My main source of reading lately has been manifestos from various philosophic politicians for university because I am in the middle of exam season and am desperately trying to grab as much information from as many sources as possible for the nine essays I am writing and revising in preparation for my May exams!
That being said, sometimes I just feel like I need a break and I didn’t want to return to a proper novel like The Night Circus because it is so magical and beautifully written that it deserves to be devoured by my full attention and I simply cannot offer that right now but I spotted this book a while back in Waterstones and have wanted to get it ever since.
Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig is one of the most important things written this year.
Matt Haig, the author, went through depression in his early twenties and takes you on a journey from how it felt, to what he thought, to the measures he went to in an attempt to stop it, how his family and loved ones reacted to it, how it is generally seen by the public etc. This book is educational in that it has facts and figures that are genuinely interesting to know and it also opens up a discussion where Matt, himself, attempts to theorise given these statistics, for example, why do twice as many women seek help than men? And why are men three times more likely to commit suicide?
The topic that I was most pleased about being addressed was: If depression is a life-threatening mental illness then why do people belittle it and treat it as if it is a choice?
On one page, Matt perfectly illustrated the typical types of things people say to depression sufferers daily and I shared his frustration as to why people say the things that they do given that depression is so serious and genuinely kills as much as cancer does.
Beyond the facts, Matt has a really beautiful and descriptive way of expressing his feelings and what it is like living with depression and it’s just so hopeful and inspiring, given that he was so severely poorly and so ready to end everything but now he is so happy and has faith enough in life that he expresses thoughts and pleas of life and love and staying here and how time really does make the biggest difference.
One thing I would note before picking up ‘Reasons To Stay Alive’ is that there aren’t exactly ‘reasons’ to stay alive in the book, aside from the last few pages so if you were expecting a format that went through reasons and anecdotes then just be aware that this is a non-chronological account of random anecdotes, not all of them give reasons to stay alive at all, in fact, they just tend to illustrate what it is like to live with depression so this is more of a book for people who want to learn about depression rather than those suffering with it and looking for relief. That being said, depending on the kind of person you are and what works for you, I definitely think that there is some small relief in knowing that someone else had the black dog and now sees the abundance of good things that life has to offer and is happy. There is hope in finding happiness for everybody but I guess your ‘reasons to stay alive’ have to be personal and really have to come from you; this book won’t fix you…obviously.
I just love ‘Reasons To Stay Alive’ because it is real and I think, aside from just deserving to be picked up because it is interesting and eye-opening, it could genuinely help people who need to hear these exact words about hope and life and this exact story of a really bad beginning with a really uplifting ending.
This was a SUPER quick read, I read it within a day and, despite the gloomy topic, don’t be put off, it was surprisingly not sad or disheartening- Matt discussed a dark topic in an uplifting and wonderful way!
This is just another strong recommendation from my happy little bookshelf that I really hope makes its way into some of your hands!
As always, I know my goodreads gets a lot of hits but if you haven’t already checked it out and you’re a reader then definitely do! You’ll see every book I read and every single review I write, as only a few get showcased on the blog. Those who see me on there know I finished this book weeks ago and read this review weeks ago so you’ll get previews on there and get to see what I’m currently reading before it gets published on here as I often have a long backlog of posts and so the best up to date live stream of my reading challenge goes on there!