Some books you stumble across and then wonder how you came to read them. This book was a pure luck book I stumbled across and decided to lay my eyes on.
Reasons to Stay Alive is basically about depression and how to overcome it. Often we talk about people coming out of the closet and disclosing their status, [whatever their status is], in this book Matt Haig comes out of the closet and discloses that he is depressed.
Come to think of it, not a lot of people accept or even disclose that they are depressed. A lot of people are not even aware that they are depressed.
No, I’m not depressed, but I have close people who suffered from depression at some point.
In this book Matt Haig offers people with depression “Reasons to Stay Alice.”
Haig came close to committing suicide in his early 20s, but he stopped himself from jumping off a cliff. “Reasons to Stay Alive” is equal parts self-help and memoir. It is a quick, witty and at times profound take on an illness many people suffer from, but sometimes cannot bring themselves to talk about.
Reading is one thing that saved him from a debilitating, paralyzing depression. Running and yoga help, too.
The way Matt Haig writes, it’s as if you have this friend who is there for you, just to listen and comfort you.
It is an easy to read book with short punchy chapters. Sometimes is it light-hearted and funny and then it get’s deep and profound at the same time.
“Depression makes you think things that are wrong,” he writes on the first page. “Reasons to Stay Alive” shows how easy it is to feel crushed by darkness, but the light we’re looking for is inside us. It always has been.
I recommend this book for anyone, you don’t have to depressed to read it. If you happen to know someone is often more sad than cheerful, please buy them this book.
My favourite quotes:
- “Wherever you are, at any moment, try and find something beautiful. A face, a line out of a poem, the clouds out of a window, some graffiti, a wind farm. Beauty cleans the mind.”
- “And most of all, books. They were, in and of themselves, reasons to stay alive. Every book written is the product of a human mind in a particular state. Add all the books together and you get the end sum of humanity. Every time I read a great book I felt I was reading a kind of map, a treasure map, and the treasure I was being directed to was in actual fact myself.”
- “Maybe love is just about finding the person you can be your weird self with.”
“There is this idea that you either read to escape or you read to find yourself.”
- “I want life. I want to read it and write it and feel it and live it. I want, for as much of the time as possible in this blink-of-an-eye existence we have, to feel all that can be felt.”
“THE WORLD IS increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness isn’t very good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more? How do you sell an anti-ageing moisturiser? You make someone worry about ageing. How do you get people to vote for a political party? You make them worry about immigration. How do you get them to buy insurance? By making them worry about everything. How do you get them to have plastic surgery? By highlighting their physical flaws. How do you get them to watch a TV show? By making them worry about missing out. How do you get them to buy a new smartphone? By making them feel like they are being left behind. To be calm becomes a kind of revolutionary act. To be happy with your own non-upgraded existence. To be comfortable with our messy, human selves, would not be good for business.”