This post has been in my little brain for quite a fair few months, but I guess I just haven’t felt ready to post this yet. . . until now.
This is a recommendation from me to you, that this book really is incredible. It is called “Reasons To Stay Alive” by Matt Haig. I probably wouldn’t write this, nor open up so much in this post if I didn’t think that this book was extremely excellent and helpful.
I admit, the name of the book sounds rather morbid, but it really is quite the opposite actually. It talks about a sensitive topic in a light hearted manner, providing hope for anyone suffering from depression or any similar issues.
I am a strong believer in promoting positivity when it comes down to mental health. At the end of the day, I truly think that every single person on this planet will experience problems with mental health at some point in their life, whether it is themselves or a loved one. It is all about individual coping mechanisms.
In my own personal experience, I worry about things. A lot. And the worries
often pretty much always link back to me dying. People often are like ahhh well everyone worries about dying Kayleigh! Yes you would be correct there. But it is when those ‘worries’ literally take over your life. With the majority of the thoughts that you have, e v e r y single minute of e v e r y single day causing you distress, that it becomes an issue. Like I said, individual coping mechanisms, some people naturally cope better than others.
I read this book a good few months ago now and a particular sentence to this day STILL stands out to me, because it was exactly how I felt towards the start of 2014.
“I wanted to be dead. No. That’s not quite right. I didn’t want to be dead. I just didn’t want to be alive. Death was something that scared me. And death only happens to people who have been living” (Matt Haig)
It was kind of the feeling that if I crossed the road, and was hit by a car it just wouldn’t matter, obviously it would, but you get my point. The intrusive thoughts were just all too much, that I just wasn’t enjoying life anymore. (Just to clarify, I never actually wanted to die, like the quote above says, that is the thing I feared the most!)
My nan had just passed away and my mental health was rapidly spiralling out of control. I miss her so much 🙁 I used to talk to her about things in my mind that I wouldn’t talk to other people about. Saying that, having this blog really does help. Losing someone close to you is probably one of the hardest things you ever go through, which really didn’t help my already fragile mind set. I found it really hard to get out of bed at this point in my life, let alone complete 2nd year of University. But you know what. I DID IT, I got a 2.1 in 2nd year, and I would have loved to have had this book by my side.
I am watching Toy Story 2 whilst writing this, what I would give to be a child again with my only worry being how I’ve lost the nose for my Mr Potato Head toy.
Here is just a quick overview of my thoughts at the time, all irrational of course. It is like you have a bully mocking you inside your head 24/7. I always felt so so responsible for all my actions….
Oh you want a packet of crisps? Well if you don’t wash your hands before you eat those you are going to get ‘x’ disease and then die.
Did you drop your fork on the floor? You don’t know do you? Maybe ask one of your friends if they saw you drop it. They said you didn’t drop it, but are they just trying to please you? You better go and wash it again, you don’t know what is on your student floor.
Theres blood on your floor… you better bleach that up in case it isn’t yours, it could harm you. And if it is yours it still could harm your family… That bleach you just used, it says to use it in a well ventilated area, and wash off after 5 mins. You’ve left it for an hour, you have now damaged your lungs and will die. (This one was so horribly sad, my dad caught me on the floor crying over this, and I hadn’t told him about any of my thoughts, love you dad)
Did you just wash your hands? You can’t remember can you? You better wash them again to be sure, otherwise you are going to get ‘x’ disease and then die.
My tummy really hurts… Is there something terribly wrong? What if it’s cancer? What if I’m pregnant? You’re going to die.
Was your lipstick sealed? Did you check? What if it wasn’t? Someone could have used it and it could have all sorts all over it… You should probably never use it again in case.
As you can see the thoughts really are extremely exhausting, and those are just a minority of the ones that go flying round my brain each day. Having these thoughts make you feel sad. REALLY sad. They do say anxiety and depression go hand in hand.
I still have these thoughts, all the time, I have recently just begun to learn how to manage them slightly. Some days are more successful than others, and with a little bit of CBT help I know that I am going to beat OCD. *Big muscles emoji* *Clapping emoji* I just know if Matt’s book had existed during my darker times, that life would have been easier. It is like having your own little special friend guiding you through life, holding your hand, reassuring you and telling you everything will be okay. Because everything will be okay.
The talented Matt Haig has written a book that I really do think should be prescribed out to people. It’s like a dose of therapy sessions compacted in 259 pages. As a sufferer of depression, who one day was very close to killing himself. He gives you hope and reminds you that life is special and each day is beautiful. Split into easy to manage chapters, the content is just great. You even laugh sometimes… which is a delightful human response.
My favourite chapter is probably Reasons To Stay Alive, which includes 10 reasons. I am going to share 3 with you now, just to give you a flavour, plus I don’t think I could describe the book any better myself. (Hope Matt doesn’t mind…)
1) You hate yourself. That is because you are sensitive. Pretty much every human could find a reason to hate themselves if they thought about it as much as you did. We’re all total bastards, us humans, but also totally wonderful. (Matt Haig)
2) Nothing lasts for ever. This pain won’t last. The pain tells you it will last. Pain lies. Ignore it. Pain is a dept paid off with time. (Matt Haig)
3) You will one day experience joy that matches this pain. You will cry euphoric tears at the Beach Boys, you will stare down at a baby’s face as she lies asleep in your lap, you will make great friends, you will eat delicious foods you haven’t tried yet, you will be able to look at a view from a high place and not assess the likelihood of dying from falling. There are books you haven’t read yet that will enrich you, films you will watch while eating extra – large buckets of popcorn, and you will dance and laugh and have sex and go for runs by the river and have late-night conversations and laugh until it hurts. Life is waiting for you. You might be stuck here for a while, but the world isn’t going anywhere. Hang on in there if you can. Life is always worth it. (Matt Haig)
Now if that doesn’t give you hope, motivation, and fill you with great feelings and smiles then I don’t know what will. But just that little section makes me want to read the book again x1000
Hope you enjoyed this post lovelies. I couldn’t recommend this book more, even if you don’t need it now. For only £6.99 for a hardback or £5.70 on a kindle I don’t know what you are waiting for… I think it is an excellent one to have on the shelf whenever you or a loved one may need it. It could save your life. You are not alone.
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