Reasons to Stay Alive, Matt Haig

I asked my former colleague for a copy of Reasons to Stay Alive, and it may have taken me a while, but I’ve read it — over a day, no mean feat if you’re a mum of a(nother) baby who doesn’t like to sleep unless she’s being held.

(Thanks, Mum, for holding her while I lay in bed resting to overcome a possible case of mastitis.)

To be perfectly honest, I approached it with a little trepidation. I have not felt comfortable mentioning what I’m about to mention, as I feel it is not my right to do so, but in the last few weeks I have had news of an old friend losing a battle with depression. I have been dwelling on thoughts of him — and his family who survive him — on a regular basis ever since.

If you’re suffering from the condition, it may help you to read an honest account of someone else’s experience and how they’re getting through it, I don’t know. It made me sad that my friend could have made a different decision — like Matt did — with the support of his family. But I heard he didn’t talk about it.

And so. My friend did what he did.

Matt’s (I think I met Matt Haig when Canongate published The Radleys, so it’s not pretentious that I’m using his first name. Heh) style in this book is so personal and does seem like the most genuine peek into the mind of a depressive. I can’t imagine what it must be like to feel there is no light at the end of the tunnel, that you just need to make it go quiet by becoming nothing. But Reasons to Stay Alive gives me a clue. It helps me understand a little why my friend made that choice.

If only he had found a reason not to.

Vitriol is expected

All this bad feeling about the results of the general election! I’ve read bitterly disappointed words and also — frankly — crude and immature ones, too (referring to Cameron as power-hungry because he can’t, er, satisfy his wife’s needs, but not in those words).

The voters have spoken (read: if you didn’t vote because you couldn’t be arsed, shut the fuck up). Even if your candidate didn’t get in, you need to respect the wishes of those who did vote. Insulting your friends online who may not have voted the way you wanted them to just shows that for all your talk about freedom, fairness, and democracy, you’re basically a hypocrite.

In the end, politicians are politicians. I believe a strong civil service is more important since they outlive party politics. That’s the major issue that needs fixing here.

(The only real shame about the Conservative victory is a certain person said they’d leave Britain if they lost. Darn it.)

Daddy’s girl

But Anne isn’t Neil’s princess, she’s his apprentice.

bed assembly 1

In light of baby #2 coming very soon, we’ve been getting our place ready. Slowly. We’ve had some furniture delivered from everyone’s favourite affordable Swedish flat-pack furniture retailer, and this was the day Neil was putting Anne’s new bed together. He asked if she wanted to help.

bed assembly 2

Anne mainly saw her role as trying to put as many screws and bolts into as many holes as possible, but she did learn how to use an Allen key and — according to Neil — actually did a pretty good job.

bed assembly 3

What she was really after, though, was the hammer. Er, no chance, kid.

What passes for a sensible conversation at our place

I was heading out to get some pudding.

Neil: Can you get some Magnums? They come in a four-pack now…

Me: I don’t see why that makes any difference to me. I don’t get a chance to eat them anyway.

Neil: It was three before, now they’re four.

Me: So my chances have increased from F all (Anne was within earshot) to none?

Neil: That’s about the size of it.

TMI #42

The ladies at the Chinese grocery shop tell me it’s going to be a boy, because it’s a pointy bump. An Italian lady I know says the old wives’ tale from Italy predicts a girl from a pointy bump, or a beautiful boy.


Stereotypes don’t invent themselves, but editing might

Neil’s been watching The Island with Bear Grylls, so I have been as well. A few thoughts:

  • I’d never be stupid enough to sign up. I have no reserves on me, I’d be dead in a couple of days.
  • If I was stupid enough to sign up, I certainly hope I wouldn’t be as vacuous as so many of the women seem to be. Yes, you found some water. You need to find more, and food, not sit around, sunbathe, and talk shit.
  • It makes me wonder if the editing made the women look like they thought they’d be spending time lounging in bikinis on the beach, accidentally-on-purpose launching their own media careers, while the men seemed much more focused (but not necessarily any more successful, they were just working on the food, water, and shelter situation all the time).
  • What happened to mummy pig? First the women left the piglets alone because mummy was there, then she disappeared. WTF?

I have the fear

We just went to Anne’s (prospective) preschool’s open evening, and were told there had been 80 expressions of interest, but only 50 places.

My Singaporean kiasu fear has totally kicked in — I need to have a home school backup (all other preschools in the general area are full as well), and a proper curriculum that I can manage with a new baby. Aaaauuugggghhhh!