Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
Mental health is a hot topic these days, from NHS campaigns to popular fiction we are more aware of its importance than ever before. While these ongoing discussions assist in raising awareness and spreading understanding, what they cannot do is make issues such as depression easy to talk about. Anything so devastating and life-changing can easily become hard to discuss, not just by the sufferers but by their nearest and dearest. This is why Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig is such an evocative piece of writing.
I am no fan of self-help books, I have never found comfort in reading other people’s painful stories of survival and anything with the word ‘mindfulness’ in leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth (probably with a face to match). So I approached Matt Haig’s latest book fully prepared to not finish it but still daring it to impress me.
Reasons To Stay Alive is part memoir, a reflection on Matt Haig’s struggle with depression and anxiety that pushed him to the brink of suicide. Recollections of his worst moments will be all too relatable for sufferers and he finds words to describe the relentless pain and soul-destroying guilt where others have previously failed. Although this book discusses a darkness that haunts far more of us than statistics will ever show, it manages to stay upbeat and never becomes a weighty read. He takes the chance to pass on messages he wishes he could have given himself in his darkest hours, messages of hope and of a brighter future.
I believe this book gives an important insight into the world of depression for those that are lucky enough to never suffer from it. One of the incredibly difficult things about depression is the overwhelming feeling of being alone, like no one could possibly understand and I hope this book manages to touch a few people in that situation. Where I feel this book may be invaluable is to the people with loved ones who are suffering and that they are struggling to understand. Reasons to Stay Alive explains thought processes and emotions in a clear style that really does have the potential to change lives by helping people understand this devastating illness.
Emotionally, this book is stunning. Factually it is equally terrifying and fascinating. The statistics on suicide and depression are shocking, especially his research into the difference between men and women. This is followed by unnerving facts about the medications that are often handed out before any other action is taken. Haig is not discouraging the use of medication, simply questioning certain treatments and informing readers that pills are not always the answer.
Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig will undoubtedly touch many lives and it can only assist in spreading understanding about an illness that is still so misunderstood. If only this book could be given out on the NHS, it could give comfort to thousands across the UK and even more worldwide.
Buy your copy of Reasons to Stay Alive from Amazon here.
If you like Reasons to Stay Alive then you’ll love Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig.