“Be the orange at sunset that outclasses the pink of sunrise.”
After a few months under section, at the age of 16, I ended up (for the second time) spending a long weekend of that summer at a Christian music festival that I’d rather not have been to. My mind was still uneasy after the traumas I’d endured from inside hospital walls. I barely left the inside of my pod in the tent I was sharing with my girlfriend (of the time) and her parents.
I found myself however, venturing through stalls glancing briefly at books stacked high; most of which had some mention of God in the title. I have never felt that I belonged to any organised religion, even though I do feel a firm presence of some higher power in my life, so reading about how Jesus loves me when I wanted to kill myself was hardly what I needed.
Yet I did find a book there, that despite my disbursed sense of concentration, kept me comfortable while I zipped myself away from communion for the next few days. It did something to me, in a certain way that no other book like it had done before. The book was called: ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ – written of course, by Matt Haig – which is the “first half” if you like (or prequel) to the book I’m reviewing for you today.
It had a powerful connection – from the moment I turned the first side of hard back to the many minuets I found myself reading quotes from Jo Brand & Stephen Fry and the like on the back cover – with my emotions of the time; so when I heard earlier this year, that a sequel was due to be released, I jumped with joy. But it was only when a close family friend purchased it for me as a gift for my birthday, that I knew it would be the first book I reviewed formally.
It felt right.
Especially after ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ practically did just that.
But this book, ‘Notes on a Nervous Planet’, has a more focused approach, on tackling the self-destructive cycles of the modern world; from the way we drown ourselves in doubt over social media pages or the way we simply do not take the time to be kind to ourselves in this busy world we call home. Shockingly, I found myself actually listening to the advice we’ve all heard at some point or another, which we try so very hard not to understand at the time. I’m not sure how, but Haig managed to help me grow up (quite considerably) in terms of self-care.
I’ve never been one for positive vibes and mindfulness as a practice against mental health, especially considering the severity own my families mental health history, but something about this book changed that view in me.
Most of all, it taught me the most important thing when fighting a mental disorder; something I thought I understood before, but not like this. It ought me, that the world inside our heads is so much smaller than the one that surrounds us; and life is not a race after all – despite what teachers, the media & politicians have been telling us all our lives.
Not only that, but this book made me realise how much I love to read again, which makes this the second of Haig’s book in 4 years to do this. I would seriously recommend this book (either/or to be honest) to anyone suffering right now, or even to those who suffer alongside an ill family member or friend, as Haig has obviously reached some new sense on enlightenment; which these books pass on to the reader, without patronising the vulnerable over how they should be unwell.
Hi all, just me, still here to say thanks to all of those who are still here, still following my blog despite the rough patch my schedule has been enduring. From mental health issues to technical difficulties, there’s always some reason for me not to write, but there is always five more reasons why I should come back; so I do.
Anyway yes, thanks as always. Just popped up on Vocal, if you want to check me out on their or even my Ko-fi page. Both sites drum up a lot of great support in the way of keeping a roof over my head, so please do check them out!