Reasons to Stay Alive | Matt Haig

Thursday, 5 May 2016


Can I first begin by saying that this is the kind of book that will change your life, just so you're prepared for that when you read it because everyone should read this book!


Aged 24, Matt Haig's world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again.
A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive, Reasons to Stay Alive is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth.

Although this is essentially a self help book, I believe that it has broken through that boundary. It's a book that tells you things and also tells you how to get out of those things. Matt writes in first person, bringing up painful memories of the beginning of his depression and the warning signs he ignored. At the beginning each section shows us how fast he spiralled and how quickly he decided he wanted to die. It's terrifying, reading about a man, a successful man in his mid twenties falling so ill so fast and not realising what was happening to him. But this is not an autobiography, as I said before it is a self help book, as well as Matt's painful battle with depression and anxiety he gives us facts, pretty scary statistics about suicide rates in the UK and why he thinks this is happening. He opens up about the personal stigma he has experienced  and why we need to stop it, he has brief chapters dedicated to conversations with himself now and his past self who desperately wanted to die and reassuring him that he'll be okay. It's just a very clever, down to earth, straight to the point book about mental illness, he touches on everything, nothing is left un-scathed.

I haven't suffered with severe depression, but I do have an anxiety disorder and he touches a lot on anxiety. I have even bookmarked pages to come back and read when I'm having a bad day, Matt doesn't make you feel inferior, a lot of self help books, especially about depression and anxiety are not written from experience, more scientific experience, which can be frustrating for someone who just wants to read about their illness in human terms. It is positive and written incredibly tenderly, you can really tell that he has thought about his words and his metaphors for mental health are some of the best I've read, there are even funny moments, of course there are funny moments, living with a mental illness does not mean you have to live a life of humourless metaphors, of course you can poke fun at the thing that is trying to ruin your life and Matt teaches us how you can use your humour to do just that.  

Even if you don't suffer or have suffered with depression and anxiety, even if you feel like your mental health is at 95% and in tip top condition. Please read this book anyway, it tells you how to steer away from stigma, it advises you on how to be around someone with a mental illness and it is always wise to educate yourself on something as big as mental health and this book is the perfect gateway for that to happen. Thank you Matt Haig and thank you for being so strong to show others that they can be too. 

It's safe to say this book has changed my life and it will be passed on to others until everyone I know has read it, I'm not even joking, this book is so important. 
If you've read it I'd love to know your opinions, especially if they are as passionate as mine. 




2 comments

  1. I've just got this book! I've heard such good things about it, so I'm excited to get stuck in

    Catherine | Caffrin.C x

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