Moving to Edinburgh has been one of the scariest, most exciting and most terrifying things I’ve ever done in my life. Not only have I uprooted myself from my lovely family in Surrey but I’ve also left behind a really big support network of friends and colleagues. More than that, I’ve left behind the familiarity of places- the places I feel safe, secure and loved. I’ve lived in Surrey for my entire life, I learned how to ride my bike there, had my first kiss there and grew from a toddler to a teenager to an adult there. Surrey has been my home since as long as I remember so moving not only counties, but actual countries has been a massive move for me.
So I’ve recently read ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ by Matt Haig. I have heard quite a bit about this book and after receiving a book voucher as a leaving present, I decided to treat myself in good old Waterstones.
‘Reasons to stay alive’ is not the sort of book I would normally choose. Typically I am an avid reader of the classics, fashion, cookbooks and women’s fiction. Yet after hearing such good reviews I thought it was worth branching out and giving this book a go.
I was actually incredibly moved by this book. It gives a very honest account of Matt Haig’s experience with depression and anxiety; he has put his heart and soul into this book which I can’t imagine was easy to write. We are taken through some of his worst times, his recovery and ongoing battle with these two mental health issues. Whilst mental health is beginning to be understood more in Western society, there is still a stigma that surrounds it and Matt Haig deals with this directly and very openly.
Whether you suffer from mental health, know someone who suffers with it or simply want to gain a better understanding of depression and anxiety, then I would highly recommend this book. There are some beautiful passages that really apply to everyone whether you have depression or not. Everyone has their down days and this book shows you that you’re not alone, that there’s nothing to be ashamed about. Depression is not a weakness or fault in a person, it’s a condition that effects 1 in 3 of us and can happen to anyone. It is not a weakness of character- you may feel weakened by it but it makes you no less of a person.
There are tender moments throughout, speckles of humour and a warmth- by the end I felt as though Matt Haig was a real, tangible friend.
In Matt Haig’s words, ‘I am you and you are me. We are alone, but not alone. We are trapped by time, but also infinite. Made of flesh, but also stars’.
This is by far one of the most inspirational books I’ve read this year, why not give it a try?