Book review - Notes on a Nervous Planet page thumbnail

The author Matt Haig looks at how his mental health has been not just affected by life events, but also with the modern day influx of media, internet, games and the advent of 24 Hour living. This world we live in is not the world our bodies are built to live in, and due to this constant access to resources and information, our physical and mental health are both affected.

Matt Haig himself has been a sufferer of extreme anxiety and severe depression, which at one point nearly led to a suicide attempt. Within this book he chronicles his moments of anguish when he has suffered from panic in a shopping centre, to his extreme lows of not wanting to engage with anyone, leading to despair and suicidal thoughts. However grim this may seem, the book is also very uplifting in the manner in which it recommends ways to manage your mental health in this information driven world.

a lady at a busy deskMatt recognized how his access to his phone made him more anxious, stressed, and disengaged with people, to the ultimate detriment of his mental health. One example he provides is the use of google to get access to health information when he had a particular symptom (something I think we are all guilty of doing at times). In gaining the information online he had found out he may have cancer, which in no way allayed his anxiety but increased it manifold. However upon going to his Doctor for a diagnosis he was informed he only had a minor heath issue, nothing of the manner he had read on the “lovely google” (please never search google to gain information about your health - always go to the GP.)

The lovely thing about this book is that Matt is not anti-technology: rather to the contrary he is discusses how he finds it difficult to limit access to his phone and is still working on this, and how technology can be helpful at times.

a girl on her phoneIn today’s fast world of responsibilities, expectations and the need for more information quickly, Matt very nicely highlights how more and more people are becoming victim of mental health issues due to a need to be heard, seen and aware via the modern day technology. This book allows you to contemplate your situation but in a positive way: it encourages us to make positive change for better mental health.

Notes on a Nervous Planet is a book that will remind you to switch off technology and engage with your loved ones; to look after yourself, both physically and mentally, and to make time for YOU.

I would highly recommended this book - as evident in the 4/5 stars it has received and the fact that it was a number 1 bestseller. This book is especially relevant for anyone suffering from anxiety and depression but also to anyone who just wants to make positive changes in their life.

My favourite quote from the book is: It sometimes feels as if we have temporarily solved the problem of scarcity and replaced it with the problem of excess.

- Rajnish Virk
(All views are the reviewer’s own, and are not the views of Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust or the NHS)

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