Reasons to stay alive cover

Review: Reasons To Stay Alive

Reasons to stay alive coverReasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

“I wrote this book because the oldest clichés remain the truest. Time heals. The bottom of the valley never provides the clearest view. The tunnel does have light at the end of it, even if we haven’t been able to see it . . . Words, just sometimes, really can set you free.”

If you know anyone with depression, read this book. If you have depression and want other people to know something, anything, about how it feels, then buy them this book. I’m planning to buy it for several people, but not as a hah-smug – simply as a “Here. This might help explain.”

Depression’s horribly personal, complex, hidden and difficult. It varies from person to person; there are various similar symptoms, but any one person might have a variety of them. It’s also one of the hardest illnesses to know what to do about. You can’t see it; you don’t know what’s going on in someone’s head. How can you understand it?

This book isn’t a cure, isn’t a solution, isn’t a guide. But it might help.

And it’s not cheery. It’s not upbeat. I really, really appreciated that. It does get better, yes; but it takes time. It’s so often more darkness than it is light. Haig knows that; he’s bluntly honest about how hard everything is. I could quote pretty much everything he says…I don’t have severe anxiety (thankfully) but so much of it resonated with me. It’s simply written, and it’s almost elegant at times. There’s a mix of personal anecdote and philosophy, comments on thoughts and ideas of what helped. It’s easy to read, and it’s small, short, and simple.

If you have depression or anxiety, or you know anyone who does – or even if you don’t think you do know anyone who does (hint: you actually do) – and you want a perspective on what it’s like, read this.