I just finished reading Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive, a brilliant book on depression and anxiety and all the reasons to, well, stay alive. My favorite quote from the book goes, “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 really is 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 the storm is all about.” Haig’s approach to anxiety and depression is one of real life experience, conversations between his past and present self, and lists. I read it within a couple of days and for the first time, in a long time, felt completely normal. My favorite bit of the book is Matt’s lists on “Things That Make Me Worse,” and “Things That (Sometimes) Make Me Better.” I loved them so much, I decided to make my own lists and I thought I’d share them with all of you.
Things That Make Me Worse
Winter – dark days, cold days, driving, especially at night, crowded rooms, trying new foods, thinking about the past, worrying about the future, trying to relax, clothes that are too snug, sweaters that are itchy, movie theaters, social media, comparing myself to people I used to know, comparing myself to people I know now, not getting enough sleep, skipping meals, forgetting to drink water, drinking alcohol, bright lights, loud noises, Times Square, November, taking my phone to bed, wondering if I said the wrong thing, wondering if I’m anxious, wondering if I’m depressed.
Things That (Sometimes) Make Me Better
A cup of tea, a warm bath, a good book, a cozy blanket, lighting candles, turning twinkle lights on, listening to music, writing, trying new recipes, exercising, yoga, calling my mom, watching a movie I’ve seen 100 times, sleep, painting my nails, falling asleep with my phone on the opposite side of the room, Podcasts, dogs, all dogs, any dog, buying a gift for someone, telling myself it’ll be okay, taking a walk, the smell of my mom’s cooking, knowing that my dad is watching over me.