With one in five people now suffering from depression at some point in their lives, the miasma that lingers over public discussions of mental health seems increasingly anachronistic, and makes books like Matt Haig’s anatomy of the depression and anxiety from which he suffered between the ages of 24 and 32 all the more timely. A self-confessed “party person” in his youth, Haig was blindsided by his first bout of depression while pursuing a hedonistic lifestyle in Ibiza. He describes the physical onset of his symptoms as an “intense flickering” in his head, “as though a butterfly was trapped”; by the time he returned home, even a trip to the cornershop had become a source of paralysing terror. While the seriousness of his condition is never in doubt, a wry humour pervades Haig’s writing: a list entitled “Things you think during your first panic attack” is followed by a list of “Things you think during your 1,000th panic attack”; other lists take subjects such as “Things people say to depressives that they don’t say in other life-threatening situations” and “Things that have happened to me that have generated more sympathy than depression” (notably eczema, living in Hull in January and consuming a… Read full this story
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