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Reasons to Stay Alive Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
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“How to stop time: kiss.
How to travel in time: read.
How to escape time: music.
How to feel time: write.
How to release time: breathe.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“THE WORLD IS increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness isn’t very good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more? How do you sell an anti-ageing moisturiser? You make someone worry about ageing. How do you get people to vote for a political party? You make them worry about immigration. How do you get them to buy insurance? By making them worry about everything. How do you get them to have plastic surgery? By highlighting their physical flaws. How do you get them to watch a TV show? By making them worry about missing out. How do you get them to buy a new smartphone? By making them feel like they are being left behind. To be calm becomes a kind of revolutionary act. To be happy with your own non-upgraded existence. To be comfortable with our messy, human selves, would not be good for business.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“Wherever you are, at any moment, try and find something beautiful. A face, a line out of a poem, the clouds out of a window, some graffiti, a wind farm. Beauty cleans the mind.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“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.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“Maybe love is just about finding the person you can be your weird self with.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“There is no standard normal. Normal is subjective. There are seven billion versions of normal on this planet.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“To other people, it sometimes seems like nothing at all. You are walking around with your head on fire and no one can see the flames.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“You will one day experience joy that matches this 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.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“There is this idea that you either read to escape or you read to find yourself.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“I am you and you are me. We are alone, but not alone. We are trapped by time, but also infinite. Made of flesh, but also stars.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“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.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“If you are the type of person who thinks too much about stuff then there is nothing lonelier in the world than being surrounded by a load of people on a different wavelength.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“The key is in accepting your thoughts, all of them, even the bad ones. Accept thoughts, but don’t become them. Understand, for instance, that having a sad thought, even having a continual succession of sad thoughts, is not the same as being a sad person. You can walk through a storm and feel the wind but you know you are not the wind.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“You can be a depressive and be happy, just as you can be a sober alcoholic.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“Depression is also smaller than you. Always, it is smaller than you, even when it feels vast. It operates within you, you do not operate within it. It may be a dark cloud passing across the sky but - if that is the metaphor - you are the sky. You were there before it. And the cloud can't exist without the sky, but the sky can exist without the cloud.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“Three in the morning is never the time to try and sort out your life.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“I want life. I want to read it and write it and feel it and live it. I want, for as much of the time as possible in this blink-of-an-eye existence we have, to feel all that can be felt.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“Once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“One cliché attached to bookish people is that they are lonely, but for me books were my way out of being lonely. If you are the type of person who thinks too much about stuff then there is nothing lonelier in the world than being surrounded by a load of people on a different wavelength.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“Things people say to depressives that they don’t say in other life-threatening situations:

‘Come on, I know you’ve got tuberculosis, but it could be worse. At least no one’s died.’
'Why do you think you got cancer of the stomach?’
‘Yes, I know, colon cancer is hard, but you want to try living with someone who has got it. Sheesh. Nightmare.’
‘Oh, Alzheimer’s you say? Oh, tell me about it, I get that all the time.’
‘Ah, meningitis. Come on, mind over matter.’
‘Yes, yes, your leg is on fire, but talking about it all the time isn’t going to help things, is it?’
‘Okay. Yes. Yes. Maybe your parachute has failed. But chin up.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“MINDS ARE UNIQUE. They go wrong in unique ways. My mind went wrong in a slightly different way to how other minds go wrong. Our experience overlaps with other people's, but it is never exactly the same experience.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“People with mental illnesses aren't wrapped up in themselves because they are intrinsically any more selfish than other people. Of course not. They are just feeling things that can't be ignored. Things that point the arrows inward.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“An annoying thing about depression is that thinking about life is inevitable. Depression makes thinkers out of all of us.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“When you are depressed you feel alone, and that no one is going through quite what you are going through. You are so scared of appearing in any way mad you internalise everything, and you are so scared that people will alienate you further you clam up and don’t speak about it, which is a shame, as speaking about it helps.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“Talk. Listen. Encourage talking. Encourage listening. Keep adding to the conversation. Stay on the lookout for those wanting to join in the conversation. Keep reiterating, again and again, that depression is not something you ‘admit to’, it is not something you have to blush about, it is a human experience.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“Just when you feel you have no time to relax, know that this is the moment you most need to make time to relax.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“A society which demands we be normal even as it drives us insane.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“Hate is a pointless emotion to have inside you. It is like eating a scorpion to punish it for stinging you.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“That's the odd thing about depression and anxiety. It acts like an intense fear of happiness, even as you yourself consciously want that happiness more than anything. So if it catches you smiling, even fake smiling, then - well, that stuff's just not allowed and you know it, so here comes ten tons of counterbalance.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
“There is this idea that you either read to escape or you read to find yourself. I don't really see the difference.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive

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