Book Reviews

Book Review: Reasons to stay alive by Matt Haig

Book review reasons to stay alive

Matt Haig’s Reasons to stay alive is a memoir about his journey with anxiety and depression from his twenties. Haig was close to ending his life after the black dog seemed to appear out of nowhere when he was in Ibiza with his girlfriend, now wife. It took years of battling through it to be okay. Haig admits he tried medication briefly but it didn’t help him and his anxiety about medications made it worse. He did not seek therapy but tried to make gradual changes on his own after struggling significantly for over a year. For Haig, running, yoga, meditation, writing, and his family seem to be the things that have helped him. In the end, these are also some of the reasons he stays alive. He also looks at toxic masculinity and how that impacted him as well as the impact of societal pressures these days which contribute to our fragile mental health.

When I read the book, it was timely given my own fragile mental health. It felt validating to read about someone else’s experience where there is no specific trigger, no specific cause and when things can actually seem quite okay in your life. By all intents and purposes, my life is good. There is no reason for me to be depressed. And yet, I have been. It was helpful to read that he had something similar to say. It was helpful to read to know you’re not alone.

There were some instances though when I disagreed with him. As a professional, I saw how some of his anxieties {especially social, separation and panic} could have been managed much sooner if he had sought therapy. These are actually the anxiety disorders that have good evidence in terms of outcomes. Generalised anxiety {which I struggle with}, is a lot harder to treat. It tends to go in waves. I was glad though he had the disclaimer that medications didn’t work for him but they might work for others because therapy and medications do work for a lot of people. I was envious of him though and did wonder whether a lot of his recovery could also be attributed to having a supportive partner {first as a girlfriend and then as his wife} throughout the journey. Not all of us are fortunate to have that {me included}.

And yet, in the end, I came away with a sense of making a list of all the small things I am grateful for and have to look forward to in life. Not just my cats and my family and friends but also the sunsets and sunrises, the new books to read, the new stories to tell and hear, the new things to try in life. Because life is about the little things that add meaning.

This book is a quick and easy read. I’d suggest you read it if you are struggling with your mental health but also keeping in mind everyone’s journey is different. I also recommend reading it if you know someone who is struggling with their mental health. Basically, read it!

My rating:

Where to find the author:

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

Until next time,

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  • Vinitha
    17 December 2018 at 10:31 am

    Seems to make a good read for me at the moment given how I’m struggling with my own issues. It’s always nice to read other’s similar stories of struggle and how they over came that. Will look it up, Sanch. Thank you for sharing. 🙂
    Vinitha recently posted…Losing to Self-doubt #MondayMusingsMy Profile

  • Anamika Agnihotri
    17 December 2018 at 10:28 pm

    To know that we are not the only one suffering is comforting in a way. I will be adding this book to my kindle book bank to read to know if there is something more I can do to get better than my present situation.
    Anamika Agnihotri recently posted…About me and my relaxed life! #MondayMusingsMy Profile

  • writenlive
    17 December 2018 at 10:41 pm

    I have heard so much about this book that I was curious to read a review.

    Reasons to stay Alive seems to be sensible and sensitive talk about mental illness.
    Thanks for the review.

  • Nabanita Dhar
    18 December 2018 at 6:27 pm

    I’d like to read this because we all have our demons and reading about someone who has been fighting his is something that seems to be a good idea.
    Nabanita Dhar recently posted…Why Don’t We Listen To Women When They Talk About Abuse?My Profile

  • Shilpa Gupte
    19 December 2018 at 5:47 pm

    I remember you mentioned it when we were chatting that day at the mall, and now I so need to read it, myself!
    Thanks for the review, Sanch!
    And, take care! <3
    Shilpa Gupte recently posted…Mandala Art.My Profile

    • Sanch @ Sanch Writes
      19 December 2018 at 7:10 pm

      Yep, this is the book 🙂 Do read it if you get a chance

  • Shalzmojo
    22 December 2018 at 2:28 pm

    Looks like a very deep and intense book and I think I will give it a miss as I definitely dont want to read about other peoples troubles at the moment. I have two friends who have recently started seeking psychiatric counselling for their personal issues. One of them is on medication and it makes her so loopy and weirded out. So I think I can relate to that bit with the author.
    You have done a brilliant job with the review including writing about your life bits with such honesty!!!

    Hugs my brave girl!!
    Shalzmojo recently posted…#MyMojo – Top 5 reads by Women Authors by Tarang SinhaMy Profile

  • S. Malakar
    30 December 2018 at 2:45 am