I want life.
I read Reasons to Stay Alive the same day it arrived in the post.
For one thing, I thought, if I don't read it straight away, I might put it off and become more and more scared about starting it. So I opened the cover and just read it.
Words I would use to describe this book, for someone who doesn't want to read or can't manage to read a big long review just now, (based on my experience of desperately wanting to understand more about this illness but recoiling at the detail in some books that I just couldn't cope with on my own at times when struggling):
kind, understanding, honest, helpful, warm, positive, open, important, cheering, supportive, encouraging, straightforward, a friend.
He also discusses some of what he has learnt about the illness; I found the mentions of evolutionary psychology interesting and maybe one day I'll read more about this - has the world moved on too fast for our minds? I think that was the sort of idea, if I've grasped it correctly.
In terms of my thoughts about the book, all I can say is what the book did for me, as I was reading it, and after I had finished. I hope that this is helpful.
It offers me reasons to be hopeful, to be strong, and ways to look at things differently, positively.
I feel like someone else in the world understands me now. I feel a bit less alone, a bit less scared, a bit less guilty and anxious and burdened.
Just to reiterate one of my feelings about it mentioned above - I think it will be helpful to read for someone who loves you and is trying to help you with this illness, to help them see it from the inside as well as the outside, it offers some clarity and insight that a person really suffering might not be able to put into words very well for themselves, - how do you explain depression? - and it will help them to encourage their loved one that they are not the only one who feels depressed like they do (a common feeling).
'Why are you trying to apply for a job? Who do you think you are?.....
Why are you crying?
Because you need to put the washing on?
Look at the people walking outside....
Why can't you be like them?'
Those pages alone really helped me feel a relief that somone understood. And they might just help others without experience of it to gain insight. And to me, both of these things, the compassion given to sufferers and the understanding given to others, breaking down stigma, are really, really important.
Many other words that struck a chord as I was reading, here's a couple of them:
'days contained thousands of tiny battles'
There are so many sentences I will revisit and re-read, that struck a chord with me and had me nodding in agreement, thinking 'yes, that!', or passages that had me in tears, or sections that felt like a comfort, like a virtual hand holding mine or a virtual friend offering understanding and kindness, and I think and hope I will be able to find encouragement in this book in any future times that I might need it.
I hope these thoughts have made some sense and it's not all too incoherent I just felt this was a brilliant book and I had to write about it.