Life can change forever in a moment…
In the aftermath of marriage breakdown how do we pick ourselves up and start again?
In August 2014 Matthew Williams was forced to do just that. In Something Changed he navigates us through his journey with wit and wisdom, taking in divorce, dating and self-discovery while facing the dark spectre of depression.
Hopes and fears, laughter and tears – all are encountered along the way to learning some important lessons about love, loss and life.
‘Have you ever noticed how life’s biggest lessons are also the most painful? Maybe that’s just life’s way of making sure we don’t forget them…’
I’d like to thank Neverland blog tours and Matthew Williams for allowing me to be part of this blog tour.
I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I started the first page of something changed. I think I expected a self help book surrounding divorce. Strategies to cope and how to move on with your life.
Something changed is that and so much more. Matthew writes with a refreshing wit that had me giggling away throughout most of the book. He is also brutally honest, I liked how honest Matthew was about the whole divorce process from his emotional state to becoming a single Dad.
Matthew also tackles the issue of mental health, again with his honest account and advice. He talks about his fight with depression and how it has effected his life. A subject that so needs to be talked about, especially by men.
I laughed out loud at Matthew’s online dating stories. Oh how familiar they sounded!
Something changed was a very different read for me but one I throughly enjoyed.
This book could be the light in a very dark tunnel for someone needing reassurance that one day their life will be back on track, different yes, but full of new adventures and memories to make!
Matthew joins me today on my blog, over to you Matthew…
One of the very satisfying things about publishing my first book has been seeing the responses from readers on social media, often accompanied by a photo of the book. Especially satisfying was seeing it land in Austin, Texas, both due to the distance travelled and the fact that I have a family connection there.
One such post on Facebook (thankfully praising the book), provoked a response from a friend of the reader in question that made me smile. A simple response to the book’s title:
‘Not a comedy then?’
My friend responded that it does have its comedic moments, and praised it for being uplifting. This made me happy, I would like to think that the book contains plenty of humour, and it was certainly my wish that the overall impression that the reader is left with is one of hope and positivity.
Where there isn’t any humour is in the parts that detail my struggles with mental health. I wanted to paint as clear and stark a picture of my experiences of depression as I could, to illustrate just how terribly bleak, how horrific an ordeal that it really is, and to help people to understand the true nature of this crippling illness. Depression kills. And it doesn’t kill people because they are ‘miserable’, it kills people because they are very, very ill. For me, there was no hope in that place, and there was certainly no humour.
But, like the comic-genius creation that is Alan Partridge, I’m ‘Bouncing Back’. He too was ‘clinically fed-up’ but, unlike Alan, my despair never led me to driving to Dundee in my bare feet. (And, thankfully, I have yet to acquire a ‘mentalist’ fan).
I believe that humour is an important tool in helping us to address serious issues, and indeed one of the few people I would readily identify as a hero to me, the late comedian Bill Hicks, was a true genius in his ability to do this. I want my book to make readers smile and laugh, as well as to think and, if it helps them, to cry in recognition of the dark places that many of us go to in our lives.
I will often jokingly refer to myself as ‘mental’. This can be frowned upon by some within the mental health community, but, for me, it helps to break down barriers and engage with people that may otherwise feel slightly uncomfortable with the fact that I have openly struggled with my mental health. I feel able to do this without belittling the seriousness of mental illness because I don’t shy away from expressing the reality of what being ‘mental’ is actually like.
Using humour to deal with difficulties is a very British trait and is an extremely useful coping mechanism to have when life gets on top of us. But we mustn’t ever feel afraid to be able to admit when our lives aren’t a barrel of laughs. This is so important. The British can tend to be very conscious of upsetting people, of making them feel uncomfortable or putting them on a ‘downer’, preferring instead to maintain that stereotypical ‘stiff upper lip’.
But we all know that life isn’t a comedy and, during those times when smiles and laughter are hard to come by, it’s important we feel that we are allowed to admit that everything isn’t hunky dory, and that we are able to seek the comforting shoulder of a friend. When somebody asks us how we are, we don’t always have to defer to our auto-pilot’s ‘I’m fine.’
In a world where reality is often projected through heavy filters, honouring this truth is more important than ever. And when the worst has passed, well, we can look back from a position of strength and share a drink and a laugh about it.
All about Matthew
Matthew Williams is an author, blogger, speaker and coach. He lives in the North East of England with his two young children. Matthew is passionate about positive change and turning life’s challenges into lessons for creating a better future. He hopes that by writing about his own experiences he will be able to inspire others to make positive changes in their lives.
Something Changed is Matthew’s first book. More of his writing can be found at his blog, Love, Laughter & Truth.
Where to find Matthew
There are 2 £10 Amazon gift vouchers and a copy of Something changed up for grabs Click here to enter (open internationally)