Notes From Notes On a Nervous Planet

An image of the cover of the book Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig. The background on the cover is black and it looks a bit like the universe. The "O" in "nervous" is a planet and there is a colourful line that goes diagonally across the book, wrapping around the planet before wandering off the other side.

I really enjoyed reading Matt Haig's Notes on a Nervous Planet... up until a point. This happens to me a lot when reading a collection of short stories or, in this case, a set of essays all riffing on the same theme. At some point, my brain just kind of goes, "yeah, I got it," because it's not necessarily making any new points.

HOWEVER! It's still really great and worth reading because there are a host--A HOST!--of wonderful little insights and ideas floating around in there.

Here are a few of the bits I highlighted while reading:

"If the modern world is making us feel bad, then it doesn't matter what else it has going for it because feeling bad sucks."

(This is something I have felt for a long time! What's the use of all these great advancements if people are miserable?)

"Having access to information gives you one kind of freedom at the expense of another."

 (I think we saw a perfect example of THAT over the past year.)

"We would do well to remember that the feeling we have these days--that each year is worse than the one previously--is partly just that: a feeling. We are increasingly plugged in to the ongoing travesties and horrors of world news and so the effect is depressing. It's a global sinking feeling."

 (Seriously though, is the world getting worse or do we just know all the terrible things now?)

"One thing mental illness has taught me is that progress is a matter of acceptance. Only by accepting a situation can you change it."

"Illness has a lot to teach wellness. But when I am well I forget these things. The trick is to keep hold of these things. To turn recovery into prevention. To live how I live when I am ill, without being ill."

(Both of these last two quotes can be held together, I think. They also have something to tell us about what we can do as we emerge from the pandemic. Remember at the beginning when we were all taking our mental health really seriously, going for walks, stretching, and finding other little ways to make sure we didn't lose our entire sense of humanity? Those things will still be good for us later, when we have everything that used to distract us from the emptiness in our hearts.)

"Enjoy the internet. Don't use it when you aren't enjoying it."

 (And yet.)


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