Matt Haig is a wonderful writer, I’ve read a couple of previous books by Matt the first being The Humans back in November 2013. I loved this book and while reading this in 2013 I can remember that I laughed out loud quite a few times but more importantly I remember how beautifully it was written and the way the words flowed easily suggesting Matt had a PHD in life and human emotion.
If you’re not aware of the subject of Reasons to Stay Alive it’s broadly about Matt’s story surrounding his struggle with depression and anxiety. But honestly it’s so much more than this.
I have a few things in common with Matt but don’t worry I’m not a stalker.
- We both really like The Cure (best band ever)
- We were both born in 1975
- We both have tinnitus
Like Matt I also struggled with bad anxiety and depression from my early twenties. I say struggled in the past tense as mostly I now feel like I’m through it and I am very happy. I also didn’t like admitting this until many years later as I felt it was a flaw, mental illness had and still has a stigma attached which is really tragic as 1 in 4 people will suffer from depression. Men in particular seem to have a real problem talking about and admitting they have about mental health issues, I know I did. This may be why 75% of the 4400 average suicides each year in the UK are committed by Men.
But I’m not writing this post to feed you statistics or talk about myself, I’m here to tell what I thought of this book. I listened to the audio book of Reasons to Stay Alive and it’s narrated really well by Matt himself. When I started listening to the book it actually brought some old anxious feelings back a little for the first couple of chapters. But it’s not a dark book at all, it’s full of light and hope. Matt’s story really struck a chord within me. it was such a relief to hear that another human had felt and struggled with very similar feelings\thoughts to me. I always struggled to put what I felt when I was younger into meaningful words and while individuals experiences are different I think Matt has achieved what I and some others failed to do. Put simply he’s written a real world book that explains what depression really means to us as human beings, how it feels, what to expect, what might make it better and what might help.
“Where talk exists, so does hope.”
― Matt Haig,
It’s really hard to do this book justice as the words don’t come as easily to me but I believe everyone should try and read this book. You can guarantee pretty much everyone one of you at some point in their life time has already\or will at somepoint either know someone who struggles with this mental illness, or suffer from it themselves. If we all understand this illness better the stigma will slowly fade away and people will begin to talk about how they feel in the open. Wouldn’t that be nice?
“Ignore stigma. Every illness had stigma once. Stigma is what happens when ignorance meets realities that need an open mind.”
― Matt Haig,
5 out of 5 from me.
In homage to Matt here’s a list of things I love, Matt is ‘the list’ master!
- My wifes smile and the funny faces she can do
- My sons smile and also when he gives me a cuddle without asking
- My parents and the fact that I have the strongest, warmest, kindest Mum in the world
- Walking (and listening to audio books)
- The Sea
- Stars in the sky
- Eating and cooking any new food
- The smell in the air after it’s been raining and the smell after it’s been snowing
- My sisters smile and the memory of her laugh
Thanks for reading, now go and by Matt’s book.