Review: Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig

Reasons to Stay AliveReasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Depression is a difficult subject. A lot of people don’t understand what it truly means to be depressed and it is the people who don’t want to understand that I would just love to throw this book at. Matt Haig has written a book here that is part autobiography and part book about what depression means, but also how to deal with it. From both the perspective of the person who is depressed, and the perspective of the outsider, who might be willing to help someone suffering from depression.

The beauty of this book lies within its simplicity. Matt Haig uses simple language to explain everything about depression to us. On page 56 of the book you can find a list of depression facts. Some of them were quite shocking to me.

Haruki Murakami quote storm.PNG

In the segment called “Walking on your own” Matt Haig explains how depression is often a solitary experience. Although others can help, it really is a fight that must be fought alone, inside one’s mind. This is extremely exhausting, and all you can really do as a bystander is be there. Although more tips on how to really help someone who is suffering from depression are given on page 127 and further. I asked my girlfriend if these tips would work if she was having a depression and she confirmed that those things definitely help. Since I think this is such an important part of the book I want to share some of them:

  1. Know that you are needed, and appreciated, even if it seems you are not.
  2. Listen.
  3. Never say ‘pull yourself together’ or ‘cheer up’ unless you’re also going to provide detailed, foolproof instructions.
  4. Appreciate that it is an illness. Things will be said that aren’t meant.
  5. Educate yourself. Understand, above all, that what might seem easy to you β€” going to a shop, for instance β€” might be an impossible challenge for a depressive.

On page 203 Matt Haig explains how love can help someone overcome their depression and anxiety. This wasn’t the first person who said that love can help people with mental diseases to cope and overcome their depression.

And finally, on page 222 there’s a long list of things that help Matt Haig when he is depressed. I thought this was such a simple, yet brilliant idea, that I asked my girlfriend if she would do the same. Anything so that I can help her (and others suffering the same) cope and overcome their depressions.


I loved this book. It’s an easy and fast read, with lots of handy information. It explains everything with simple language, which is exactly what some people need if they would read about depression. My only points of criticism is that sometimes I was missing the scientific background for some things. Everything was written down from Matt Haig’s personal experiences, so most of what’s in the book is how he feels when he is depressed. The hard cover book itself contains a lot of white space/pages and the dimensions of the book are a bit weird. The paper smells fantastic though. Still, this is a must read for everyone who wishes to become more informed about depression in general. I feel like I’ve learned a lot!

Final score:

Print/lettering: 🌟🌟🌟
Paper smell: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Originality: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Information: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Overall: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

View all my reviews

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