Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Review: Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive

RRP: £9.99

Reasons To Stay Alive is one of those revolutionary books that shapes and changes a generation. To understand depression is a difficult thing; to attempt to express those difficulties is a brave one.

At fifteen I was suffering from depression and anxiety. By sixteen I was contemplating suicide and could not see how things could get any better, or worse, than what they currently were. I was simultaneously numb and in agony. At twenty I am finally happy and content with my life, but it has not been an easy ride; I have absolutely no doubt that, had this book been available five years ago, my depression would not have been miraculously cured. I would be the same person, but I would have had hope. 

Reasons To Stay Alive reminds us that we are all different, that there is no right or wrong way to have depression or anxiety. Matt Haig shares his experiences in an entirely honest and raw fashion, reminding the reader that while you are unique, you are not alone. With a writing style that is completely accessible and a narrative that is composed through reflection, as well as connection with one's past self, I truly believe this book could help to save a life. Joanna Lumley has called this book 'a small masterpiece' and I completely agree. You do not need to have experience with mental illness in order to connect with this book. You do not need to have a reason to read it, but if you would like one, then please consider this: approximately one quarter of the population will experience some sort of mental health issue in a year. Self-harm statistics for the U.K. show one of the highest rates in Europe. Depression is a killer.*

This book will stay on my bookshelf for a very long time. It was incredibly humbling to read and I will be recommending this to the people I know, including you! To reiterate what many others have said before me: This may be the most important book you will read this year.

* Statistics from mentalhealth.org

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