EMOTIONAL TIES: Matt Haig on the little things that help him battle anxiety…

Bestselling author Matt Haig on the weirdest-ever family heirloom, his fluffy comforter and the little things that help him battle anxiety…

Matt Haig
Gemma Day
Gemma Day

Betsy, our maltese terrier, is the first pet I’ve had since childhood. I always imagined having a large, wolfish dog, but my children [Lucas, 11, and Pearl, nine] had other ideas. Betsy has changed my mind about small dogs. She often sleeps in our bed, and when she doesn’t, I don’t sleep as well.

Gemma Day

I’m a writer who lives on toast, so I cannot survive without my 50s-style toaster. My grandma ate toast with Marmite and peanut butter. That’s now my snack of choice: a family heirloom recipe! People find it weird, but the tastes are really compatible.

Gemma Day

My wife Andrea and I got this Chinese solitaire game when we moved to Brighton. Most of our stuff was in storage as our house was being done up – this was one of the few things we had for entertainment. I find it very calming.

Gemma Day

This electric piano was a Christmas present to myself. Piano is the one instrument I’ve always been ok at. I took lessons when I was younger but I became self-conscious and stopped, which I regret. This represents picking up where my 13-year-old self left off.

Gemma Day

These early Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass editions have been passed down through generations of my family, starting with my great-great-great grandmother in 1890. These stories inspired me more than any others in my writing life.

Gemma Day

These Nike trainers represent how important running is to me – I use it as an antidepressant. My dad suggested I take it up after a breakdown in my 20s. I nearly gave up so many times, but I kept going. Now it’s a safe space for me; a reprieve from my own mind.

Gemma Day

I am happiest when heading off somewhere, passport in hand. I have a panic disorder, which used to be so bad that I couldn’t even go to the corner shop. Now travelling shows me how far I’ve come. Sri Lanka, Arizona and Iceland are a few amazing places I’ve been to recently.

Gemma Day

We went over Niagara Falls in a helicopter two years ago. That was all about helping with my anxiety and conquering my fears – of heights and of flying. The children really wanted to do it so I had to swallow all the fear. It worked – I am a lot less afraid now.

Interview by Charlotte Pearson-Methven

Matt’s latest book, Notes on a Nervous Planet, is out now in paperback (Canongate, £8.99*); to see Matt on tour, go to faneproductions.com. To order a copy For £7.19 until 17 March, go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 0844 571 0640, P&P is free on orders over £15