Author: Matt Haig
Publisher: Canongate Books
Published: 5th March 2015
Genre: Non-Fiction, mental health, memoir
Date read: 24th February 2016
Synopsis from Goodreads:
I want life. I want to read it and write it and feel it and live it. I want, for as much of the time as possible in this blink-of-an-eye existence we have, to feel all that can be felt. I hate depression. I am scared of it. Terrified, in fact. But at the same time, it has made me who I am. And if – for me – it is the price of feeling life, it’s a price always worth paying.
Reasons to Stay Alive is about making the most of your time on earth. In the western world the suicide rate is highest amongst men under the age of 35. Matt Haig could have added to that statistic when, aged 24, he found himself staring at a cliff-edge about to jump off. This is the story of why he didn’t, how he recovered and learned to live with anxiety and depression. It’s also an upbeat, joyous and very funny exploration of how live better, love better, read better and feel more.
This book is a memoir from when Matt Haig was 24 and suffered severe depression and anxiety. Matt discusses everything relating to depression and anxiety including medicines, his childhood, his symptoms, warning signs and things that make you worse. This book is so relatable, Matt doesn’t sugar coat it, he tells it how it is. It’s refreshing to read from someone’s perspective who has suffered from the black dog and actually gives a realistic account rather than a psychologist who has never experienced it first hand. Matt really speaks to the reader telling them that they’re not alone that many people have suffered from this and pulled through but also some of the people who haven’t. As a fellow sufferer of anxiety and depression I was ready for the anti – pills argument, but this didn’t happen, Matt realises that some people will need medicine to help, for me personally I sighed with relief, I take medicine to stop the panic attacks and I still take them for the fear of them re-occurring. I would rather be on medicine than suffer. Another thing I could relate to Matt was the fear of death and becoming a bit of a hypochondriac, I know my fear of death is irrational and my biggest fear is choking but with medicine and mindfulness techniques my brain no longer goes into overdrive and I can fully function. Matt Haig has become a writer due to his depression as it was a coping mechanism for him, sometimes people need to find something to occupy them and express themselves, again totally relatable.If you as someone who has suffered from depression reads this book I can guarantee that you will be nodding in agreement the whole way through. The chapters are short and discuss a certain topics, it’s very easy to read and flows well with some humour added. This book is not just helpful for the sufferer but really useful for people around them to realise what we have to deal with on a day-to-day basis.
I recommend this book to anyone that wants a real account of depression and anxiety.
Overall I rated this 4.5 stars out of 5