Thank you, Matt Haig.
I was in WHSmith bookshop at Euston station, awaiting the arrival of a mutual follower on twitter I was about to meet for the first time. I told myself i was going in to kill time not to buy new books to add to my bookshelf but.. well, here I am.
The title, Reasons To Stay Alive, called to me because I really needed to hear whatever reasons he had. I didn’t read the blurb as that’s not my method of choosing books, instead, I opened up to a random page and read.
Pictured was the page I opened up to and my first thought was “Well, fuck.” and with that, i made the purchase. 1-7 were my exact thoughts the first time I had a panic attack. Number 1 more than anything. Haig’s conversational type writing throughout makes reading this book a little bit easy. But there were sentences that tightened my chest. They took me back to the difficult months and days.
Haig opens himself bare in ways I could not imagine doing. He writes about depression and anxiety with words that, strangely, comforts me. Knowing i’m not alone in not wanting to live but also not wanting to die. “You are walking around with your head on fire but no one can see the flames” quietened the noise a little because someone understood. I wish i had this book to read in 2009 before I attempted suicide under the stairs at school. (Thank you Sadia for searching for me and saving me from myself.) I wish i had the words before i began self-harming. I wish i had this book last year when the weight of everything crashed on me. (Thank you Emeke for listening.)
But i have this book now and for that, i am glad. I’ve been putting off going to my GP for months now. I’ve called, set up appointments and not gone because leaving my bedroom was taxing. I left my volunteering because i feel like a failure trying to help other people when I cant help myself. I am not filled with a burst of energy to do all these things now, but i have this book. As a reminder that i’m not alone and it just might get easier.
I don’t like the Beach Boys so I’m questioning Haig’s musical taste here but number 10, on the reasons to stay alive chapter, he speaks to me.
“You will one day experience joy that matches this pain.“
“Life is waiting for you.“
Haig lists all the things it is but also reminds us of what depression often makes us forget; “it is smaller than you.”
So thank you again, Matt Haig. Thank you for choosing to share.
List of quotes from the book you should read: https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/42923140-reasons-to-stay-alive