As someone who has suffered, on and off, with depression since the age of 18, I was a bit wary of reading what I thought was a ‘depression memoir’- everyone’s experience is different and often books on the subject have a hard and fast view of what depression is and how it should be treated. But this book had been very well spoken of by people whose opinion I trust and Matt Haig is a local author; when I saw it at the library, I had to pick it up.
In the book, Haig talks candidly about his own depression and how it affected (and affects) his life. Depression is rarely a one-time deal and, although I would say that I have suffered differently and often less seriously, it is always a little niggle at the back of your mind. However, as shown in the book, you can survive it and there is always hope.
To this end, the book is part memoir, part survival guide. I found the format took me a while to get used to, but once I did I found it inspiring. It’s one of those books you want to give to people, an encouraging hug in book form (whenever I’ve been in the depths, actual physical hugs have been the last thing I’ve wanted. I probably could have dealt with a book hug.) I found myself Instagramming quotes as a way of reaching out. Had it not been a library book, I would have been underlining loads of what I read, my brain shouting ‘YES!’ every time I recognised something, or something made sense to me.
I think it will be a long time until I actually speak more freely about how I’ve felt in the past. Until then, though, I’m glad someone like Matt Haig is starting the conversation.