I recently had my appendix taken out, which inevitably meant that I had quite a bit of time to sit and read. A friend of mine called Guy Jones heard of my appendectomy. He sent me a gift. The gift was a book was called Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig.
Now, for any of you who've read this, you'll know what this book is about. For any of you who haven't, I think in kind of guessed it from the title. This book is about depression and anxiety. Specifically, Matt Haig's experience of it.
Now for those of you who have listened to my Trailer Music Composer's Podcast, you will know that I have suffered from depression and anxiety in my life.
This book is pretty powerful because it deals with mental health head on from the standpoint of a man.
It's often seen as a negative thing to be open about your emotions about your feelings and about your present mental state. So this is why I thought this book was great.
Reading of his experience of suicidal thoughts and of the Black Dog did, I will admit, bring back some vivid memories. So, as I did follow Guy's advice to plow through it even when it feels a bit dark.
It talks about his experience in a very real and tangible way, which for me, like I said, brought back some "bad" memories, but as the book progresses, it talks about how he progressed out of depression; what tools he used, what has helped him and what has helped other people.
And that for me is the golden nugget of this book.
It's the idea that these mental states will pass.
They're not there constant or unending, they're cyclical. So they're not actually there constantly, even if you tell yourself there is this constant cloud and constant emotion of it
I remember when I was suffering with it. It felt like it wasn't anything I could see the end of. But then you have to look at your days. And this is what he talks about when those moments when you suddenly get like a second, a minute, five minutes 10 minutes of lift, of clarity, of beauty.
He talks about all these lovely things that he has found have helped him, even when it's just simple things like reading, and it often is the simple things; meditating, exercising for him it was running, and yoga.
The way I like to look at mental health is that we all do, let's admit it.
It's a driving force for me, my struggles with mental health, always gave me a push to look for a way to overcome it. And by doing that I have created this toolbox of things that helped and still do and this is what Matt Haig is talking about in this book, creating your own toolbox of things that help you.
The things that helped me hugely were having kids, pursuing my passion (which is composing music) and actually, although people don't like to talk about it, energy healing, and for me specifically pranic healing.
This idea that we are energy beings and we carry this stuff, this negative energy around us. These thoughts around us are just the clouds that sit around us in our energy field, and this energy healing clears it out, takes it out of the way.
It was really important for me not to look at the past and try and address what might have caused all these issues, what might have caused all these problems. For me the way to address it was simply to find ways to clear the muck. And that's what this book is about
It doesn't have to be energy healing it doesn't have to be yoga. It can be whatever you find helpful. And that for me was the message here, reasons to stay alive, looking for things that help you every day.
Little by little.
So if you are struggling with these type of things I do recommend you read this book because it's nice to know other people struggle with it too.
I obviously recommend you talking to people. And this isn't, by no means any professional or medical advice, because that will help hugely, talking to people, whether it's a medical professional, or a close friend.
And the other thing was, you know, throughout the book, it was his now wife, helping him out. You know, and my wife and I helped each other out in our times of need and it's incredible to have a best friend like that who's so close to you who knows you and who understands your apps and understands your downs.
It's a bit of a "dark" one because it's talking about depression and anxiety. The flip side of it is, we all suffer from some level of anxiety. Whether you label it stress, or whether you label it overwhelm or exhaustion or sadness or depression. Whatever the label is, having tools to help you clear the mark is really important.
So go check it out guys. It brought back to me the full extent of what I have been through BUT it reminded me of how amazing life really is.
The book ended beautifully and this is what my friend Guy said to me when he bought, he said, "you know, stick with it. Because the ending is really, really good".
And I love a happy ending to a book!