|After reading the unique and brilliant novel The Humans by Matt Haig, I decided to Google him to learn more about this extradorinaiy Author.
I discovered that he had suffered with poor mental health in the past and was releasing Reasons To Stay Alive on the topic of mental health. So I immediately ordered Reasons To Stay Alive to see what he had to say on the subject.
In Reasons To Stay Alive, Haig shares his own experience of anxiety and depression, starting with a note to the reader explaining that these are his experiences and that other people might experience anxiety and depression in differing ways.
His book is split into five sections. His first is Falling where he writes about symptoms, suicide (including some of the reasons why men are more at risk of suicide) and the facts about depression and anxiety.
Throughout Reasons To Stay Alive there are little gems of good advice. In Falling for example, Haig writes about The Bank of Bad Days (see below). I have found having a Bank of Bad Days extremely useful.
Bank of Bad Days
WHEN YOU ARE very depressed or anxious – unable to leave the house, or the sofa, or to think of anything but the depression – it can be unbearably hard. Bad days come in degrees. They are not all equally bad. And the really bad ones, though horrible to live through, are useful for later. You store them up. A bank of bad days. The day you had to run out of the supermarket. The day you were so depressed your tongue wouldn’t move. The day you made your parents cry. The day you nearly threw yourself off a cliff. So you are having another bad day you can say, Well, this feels bad, but there have been worse. And even when you can think of no worse day – when you are living in the very worst there has ever been – you at least know the bank exists and that you have made a deposit.
(From: Reasons To Stay Alive, by Matt Haig, p. 52, 2015. Copyright © Matt Haig 2015.)
The second section is Landing where he writes a lot about some of his key experiences, as well as the warning signs of depression and anxiety.
The third section is Rising where Haig covers panic attacks, the importance of love, how to be there for someone with depression or anxiety and famous people that have suffered from depression and anxiety. This entire section aims to tell someone experiencing poor mental health that they are not alone.
Living is the fourth section of the book and focuses on recovery from depression and anxiety. This section covers the importance of slowing down, lists reasons to live, lists things that make Haig’s mental health worse and sometimes better.
Being is the last section of the book and gives forty pieces of advice that Haig feels are helpful.
The presentation of the book is good. It’s a small white hardback book, with small chapters (some only a page long), which because of his writing style as easy-to-read and engaging.
Reasons To Stay Alive is one of the better books written about poor mental health on the market. It is a quick and easy-to-read book that is well worth a read.