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msknight

Michelle's corner

Michelle Knight. Writer, photographer, programmer, truck driver and general, all round nut case. Life is a journey and that's what this blog will probably end up being. Let's see where we go, eh? ;-)

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Review - Reasons To Stay Alive - 3 out of 5 stars

Reasons to Stay Alive - Matt Haig

It took me a few weeks to cogitate on what I was going to write for this review. A large chunk of Haig's writing is an attempt to explain to the reader just what it is like to have clinical depression; what it feels like and how it affects the day to day life.

 

We humans might have evolved too far. The price for being intelligent enough to be the first species to be fully aware of the cosmos might just be a capacity to feel a whole universe's worth of darkness.

 

He also reminisces in the irony that it takes a journey through the darkest of dark, in order to be able to appreciate the light when you see it...

 

But would I go along to a magical mind spa and ask for a skin-thickening treatment? Probably not. You need to feel life's terror to feel its wonder.

 

Haig also reflected in that it was going inside, that helped him travel the furthest distances, experience the strongest wonders and this, in turn, was what helped him look outside again and re-connect with the world...

 

One cliché attached to bookish people is that they are lonely, but for me books were my way out of being lonely. If you are the type of person who thinks too much about stuff then there is nothing lonelier in the world than being surrounded by a load of people on a different wavelength.

 

Haig perhaps overdid it on the self-explanation, to title this book as he did. For the first half of this book I found no reasons to stay alive. He invited me to embrace his depression and that, in turn, depressed me. As someone who's been through my own depressive state (one thing that Haig does note is that depression can be quite unique to the sufferer; their mental prison being a unique product of their own mind.) I did not feel that this book gave me what the cover offered; indeed threatened to drag me back to my own personal historical hell. Read this book with caution. To someone already suffering depression, this book could deepen that depression as well as lift it.

 

He does offer some very solid gems of advice, however; later in the book there are the valuable insights in to what brought him out of himself. A good chunk of this was down to reconnecting with society and the world on various levels; such as jogging in his case. Being able to be outdoors but not have to socially connect with people.

 

This is a book, not for the depressive themselves, but more for the partner or carer. It offers a valuable door of understanding, and guides to as the rays of hope that might speed recovery... the ladders that someone can drop down the sides of the dark pit, and the clever things to shout that might make the person climb a rung or two... as that's pretty much what it's like... the sufferer has to climb the ladder of their own accord.