Its Monday, which I’d say half the world hates with a passion, so probably a fitting choice for World Mental Health Day. It is estimated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that 450 million people have mental illnesses or disorders, and thats just the ones that are reported and treated, so it is extremely important to discuss as an international issue, rather than just a Westernised phenomena. Last year, I wrote about my eating disorder, you can read that here, but this year I thought I’d focus on another pertinent area, one interlinked with every mental illness, suicide and suicidal thoughts. This is inspired my my recent revised reading of Matt Haig’s Reasons To Stay Alive, after my mum met the writer and got me a signed copy, as well as some other fantastic books about mental health recovery, and includes some of my own experience.
Reasons to Stay Alive is a story of how the writer found joy again after a harrowing experience with depression and suicide. For me, the book did exactly what it says on the tin; reminded me of all the things to be grateful for in this life and encouraged me to make the most of my time on this planet. It also provides a really accessible insight on an indescribable and bizarre phenomenon of mental illness; compressing it into a tangible explanation that is easy to relate to, no matter where on the spectrum your depression may lie. Here is my favourite quote from the book:
“You will one day experience joy that matches the pain. You will cry euphoric tears at the Beach Boys, you will stare down at a baby’s face as she lies asleep in your lap, you will make great friends, you will eat delicious foods you haven’t tried yet, you will be able to look at a view from a high place and not assess the likelihood of dying from falling. There are books you haven’t read yet that will enrich you, films you will watch while eating extra-large buckets of popcorn, and you will dance and laugh and have sex and go for runs by the river and have late-night conversations and laugh until it hurts. Life is waiting for you. You might be stuck here for a while, but the world isn’t going anywhere. Hang on in there if you can. Life is always worth it.”
Of course, there are countless other books on the subject of mental health, some of which have undoubtedly helped me on my journey and thousands of others too. Brave Girl Eating by Harriet Brown and An Apple a Day by Emma Woolf were both incredible insights into anorexia, while Brain over Binge by Kathryn Hansen and The Bulimia Help Method by Ali Kerr helped massively during various stages in my eating disorder. However, Reasons to Stay Alive really covered all bases and I believe it is a truly engaging book for anyone suffering from mental illness.
Finally I will leave you with a quote I came across while scrolling through Instagram recently, apologies as I couldn’t find the source, but it really hit home for me as someone who has come through the other side of the tunnel of depression, and I thought it might be of inspiration to those recovering.
“Suicide doesn’t end the pain. It simply passes the pain onto someone else”.
Ruth @ Urbanity xxx