I am not sure what I was expecting when I opened this book. I had been hearing about it on my Twitter account for weeks, and since I am still on my quest to read at least 50 books this year, I knew I had to pick it up. This happens a lot, actually, me hearing about a book a lot for a few weeks and then feeling the need to pick it up. Sometimes it works out, but sometimes it does not.
In this case, I am so happy that I picked this one up.
Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig is not a fictional story. It is an honest account of one man’s struggles with depression. I know this topic has been talked about a lot recently. Well, I have to clarify. It has not been talked about enough, but it seems like a lot only because things appear to be opening a little and some are coming out with their stories.
With all the stories I have heard over the last four years or so, this was not something I expected.
I can tell I am going to repeat that quite a bit in this review.
“Stigma is particularly cruel for depressives, because stigma affects thoughts and depression is a disease of thoughts.”
What I really love about this book is that Matt does not “take a side,” particularly when it involves treating depression. He says that pills do not work for him, but that he accepts they do for other people.
That right there.
I will not say nothing else matters about the book, but that part was one of the ones that struck me the most. It shows that there is no right way to go about treating depression for every single person. For me, this is saying to those who are suffering that whether its medication or talk therapy, it is okay if it works for you to keep you alive, breathing…happy, hopefully.
The other thing this book does is show you what I think many people need in their worst moments. Matt talks to his past self. His past self imagines that nothing will get better, or wants to die, and yet his “future” self (the version from now) says that it is a good think that he does not die in that moment. That it is a good thing he is still breathing. Still living.
From my understanding, your mind plays games with you when you are suffering from depression and anxiety. The thing is you are usually supposed to trust your mind. This is why, I think, it is hard for someone to truly believe another person when they say it is going to be okay or that something is not true. Your mind could help you, but in this state, it is working against you. So having said that, a future version of yourself telling you that everything will be okay has to be your best shot, doesn’t it?
Even though this is an autobiographical book, I feel like it can still provide many people with insight into how depression can work in a loved one’s mind. It would not be completely accurate, of course, given that it appears differently for everyone. This book is a start though.
I would definitely recommend giving this one a read. Not only does it provide the insight, but I also found there were light-hearted moments. Really, try this book out and you will not be disappointed.
Title: Reasons to Stay Alive
Author: Matt Haig