Book Review – Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig

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What are the reasons to stay alive? When you feel like there isn’t much left in the world and the people you love would be better off without you. This is the position Matt Haig found himself in during his 20s as he decided to commit suicide. Now I know what you’re thinking, what a cheerful book why would I read that but I’m here to change your mind. Haig writes with intelligence, kindness and has the ability to make you laugh in this book. I picked this up after hearing a lot about it and I was curious. Was this going to be some slep help guide where the key to depression was ‘positive thinking and getting on with it’, you’ll be pleased to know that I have road tested it and it is not one of those awful books.

If you know anyone with depression, you’re experiencing it or you’ve been through it you need to read this. Actually scratch that I think everyone should read this book. Haig has done something astounding with this book because he’s honest. He’s honest in the fact that he doesn’t pretend that depression magically goes away or that you forget your lowest points. The book is a mix of facts, lists, experiences and things that might help. Don’t get me wrong this isn’t a ‘how to get better guide’, far from it, this is a book that helps people understand a truly confusing illness.

This is the only book I’ve read so far that makes sense to me, that makes me feel like I’ve come really far because a lot of the situations that are mentioned in the book are ones that I have lived through. There are things that are hard to understand, like why walking to the corner shop would send someone into a wave of panic, anxiety and fear. I’ve been there. I’ve been trapped in my own head and Haig has explained it perfectly, so much so that I’ve recommended this book to various people wither as a way of understanding or to for them to make sense of themselves.

I will give this book 5 stars *****, Haig is an absolute god of a writer in my eyes. He proves to us that this is a medical illness and like with most illnesses it is possible to get better, it’s possible to have relapses. The stories of his struggles and that of his girlfriend and family are ones that will hit a chord with a lot of us, but he reminds people that it’s ok to feel this way. It reminds things get and sometimes us that we’re all human too much. I very much feel that Haig is going to be a part of the revolution in how we think about mental health and I’m really, very excited about that.

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