The Nerd Journals

Filling up journals as proof of my meager existence.

Reasons To Stay Alive

4/5 stars

This book is so simple and honest. Not only did it help (okay, help is a bit of a stretch. Maybe the word I am looking for is normalize) my own depression but it also helped me understand my husband’s issues, which are worse than my own. He has battled life-long depression and anxiety. I thought hypochondria was a quirk of his, I didn’t realize it was a symptom of a much larger problem until reading this book by Matt Haig.

Reasons To Stay Alive book is no cure, of course, but I can’t imagine any book being a cure for depression. However, this book does offer a ray of hope that things will get better. And they may get bad again someday but you know they can always get better again. As long as it’s not your worse day when you’re standing at the edge of a cliff you know the day is at least bit better than it has been before. And you survived.

I don’t feel this book is for everyone who suffers from depression. Matt talks a lot about having the support of his then-girlfriend and his family for help with daily functions like going to the store. Not everyone has that support system and I worry that this book might make people feel worse in this instance.

I also feel that the need some people have for medications to help with their depression was downplayed quite a bit in this book, and it might sway people who need help chemically from getting the medication that they desperately need. Personally, I think I’m more like Mr. Haig in that I don’t need the help of prescription drugs but my husband definitely does; he couldn’t even get to baseline without the help of a duo of medicine for mental illness.

Reasons To Stay Alive reminded me to use words to save both my husband and myself from the darkness: write, talk, listen. I found myself writing passages in my journal to keep close to me forever; things I should not forget. By the end of the book, the last two sections I found myself weeping; some things hit so close to home. Some parts were just so overwhelmingly bright when I’ve been so close to darkness recently.

So I guess my final thoughts on this book would be to tread lightly. It might not be the book for you. While is was helpful for me in a similar fashion that a good friend and a cup of coffee might be, it’s definitely not a cure-all book that will help everyone. I can definitely understand why this book might make some people feel worse.

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