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‘Notes on a Nervous Planet’ by Matt Haigh

The world is driving us crazy- this much is obvious. The more connected we become to technology, the more we start to disconnect from the world around us. We’re all caught up in a constant snow-storm of emails, texts, likes and requests… I’ve already checked my phone twice since starting this paragraph.

Matt Haig is no amateur when it comes to writing about mental health. His 2015 memoir ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ chronicles his struggles with major depressive disorder and anxiety. Notes on a Nervous Planet, whilst still deeply personal, explores more broadly how the world around us can impact our mental health and interfere with how we feel. Whilst Haig’s hypothesis (society is toxic) isn’t exactly radical, the depth at which he examines the link between mental health and modern life is both interesting and reassuring. No wonder we’re becoming increasingly anxious, when we’re never allowed to switch off .

From the moment we wake up until we fall asleep again, we are constantly being sold to, judged, compromised and compared. Worst of all, we’re the ones putting ourselves in the firing line. A lot of it can’t be helped- we are all so far down the rabbit hole that most of us rely on the internet and social media to study, work and communicate with our friends. We may not be able to go cold turkey, Haig argues, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn to look after ourselves.

Notes on a Nervous Planet essentially does what is says on the tin- composed of mini-essays that range from comic to heartfelt, it is refreshingly easy either to binge-read or dip in and out of. He shares many of his own tried and tested methods to surviving
an increasingly chaotic world, as well as moving reflections on his own personal experiences with mental health. He examines our world and the social and technological advancements that continue to shape it with incredible insight, perceptiveness, wit and sincerity appearing in equal measure. No matter what you usually read, I’d highly recommend disconnecting your wifi , sitting down and taking the time to absorb this book.

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