So the world is pretty crazy right now. And by pretty crazy I mean we’re facing a seemingly out of control global pandemic that has caused unrest and lockdowns unlike anything that has been seen before.
Right now, we are all literally making history – which is a crazy thing to think about. Amongst the chaos, I am currently existing in my own little oasis at home where things are moving along pretty normally. I have masses of uni work that keeps me distracted, my sister and I have been baking and I can still take Daisy out for her walk to get some fresh air. But every so often I spend a few hours reading the news and get overwhelmed with the tragedies many other people are facing. I realise how lucky I am to be surrounded by love and family.
At this scary time I thought I would try to spread some love by posting a few very short love poems that I wrote a while ago and frequently return to as they always make me smile. I hope you like them 🙂
So if you hold me now,
Take my hand and drown these thoughts out,
Pull me close and whisper,
You’ll be alright, I am with you now,
Just kiss me ’till the sun goes down.
And it’s not been easy,
At times I though one of us would break,
But we’ve kept the pieces together,
Oh, what a story our love makes.
Everyday I thank the stars that I found you,
Everything you say sets my heart on fire.
And I can’t help but smile when your beautiful brown eyes,
Are staring at mine.
It’s like a scene from a movie, a line from a song,
A story to tell when we’re old, and while we’re young,
And I’d like to thank you, for being so strong,
‘Cos I can’t live without you, now I know I’ve found the one.
Stay strong everyone. I know many people will be feeling lonely, scared and will be worried about loved ones who they are separated from. But this will pass. Please stay at home. And remember, love always wins.
The first time I read this book was in the summer of 2018 and, though I loved it when I first read it, over the last year it has become even more relevant to me. Since starting university my life has gone from 0-100 and with it my mental health has been a little rockier than it used to be. So rereading this book a few days ago, I thought it might be beneficial to write a review and share some of it’s wise words.
The first thing that makes this book a refreshing read is it’s frankness about the realities of mental illness from a male perspective. Haig criticises the toxic stereotypes surrounding male displays of emotion, and speaks openly about his experience suffering from extreme depressive episodes and anxiety. With the perfect balance of personal anecdotes and statistics from scientific studies, he opens up conversations regarding mental health across both genders.
He discusses the truth about social media that we need constant reminding of – most of the time it is damaging.
‘Comparison is the thief of joy.’
Instagram and Facebook often lead us to comparing the worst bits of ourselves with the carefully-selected best bits of others. If used in the right ways, social media can be social, and a place for people who feel alone in a situation to find others who understand. But it can also make people feel insecure through constantly comparing their lives and bodies to friends, influencers and even models.
‘Do not seek out stuff that makes you unhappy. Do not measure your own worth against other people.’
In September I deleted Instagram for 6 months. I have always been insecure about my body and used to strive to be the ‘skinniest’. Growing up and inevitably gaining weight terrified me, and seeing perfect bodies on Instagram was beginning to drag my confidence down even further.
The book focuses on the fact the world is overloading us – if it was a person, it would be turning mad. Haig discusses the negative aspects of society to make us aware and therefore able to detach ourselves from them. With chapters on news, the negative intentions of marketing, sleep and the internet, he addresses many modern concepts that have contributed towards a rise in mental illnesses across the last the last 20 years.
The most important element of this book is its message of hope. Yes, the world may be going a little crazy, but it is possible to lead a happy life among the chaos. The solutions he gives revolve around disconnecting from technology and reconnecting with nature, our bodies and our minds. Stop fighting against the clock; stop comparing yourself to others; stop worrying about insignificant things; stop being afraid of changing your perspective on the world.
He preaches acceptance – of our bodies, our current situations, the situations of others and the fact that we can’t plan our future; we just have to let it be. This is something that really hit home for me. I worry incessantly about everything, especially things that might happen in the future but probably won’t, or if they do are out of my control anyway. The way to combat this is to live in the moment; why delay happiness to a point in the future (when I have a job, when I have a house…) instead of just being happy right now?
‘Maybe the point of life is to give up certainty and to embrace life’s beautiful uncertainty’
The final chapter, entitled Everything you are is enough, reminded me that comparison is futile – to be happy, we must realise that we are already complete people, and that instead of seeking more all we need are the simple things. All we need is food, water, music, shelter, people to talk to and care for and love and that in itself constitutes a full life.
Talking is the most important thing. Being there for other people to talk to is the most important thing. You don’t have to be 100% put together, you can be a mess but still a happy mess.
Finally, I want to end quoting my favourite page of the book – a list of things to always remember.
Feeling you have no time doesn’t mean you have no time.
Feeling you are ugly doesn’t mean you are ugly.
Feeling anxious doesn’t mean you need to be anxious.
Feeling you haven’t achieved enough doesn’t mean you haven’t achieved enough.
Feeling you lack things doesn’t make you less complete.
I have attached a link to the book on Amazon, I would highly recommend it as a little guide to keeping calm when things get tough and remembering the things that really matter.