Monday, May 9, 2016

Reasons to stay alive.

Just read Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig.

Overall I thought the book was a "meh." It lost me on a lot of sections, and overall I just wasn't impressed by it. It did, however have some sections I highlighted for further inquiry or just to excerpt here.

Page 18:
Now, listen. If you have ever believed a depressive wants to be happy, you are wrong. They could not care less about the luxury of happiness. They just want to feel an absence of pain.
I think that's a fair statement. For me, suicide, or death, or just a loss of consciousness just sounds peaceful and nice sometimes.

Page 104:
The thing I hadn't realized, before I became mentally ill, is the physical aspect of it. I mean, even the stuff that happens inside your head is all sensation. My brain tingles, whirred, fluttered and pumped. Much of this action seemed to happen near the rear of my skull, in m occipital lobe, though there was also some fuzzy, TV-static, white-noise feelings going on in my frontal love. 
Well, this is me these days. Zapping, whirring sounds, frontal lobe throbs. Feeling like these's a white-noise swarm in between my ears. These are real symptoms, and Haig mirrors my experience here.

Page 125:
The main thins is the intensity of it. It does not fit within the normal spectrum of emotions. When you are in it, you are really in it. You can't step outside it without stepping outside of live, because it is life. It is your life. Every single thing you experience is filtered though it.
...
Depression for me, wasn't a dulling but a sharpening, an intensifying, as though I had been living my life in a shell and now the shell wasn't there. It was total exposure.
I feel that. Like an open, raw nerve. Like I hear everything. Like it's all too much.

Page 131:
If you are the type of person who thinks too much about stuff then there is nothing lonelier in the world then being surrounded by a load of people on a different wavelength.
Preach.

He also quotes Keats, "Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?" And you know I'd be lying if I said this never crossed my mind, but there are those who do not struggle this way, and who do not have a relationship to pain the way I do, and they have souls, do they not? I understand Keats' wanting to romanticize the pain, since it's his job, but sometimes romanticizing pain does us, those who live it, a disservice.

And then he quotes Vonnegut, "Reading and writing are the most nourishing forms of meditation anyone has so far found." And this is something I am exercising now. It is an attempt at exorcism through an art. Through a practice.

Overall the read was short. I thought Haig clearly had an anti-medication sentiment. And though he claimed to not judge those who needed it, he was always quick with a "but" which negated whatever non-judgmental statement he had just made. He also had these weird fake conversations between past him and present him. I thought they were simplistic and infantile. I also did not like his using twitter-based interaction as page filler. It just seemed amateurish. And I'm the amateur. Writing to the void.

Overall, I wouldn't recommend the book really. Unless you're drawn to "lighter" books about mental illness. I'm not.

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