In this blog I review Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig, in which he describes his experience of anxiety and depression. The book was published in 2015 and is still a popular book.
Matt Haig has a very engaging style, and this book is very readable. I read it on a train journey to London and back. It is both biographical and a self help book. He tells the story of living with depression and anxiety, of almost taking his own life, and how he got through it. He also gives facts about the incidence of depression and anxiety, and tips that have helped him and others.
Anxiety and depression are very common separately and in combination. Haig reports that one in five people experience depression at some point in their life, and that combined anxiety and depression is the most common mental health condition in the UK. Suicide is the leading cause of death in men under 35. There is no shame in living with depression and/or anxiety, and you are certainly not alone. Haig gives a long list of famous people who have experienced depression, and while social and economic factors can contribute to depression and anxiety, they can happen to anyone.
Matt Haig got to a point where he couldn’t carry on the way he was and needed support. He had family and the woman who is now his wife on his side who gave him support while he rebuilt himself. Medication helps many, but doesn’t suit everyone. Time, self compassion and simply keeping going kept him going. And there was light at the end of the tunnel, even if he does sometimes dip back into the dark.
If you are feeling anxious or depressed (or both) a visit to your GP is a good idea. Counselling can help with both anxiety and depression, to help deal with the feelings and explore what is behind the experience.
Counselling appointments are available on Tuesdays in Ellesmere Port. Call, text or email to book.
Julie Millar is a counsellor in Chester.
She grew up at the seaside and loves sunshine and tea. She listens with her heart as well as her ears. She works with people who have lost something precious to them; a person, an animal, a dream… And people who have experienced abuse. People who are hurting or confused and want something to change.
Julie’s superpower is curiosity.
Follow Julie on Facebook and Instagram where she posts on a variety of topics