Reasons To Stay Alive- Matt Haig

Im starting this book review before I finish the book. Why? It speaks to me.

Have you struggled from depression or anxiety? Do you know anyone that has? If yes, you need to read this book. You need to read this book to know your not alone. To get insight into the world of someone with depression and anxiety. To realise simple things like going to the shops is hard for some people. To know when someone screams at you and then has a melt down, it wasn’t aimed at you. They are asking for help. They need help.

Matt Haig writes about his major depressive episode and life afterwards. He includes lists such as “Things that make me worse”, “#reasonstostayalive”, “things that depression says to you” and the helpful “how to be there for someone with depression or anxiety” of which I want to print out and distribute to people around me. He fills it with anecdotes that make me feel less alone. He writes with humour. Mostly he demonstrates reasons to stay alive. It is written 11 years after his lowest time and reflects on how it all gets better, that there is some relief eventually.

If you know someone who is having a hard time, give them this book. It might help, it might not. It helped me.

“I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. If you fucking like something, like it. That’s what’s wrong with our generation: that residual punk rock guilt, like, “You’re not supposed to like that. That’s not fucking cool.” Don’t fucking think it’s not cool to like Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” It is cool to like Britney Spears’ “Toxic”! Why the fuck not? Fuck you! That’s who I am, goddamn it! That whole guilty pleasure thing is full of fucking shit.”
— Dave Grohl

Stress Assess

Every so often I like to do a stress assess, where I write in one column everything I am doing that is adding to my workload. Next to that, in another column I write down what can be done to solve my stress related to that item. It also gives me a perspective on what is actually important and what is not worth worrying about.

Problem Solution
Dirty fish tank Assign a day where all you have to do is clean the fish tank.
Dirty Harry cage Vacuum his mess when vacuuming the house.
Vacuuming whole house Do downstairs and upstairs on different days. Do not plan to do all the chores on the same day, as you will not complete any of them.
To do lists Fuck to do lists. Do not give them deadlines if you create one.
Writing Do it as enjoyment until the Christmas holidays- only when you want to.
Mentoring Be strict. Important.
Naturopath Budget and follow. Be strict. Important.
Food plan Follow. Be strict. Important. Find sugar free snacks once a week. Have a yummy dinner once a week.
Supplements Treat them as mandatory medicine but don’t beat yourself up about them if you forget.
Financials Have a written budget. Use budget book. Pay bills and rent first. Impulse items go on a list. If you want them after 30 days, you can get them.
Car maintenance The major repairs are completed and Dad can help if it gets dire. No sweat.
Contributing to blog Do not feel obliged, treat it the same as writing.
Watching too much TV Follow the rules you wrote up a few months ago. Schedule YouTube binges.
Having so many podcasts to listen to Delete ones you haven’t listened to in 30 days.
Messy bathroom It’s not that messy. Organise it in day, night and spares compartments.
Messy cupboard Get rid of unused or unread books.
Work- behaviour Don’t let it get to you. Give detentions, follow up with head teacher, ring home.
Work- accreditation Important this term. Find a unit of work and get work samples. Talk to Lynne, talk to Jon for info.

Reflection: Compared to this time last year, there are significantly less stress related items yet some are more important. Can cancel any that are not on the important list and focus on less.

Things That Annoy Me

  • The absolute mess in Papua.
  • Young people who hate their lives writing about ‘life hacks’.
  • My lack of understanding of apple music.
  • TV advertisements designed to hook consumers into spending for the sake of spending.
  • My fitbit (see above dot point for reason).
  • Societies expectations.
  • Grass seeds.
  • The whole body ‘toxins’ crap and anyone who believes in it.
  • The possum in my garden.
  • My habit of writing good ideas on tiny bits of paper and shoving them in a drawer.
  • Those who have personality changes when spending time with certain people.
  • Bad friends.
  • My weight.
  • Going a day without delicious food (conflicts with above dot point).
  • Spending hours passively watching shows, movies and youtube.
  • My complete lack of ability to stick to a habit.
  • Pittosporum undulatums.
  • Shitty posts like this ‘This is how you become unattractive and you’re not aware of it’.
  • Weekends only containing two days.
  • Fleas.
  • People who don’t use indicators.
  • Drivers doing 60 in the 100 zone on a Friday afternoon.
  • Celebrity gossip magazines.
  • Sexism
  • Racism.
  • “Im not racist/sexist/homophobic but…”
  • Chipped nail polish.
  • “Everything happens for a reason”
  • Not finding out what that reason is.
  • Being outside of avocado season.
  • Fruit from cold storage.
  • Mowers/leaf blowers/loud outdoor machinery.
  • “ATM machine”, “PIN number”.
  • FOMO.
  • Not flushing.
  • Alcohol and everything about it.
  • Leaving tissues in pockets and washing it.
  • Being asked if I need help while I am browsing in a shop.
  • People who don’t have to carry a kayak parking right next to the boat ramp while I park up the hill and carry a 3m long kayak. 

Habits Week 1

Habits Mon 9 May Tues 10 May Wed 11 May Thur 12 May Fri 13 May Sat 14 May Sun 15 May
Exercise N  N  N  N  N Y  N
6am wakeup N  N  N  N  N  N  N
No junk food N  N  N  Y  Y  Y  Y
Meditate  Y  Y  Y  Y  N  N  Y

Well, that didn’t go very well.

100 Dreams List

  1. Bake a loaf of bread for someone
  2. Get to 60kg
  3. Do 3 handstand pushups
  4. Meditate everyday for a whole year
  5. Journal everyday for a whole year
  6. Grow coriander and use it in a dish
  7. Shave my head
  8. Go without electricity for 1 week
  9. Have own business
  10. Work in Antarctica
  11. Read the Happiness Project
  12. See the Minimalist documentary
  13. Have an active blog
  14. Go hiking overnight
  15. Snowboard on every continent
  16. Stay awake for more than 24 hours
  17. Beat Dad at something physical
  18. Get boxing lessons
  19. Own 2 dogs
  20. Buy a house
  21. Be debt free as an adult (does not have to include home loan)
  22. Throw out most of my possessions
  23. Live out of a bag
  24. Learn a new language
  25. Learn to play the piano
  26. Watch Antarctica a year on ice
  27. Watch the entire Joanna Lumley The Nile series
  28. Read the Casual Vacancy
  29. Float for 2 hours
  30. Buy Karen and Bill a float
  31. Do volunteer work for the environment
  32. Speak to John Marsden
  33. Adopt/foster a child
  34. Develop a relationship with Ingrid
  35. Reconnect with Nicola
  36. Be anxiety free and off all medications
  37. Have a full mouth of teeth in good condition
  38. Own a car that doesn’t need work on it
  39. Read Total Money Makeover
  40. Write a haiku
  41. Volunteer to read to people
  42. Stop watching TV for a week
  43. Live in a house without internet for a month (can use library/work internet)
  44. Take a writing course
  45. Spend a year without buying physical items (except food, personal hygiene items)
  46. A month without sugar
  47. A month of water as my only drink
  48. A vegan month
  49. A month without egg at all, not even traces of egg
  50. 100 days of making something creative everyday (a blog post, a short story, a poem, a drawing, something crochet/knitted, a new recipe etc)
  51. Crochet a queen size blanket for my bed
  52. Crochet a jumper/cardigan
  53. Have a hobby farm with plants, chickens and goats
  54. Cook a meal entirely from things grown by myself
  55. Learn to drive a manual car
  56. Make my own mayonnaise
  57. Watch High Fidelity
  58. Snowboard down excelerator without stopping
  59. Snowboard down rolercoaster without stopping
  60. Travel to Iceland
  61. Take a photo of the Chernobyl site
  62. Write a book
  63. Have a book published (can be by myself digitally)
  64. Have a photo I have taken blown up and framed
  65. Explode a watermelon with elastic bands
  66. Attend the float conference in Portland
  67. Read Ajax Penumbra
  68. Have no unread magazines in my possession
  69. Have no unread books in my possession
  70. Do 10 pull ups
  71. Establish a morning routine
  72. Practice morning routine 66 days in a row
  73. Watch season 4 of Wentworth
  74. Download all of Downton Abbey
  75. Watch all of Downton Abbey
  76. Post this list on my blog and in my room
  77. Use this list when feeling uninspired
  78. Read Nip/Tuck
  79. Read Lolita
  80. Finish taking notes on The Power of Less
  81. Tidy up all digital files
  82. Screenshot seachange then cancel
  83. Hire a life coach/mentor
  84. Be hired as a life coach/mentor
  85. Do a 90 second plank
  86. Do 10 unassisted sit ups
  87. Stop writing on heaps of little bits of paper and have a system in place
  88. Get rid of/process all my little bits of paper with writing on them
  89. Complete all the things on my to do list 7 days in a row
  90. Don’t break the chain for 100 days in a row
  91. Say no to something someone asks me to do
  92. Help someone in need
  93. Hand feed a kangaroo
  94. See a dingo
  95. Get IPL under my arms
  96. Have my eyebrows waxed by a professional
  97. Get a pixie cut for summer
  98. Have a capsule wardrobe
  99. Wear everything in my capsule wardrobe
  100. See tool play live