Book Review: Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

I got this as a gift from a friend, and it’s a wonderful read. Haig a talented fiction writer (review of his novel The Humans here), here writes about real life, an account of his own struggles with depression and anxiety. It begins with discussing falling into crisis, of almost ending his life, of the difficulties caused by his mental health conditions.

haig reasons

Written in short, punchy sections Haig writes openly and honestly about his mental health, capturing the terrible funks of depression and the paralysing fear that comes with anxiety. He writes with the use of painful, evocative metaphors and descriptions, giving a clear image inside his head.

He details how ordinary tasks became terrifying ordeals, of internal arguments with himself, how he questioned how he would survive this turmoil and if he even wanted to. There’s a wonderful insight to his writing, a way of looking at himself with clarity and honesty, facing up to his demons.

Of course, as the title suggests, there is hope.

Haig writes sections where his current self tries to urge his past self to keep going, to keep faith that things can, and will, improve. He talks about the things that helped him, the way he has learned to adapt, to cope with the darkness when it comes.

It’s a magnificent book. The kind of book that makes you marvel at the intelligence of the writer, but never in a smug way. Haig seems a decent bloke, and he conveys his fears, doubts, hopes and coping strategies in a way which is smart but accessible.

A fantastic way to get some greater understanding of what mental health can feel like to the individual.

Verdict: 9/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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