“Something Changed – Stumbling through Divorce, Dating and Depression” by Matthew Williams.
I have been following Matthew on social media for a couple of months now, after he some how stumbled across my little old blog and shared his own with me. I absolutely love social media for this very reason – it enables you to connect with like minded people that maybe you would never have had the opportunity to get to know otherwise. From initial comments and finding out he is a fellow Teessider (I know I am not an official Teessider, being from Chester-Le-Street originally, but having lived here for over a third of my life now, I am going to assume I have been adopted!) it is clear we have a lot in common and quite a few of the same aims, namely, reducing stigma around mental health.
When I found out he had written a book, I was in awe. He started very much how I have (although much better with his words) with a blog (lovelaughtertruthblog.com for anyone interested, and you should be) and now is a fully fledged published author. For a little book worm like me, that was just a WOW moment! I spotted a post that was after people to review the book and I jumped at the chance. Not only did that mean I got to read the book, I got to blog about it. Win Win! So, here it is, my opinion, for what it might be worth anyway.
So, a book about Divorce, Dating and Depression. Maybe not a book you would automatically assume I would be interested in. I am not divorced, though truth be told, it has been very close on more occasions than I like to think about. Dating – thankfully never been involved in that area and if I am honest, if the worst was to happen and I found myself alone, I think I would become the ultimate cat lady. The prospect of “dating”, whatever that term really means these day, scares the bejesus out of me! Depression – ah, now this bit I know all too well about. I was intrigued to read it all, I am a very nosy person by nature and being able to read someone’s life on paper is like a dream, but in all seriousness, how people deal with things, especially mental health issues, fascinates me. So yesterday, although I had attempted to start it back in December when I received it, I picked it back up. From that moment I have barely been able to put it down! So much so, I finished it off today. What a read!
From the outset, what I was impressed with was the total honesty. Having not met Matthew yet, although hoping to sometime in the near future, it was like I could hear him telling his story. Like we were sat over a coffee chatting like friends do. I could pick up on the North East dialect, which I loved! A favourite line of mine being “it bloody knacked” in reference to when he dislocated his elbow. Writing styles like that keep it real, it kept me engaged, it helped me build more of a picture in my mind as I continued reading. Although not the most uplifting title perhaps, the book it self is easy to read, easy to get involved with and bloody difficult to put down.
I believe it takes a very special, and in a way, brave person, to write down their inner most thoughts and feelings. I am not saying that because I do it myself, it is a genuine statement. Divorce is an extremely personal issue, something that people avoid talking about, it becomes the elephant in the room in some cases. To be able to write about it and then share with the world how it affected you, mixed in with your story of how Depression affected you too…… hats off Mr Williams! There is humour too, which to be able to bring humour into such a subject is a skill in itself.
As I was reading there was a lot I could relate too. It seems we have very similar experiences with our mate Depression and have a similar thought process. It always pains me to read someone’s struggle with mental health as I know first hand what a battle it is, how it feels to feel so low, so alone. I wouldn’t wish the misery it can bring on anyone. The sheer exhaustion it brings to sometimes just exist. But this book isn’t just about the bad times, it is about how he came back from that place, how, as I see it, everything happens for a reason. He might not be on the amazing path he is on now, doing the fab things he is doing, if it wasn’t for the experiences and troubles he has faced. It is a true story of a mental health fighter, a bad ass who didn’t let the lying little shit Depression win him over. He stared the Black Dog down and ultimately, won!
I don’t think there is a more apt phrase to end a book like this one. I love the feeling of positivity that runs throughout the whole book, even during the more sombre parts. I love that it has lit a fire in him and he wants to fight the fight for mental health understanding, to make mental health an every day subject. Suicide is the biggest killer amongst men under 45 as they don’t feel they can talk, that they should be able to cope with everything and be strong and not cry. Utter bull. It shouldn’t matter how biology defines you, I am pretty sure all brains are similar! Just because you have a penis does not mean that you have to not cry, or feel that you cant admit that you are struggling.
This book could and I have no doubt will be, the life line for so many men out there. If any part of the title jumps out at you, give it a read. In fact, just give it a read whoever you are because it is class. True fact! Because Matthew is doing what so many people wish they could but don’t quite have the ability to do yet, speaking out. He is being the voice of so many people, he will help so many people just by being himself. That, in my eyes, is just flipping amazing! Men and women alike, read it. From a lasses point of view it was really interesting to see things like divorce and dating from a male point of view. Without all the usual stereotypical bluffing and innuendos.
From a personal point of view, I think I best up my blogging game haha! But seriously, I am so glad to have “met” Matthew, to have been able to read his book and to be able to see where this crazy journey called life will take him. It’s all about the support and I have that to give by the bucket load!
Congratulations Matthew! You bloody deserve it! Keep going and I hope there is a book number 2 in the future. For now, this signed copy of book number 1 will take pride of place on my bookshelf. Thank you for sharing with me. I loved it!
Until next time!