Today I thought I’d try something a little different than a book review. While I have already reviewed this incredible book by Matt Haig (which you can find here), I thought today I’d just simply talk about it. Share my endless reasons for loving this book so much. Everyone has a favourite book and I love hearing about why someone adores a book so deeply. This is my take on one of those – hopefully, it’s not filled with rambles.
This book, honestly and truthfully, changed my life. I don’t think there are many books out there that you can say that about. I picked this book up hoping to find a better understanding of what I was going through and I left having a new favourite book and one I continue to look back at even now. The only way I can think to explain just how much this book means to me is this: have you ever read a book you’ve loved or become obsessed with a TV show so much that you don’t know how you went so long without having it in your life? That’s sort of how I feel about this book.
Just in case you’ve never heard of this book and you’re not sure what it’s about I’ll quickly fill you in. The book is simply Reasons To Stay Alive. It’s a book written from Matt’s own experience with depression and anxiety. He talks about how he felt when he was at his lowest point, how he managed to overcome the unknown and how he’s still standing today. The book is a really great read whether you have a mental illness or not. It’s very dark and eye-opening but also full of joy. I realised from reading the book that I wasn’t so different and alone like I believed I was for so long.
I continue to read this book to this day. For example, I had a panic attack the other night over lost keys and fears of the unknown. I picked up the book and had a read and it sort of brought me back to reality. Anxiety attacks are a part of who I am now but they don’t control my life. I control my life – a very important lesson. What I love most about this book is that you don’t have to read it from start to end, you don’t need to follow chapters, you can simply pick up wherever. This is really good for when you can’t quite concentrate on anything or you just need words that show you’re going to be okay. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good plot filled with twists but sometimes I need something light-hearted I can pick up and put back down just as quick. This falls into one one of those books which is why it tops my absolute favourites list. (This is a list I keep for my most favourite books. It’s not easy to get on the list but when you’re there you’re not coming off).
One of my favourite things about this book is that he includes a list of famous people who have openly admitted to struggling with depression. This might not seem like the biggest of deals but to me it was. I hadn’t even known that half of them had problems. As crazy as this might sound, seeing so many people openly admit and talk about their mental health makes you realise just how alone you’re not. This was something that became my rock to anchor me in finding my balance again. It was lovely. I also love just how open Matt is in explaining everything, from the beginning of it all happening, from his near suicide attempt and to overcoming the unthinkable and moving forward.
I realise this book won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Not many people want to read about mental illness in detail and that’s fine. I do understand that the reason I’m probably so attached to this book is because I can relate to it personally – not many people can say that when reading a book. I will say this; reading a book won’t destroy the stigma people with a mental health issue face but I think if enough people read it there would be a lot more understanding people. Lastly, before I bore you all to death, here’s a quote from the book that I turn to when I’m having a bad day:
“You will one-day experience joy that matches this pain. You will cry euphoric tears at the Beach Boys, you will stare down at a baby’s face as she lies asleep in your lap, you will make great friends, you will eat delicious foods you haven’t tried yet, you will be able to look at a view from a high place and not assess the likelihood of dying from falling. There are books you haven’t read yet that will enrich you, films you will watch while eating extra-large buckets of popcorn, and you will dance and laugh and have sex and go for runs by the river and have late-night conversations and laugh until it hurts. Life is waiting for you. You might be stuck here for a while, but the world isn’t going anywhere. Hang on in there if you can. Life is always worth it.”
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