental health illness. You wouldn’t say that to someone with cancer, or anything just as physically debilitating. You can’t fix anything like that any quicker.
He also, quite rightly, says:
Depression is – a fucking pain.
And now some of favourite reasons to stay alive as suggested by Haig – there are of course more reasons beyond this!
- “You are on another planet. No one understands what you are going through. But actually, they do.”
- “You hate yourself. we’re all total bastards, us humans, but also totally wonderful.”
- “Things aren’t going to get worse. only upwards from there. you may want to kill yourself”, but nothing can go anymore down from there, unless you carry out the deed – but that is a permanent fix to a temporary problem. You will not feel like this forever – it may feel like it at the time, but you are so strong when you can battle through it and see the joys in life.
And my favourite…books.
They are reasons to stay alive. Need I say more?
My brother asked me if I was alright – twice – only for me to realise he was questioning my state of mind when reading this book.
It was a dark, tongue in cheek moment as this book can genuinely help people, but we were able to laugh about it, which before I would have got defensive and very upset about.
This was a tough read, but it was also very enjoyable. Especially as it was so relatable.
Rating – 5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Genre – Memoir, autobiography, self-help