This review was originally posted here as part of an academic project.
Matt Haig’s autobiographical Reasons to Stay Alive is a book which not only details the perils about depression, it also details the aftermath.
When first picking up this book, I have to admit that my main fear was that this book would just be another self-help book. That it would be filled with psychological terms that I would have to Wikipedia. That it would just be somebody else who thought that they knew the real-life experience of living with depression just because they either hold a degree or they have read a newspaper.
Haig’s book details the harrowing rollercoaster that is not only depression but is depression teamed with anxiety. Instead of filling the text with enough psychological jargon then you can shake a stick at, Haig breaks the reality down into honest lists and even more honest thoughts. It seems that nothing is really off the table when it comes to the author’s own experience, but it is evident that Haig understands the complexity of the illness. He discusses how common it is for people to sit and google ‘celebrities with depression’ and even lists some of the most well known public figures who suffered from depression.
Before moving into his section on anxiety, Haig outlines clearly the reasons that anxiety is such a big issue nowadays. Instead of enlisting the reader with a barrage of terms and outdated
For me, Haig’s book is a definite must-have for anybody who is either suffering from depression or has overcome their depression. Not only does Haig offer up an honest depiction of how isolating and terrifying those dark days are, it also reaffirms the truth that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Through fictional conversations with his past self, Haig says those words that all people wish that they could have heard when times are tough.
All in all, Reasons to Stay Alive may actually be one of the best books I have ever read about depression. Haig willingly opens up his own wounds in order to help others by analyzing his own experiences and figuring out the solutions that people need in those hard times.