Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig is a memoir about one man's battle with anxiety and depression. The book draws you in quickly with its easy-to-read style, and is as down-to-earth as humanly possible when writing about the toughest of subjects. Matt describes with brutal honestly his experiences with anxiety and depression, followed by a breakdown at the age of 24, and the long recovery process that followed.
Like me, Matt believes that by sharing our own stories of mental illness, we can help others with their healing process and describes this as "Where talk exists, so does hope"…
Throughout this book, Haig makes it very clear what worked and what didn't work for him while looking for 'cures' for his anxiety and depression, but encourages readers to try and find out what works for them – specifically their own brain. What worked for Haig were things at the very non-clinical end of the mental health care spectrum; things such as reading books, yoga, travel, running, and just plain time.
One of my favourite quotes from Reasons to Stay Alive describes the intensity and all-consuming nature of depression that so many of us experience, and particularly feeling that there is no escape from it… "When you are in it, you are really in it. You can't step outside it without stepping outside of life, because it is life. It is your life. Every single thing you experience is filtered through it. Consequently, it magnifies everything."
Reasons to Stay Alive started so many important conversations about mental health, and became a Sunday Times best seller in the UK. Do yourself a favour and put this book at the top of your self-care reading list – you won't regret it.