As soon as I could read, I was hooked. I grew up with my Dad reading my Brother and I ‘The Magic Faraway Tree’ and other classics from Enid Blyton, but as soon as I could work out what the words said myself, I didn’t stop reading. As a child, I progressed through Jacquline Wilson, Michael Murpogo and the one and only JK Rowling with Harry Potter- a set of books I intend to re-read for the rest of my life.
However, now I am an A Level English Literature student, and I plan on taking it at university too, it means that I have had to develop my reading list slightly beyond Harry Potter and ‘The Twins at St Clare’s’. Therefore, I have done what any normal person would have done and have ordered mountains of books from all over the internet and am devoting my Summer to reading them all. Totally normal.
Anyway, while reading through my small mountain range of novels, plays, poems and extracts, I wanted to share a book with you that I think EVERYONE must read as it will CHANGE YOUR LIFE. Even if you hate reading, just give this a go…for me?!
Mental Health will always remain a prominent topic of life, as all of us encounter some difficulties with our own mental health to some degree. Despite this, the stigma surrounding mental health still exists and it remains a fairly unspoken subject within society. However, I myself follow lots of mental health advocates, who are breaking the stigma surrounding mental health- and it’s pretty amazing when you realise how many people suffering from mental health issues. It could be your brother, your best friend or even the person you sit next to in class, and you could never actually know.
The book ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ was a huge hit when published in 2015, and just from hearing the title, I knew I wanted to read it. As I mentioned, everyone has struggled with mental health, myself included, so recently I purchased the book- and it’s the best book I’ve read.
The book follows the author Matt, who recalls his experience with his crippling depression and anxiety. The book consists of his experience but also is brimming with inspirational quotes and ideas as well as tips to both mental health suffers as well as people who have to support people with mental illnesses.
One of the reviews of the amazing book is that ‘it should be on prescription’, and I honestly couldn’t put it better myself. Mental health is a real problem that everyone should acknowledge and attempt to understand, and that’s what this book does. It puts you in the mindset of a depressive, but follows the journey that changes from a turmoil of hopelessness, to reasons why you should enjoy and cherish every day. Reasons to keep on going.
I found when reading through the book, at certain points I paused and had to process what the writer was saying. Some quotes really changed my perspective on the world, as well as who I am. The fact that ‘Words, just sometimes, can set you free’ just voices the fact that just TALKING about your problems, whether that’s to do with mental health or what is just STRESSING you out can literally lift the weight off your shoulders.
This is a book that I know I’ll keep for the rest of my life, and when I do have those down periods, I know I can come back to this book and be reminded that ‘Your mind is a galaxy. More dark than light. But the light makes it worthwhile. Which is to say don’t kill yourself. Even when the darkness is total. Always know that life is not still. Time is space. You are moving through that galaxy. Wait for the stars’.