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Reasons to Stay Alive : A Book Review

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“We live in an interesting time in that material things are arguably better than they have ever been before, yet we all seem to be losing our minds thinking the world is one giant toilet bowl about to be flushed. An irrational sense of hopelessness is spreading across the rich, developed world. It’s a paradox of progress: the better things get, the more anxious and desperate we all seem to feel.” 

It was an excerpt in Mark Manson’s Everything is F*cked up book, and I felt slapped when I read that part, thinking it was somehow true, hundred of years ago there were battle, slavery, and many inhuman things happened. What we have now is obviously way better than ever before. But our people still feel depressed and hopeless. Other than paradox progress, I assume it happens because we can not accept what used to be normalized before, and people become more aware about mental health.

Currently I’m in my early twenties, and feeling a quarter life crisis. These are also the things that I observe in my friends at the same age, mostly they feel the same. We start to have our own way of thinking, sometimes don’t know what we want, and anxiety. The way we overcome it is also different. I know a friend who consulted a professional and sometimes they also use other ways to express their feelings, which aren’t always in a good way.

Reading “Reasons to Stay Alive” book helped me to understand better about depression which one in five people suffers from, which I think is a great way to know what I need to do if I ever get depressed or the people around me need help. 

The author, Matt Haig shared how he overcame depression day by day with reading, writing, and the love from his parents and girlfriend. Matt also shares how it feels, and he also shared about suicidal thought he had, which actually the people who want to commit suicide, don’t want to die, just want to end the pain, it still feel scary to think about dying. And do you know that the most written word in a suicidal notes is “you’ll be better off without me”, which means people who are suicidal think that they are just a burden for their loved ones.

What I learned from this book:


Depression is a common, serious medical illness that negatively affects how we feel, think, and act. And fortunately it is also treatable, but sometimes people don’t understand the differences between normal grief and depression, as depression later needs medical treatment.

Depression and anxiety

Feeling depressed makes you feel anxiety and vice versa.


It is a form of therapy using literature. Reading is like a meditation, sometimes we can just drown in the book, it also provides information, inspiration, support, and guidance from the books. Matt explained that reading give him therapeutic effect:

“And most of all, books. They were, in and of themselves, reasons to stay alive. Every book written is the product of a human mind in a particular state. Add all the books together and you get the end sum of humanity. Every time I read a great book I felt I was reading a kind of map, a treasure map, and the treasure I was being directed to was in actual fact myself.”


Above all, if we ask Matt what saved his life, the answer would be love. He got support from his girlfriend, Andrea and parents. Andrea encouraged Matt to read and write, she also earned money for them when Matt was ill, and she also helped to make him feel comfortable. 

If you have suffered depression or anxiety, or you know someone that has, this book is an absolutely must read!


Written by: Nevy Pangestika

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