Still Life: A Memoir of Living Fully with Depression by Gillian Marchenko

still life

Still Life: A Memoir of Living Fully with Depression
Author: Gillian Marchenko
Published: InterVarsity Press; May 1, 2016
192 Pages
Kindle, Paperback
Christian Non-fiction


Description from Goodreads:

“I stand on the edge of a cliff in my own bedroom.” Gillian Marchenko continues her description of depression: “I must keep still. Otherwise I will plunge to my death. ‘Please God, take this away, ‘ I pray when I can.” For Gillian, “dealing with depression” means learning to accept and treat it as a physical illness. In these pages she describes her journey through various therapies and medications to find a way to live with depression. She faces down the guilt of a wife and mother of four, two with special needs. How can she care for her family when she can’t even get out of bed? Her story is real and raw, not one of quick fixes. But hope remains as she discovers that living with depression is still life.

My thoughts:

When I invest time into reading a book, I like to have some return on my investment. Although
this book met the criteria of a memoir, it left me with the feeling that more could have been
explained in Marchenko’s dealing with depression. Besides this disappointment, Marchenko does write well and with a passion. She talks about working the program, but doesn’t give glimpses of what that program is. She talks a lot about her relationships with her husband and daughters and with God and she is very candid and transparent about her feelings. She opens up her heart and reveals her innermost thoughts.

This book was provided to me by InterVarsity Press through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:

gillian marchenko

Gillian Marchenko

Website / Goodreads / Facebook


Overcoming Depression: The Curse of the Strong

overcoming depressioin

Overcoming Depression
Author: Tim Cantopher, MD
Publisher: Westminister John Knox Press, August 2015
128 pages
Mental Health

Description from Goodreads:

Dr. Cantopher provides a comprehensive, accessible overview of depressive illness, which affects over 15.5 million people in the United States. Guiding the reader through the nature of depression, its history, symptoms, causes, and treatments, as well as myths about it along the way. Warm and supportive, this new edition, which also includes the latest on medications, stresses that sufferers should not blame themselves but can take hope from the fact that there is meaning in their illness and that getting better is a real option.

Generously supplied with illuminating anecdotes and insights, this book has specific advice about what to do if you are currently unwell, as well as valuable information for caregivers, medical professionals, or anyone interested in this destructive illness, which is set to become the second biggest health burden in the world after heart disease.

My thoughts:

This is a hard one to review. I really don’t like giving negative reviews but the format in which this book was presented was so bad and so confusing that I don’t have much choice. In some cases sentences and paragraphs were repeated and so out of order that it made it very difficult to read. It just amazes me that someone would present their book to be reviewed in such a terrible format. I think the author has some good ideas and thoughts so hopefully the mess that it was in was corrected before it went to the printer and e-printer.

An electronic copy of this book was given to me from Westminister John Knox Press through Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Other books I’ve read on Depression:

Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression & Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes ♥♥♥♥♥
Talking to Depression ♥♥♥♥♥
The Depression Cure ♥♥♥♥♥

The Mind Connection by Joyce Meyer

mind connection

The Mind Connection: How the Thoughts You Choose Affect Your Mood, Behavior, and Decisions
Author: Joyce Meyer
Publisher: FaithWords and Hachette, September 1, 2015
240 pages
Christian Living


Description from Goodreads

Joyce Meyer, #1 New York Times bestselling author, explores the power of positive thinking and the undeniable connection between the mind, mouth, moods, and attitudes.
Thoughts can seem random and meaningless, but they impact your life every day. It’s all connected. What you think affects your words, attitude, decisions, and emotions and influences how you relate to yourself, to other people, and to God.


My thoughts

In The Mind Connection, Joyce Meyer successfully presents a Christian perspective of cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness. I myself have struggled using this type of therapy, but Meyer gives some valuable insights how to engage in substituting biblically based thoughts for unwanted ones, so I am hopeful.
However dedicated readers of Meyer’s books may notice that she has substituted her usual scripture quotes with quotes from famous people at the beginning of each chapter. I prefer the scriptures and hope in her next books she will return to the older format.

PLEASE NOTE: Recurring depression and anxiety as well as racing unwanted thoughts can be signs of serious illness. Anyone suffering from these symptoms should seek help from a qualified medical professional specializing in treating mental disorders. Afterwards, this book could be used in conjunction with any medical treatments.

This book was given to me from Faith Words / Hatchette Books through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.


About the Author:

joyce meyer

Joyce Meyer

website / facebook / goodreads


Mental Health Monday, Empathics, and a Good Diet Book Review

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Lately more information is being provided on people who are empaths. As one, I’m happy that this knowledge is getting out there so empaths can be more understood. What is an empath? It’s a person who is highly sensitive and can deeply perceive emotions in other people and actually feel what they feel. So if someone is having a bad day, an empath would pick up on that in their own feelings and have a bad day. There are several blogs about empaths, one of them is Empath Zone. Check it out. You might find out that you or someone you love is also empathic.

So that leads to today’s book review, Weight Loss for People Who Feel Too Much by Colette Baron- Reid.

weight loss emphatic

Weight Loss for People Who Feel Too Much: A 4-Step, 8-Week Plan to Finally Lose the Weight, Manage Emotional Eating, and Find Your Fabulous Self
Author: Colette Baron-Reid
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group, January 2013
322 pages
Self-help, Dieting

Hardcover, Audio, Kindle, Paperback


Description from Goodreads:

Here’s the truth: Other people’s drama is making you fat.
You’re a good person. You feel for other people’s troubles and challenges. Heck, you’re probably the go-to person for a whole list of people when the going gets tough!
But is your caring nature keeping you out of the best shape of your life?
Break the cycle and be the loving person you are–without letting other people’s drama keep you from being a hot mamma!
“Weight Loss for People Who Feel Too Much” focuses on the keys to weight loss for sensitive people. With a simple, practical program, bestselling author and internationally renowned intuitive counselor Colette Baron-Reid shows you how to release the extra pounds and create a new, healthy relationship with your body, your weight, and food.

My thoughts:

This is a 322 page book but it seems like it is more because there is just so much information
contained within. It’s not just for empathics but is good sound advice for anyone who needs to diet and eat better. It’s a spiritual book as much as it is a diet book.

What I like about the book is that it breaks down all the steps in the plan. It gives information
on the food industry to help you make better choices about which foods you eat. It provides
journaling questions and suggests you keep two journals and provides quizzes throughout the book that helps diagnose what areas you need help. There is also a resource section at the end of the book.

What I didn’t like about the book is that it was repetitive. The author seems to stick closely to
her own experiences. I think it would have been more helpful if she could have used some
testimonies from other people who have used this program.
I received a copy of this book from Crown Publishing Group through NetGalley in exchanged for a fair and honest review.

Recovery and Renewal – Book Review


Recovery and Renewal: Your Essential Guide to Overcoming Dependency and Withdrawal from Sleeping Pills, Other “Benzo” Tranquillizers and Antidepressants

Author: Baylissa Frederick

Publisher: Jessica Kingsley; Revised edition May 21, 2014

208 pages




This easy-to-read, inspirational and supportive guide is essential reading for anyone struggling to overcome prescription drug dependency. Drawn from the author’s personal knowledge of coming off benzodiazepine tranquillizers and her experience as a counselor, this book explores everything you need to know before, during and after withdrawal, from how to recognize the symptoms to how to manage them and make firm steps towards recovery. With a focus on recovery and empowerment, it provides all the practical and emotional support needed to help you cope and regain control. This book will be a lifeline for anyone taking or withdrawing from sleeping pills, other benzodiazepine tranquillizers and antidepressants. It will also equip family and friends to offer support and provide counselors, psychotherapists, complementary therapists and other health professionals with invaluable insight critical to providing best care.

My Thoughts

Recovery and Renewal by Balissa Frederick is an updated version of Benzo-Wise.

The author is very transparent about her own nightmare of symptoms and struggles that she experienced while withdrawing from her prescribed use of a benzodiazepine. In addition, she contributes stories from other users and how they overcame their withdrawal symptoms to become drug free.

This is a must read for all mental health professionals as well as those who want to stop using benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and sleeping pills. Family and friends of the person using these medications would also benefit from reading this book. I thought the author was very thorough.

After sharing her personal experience, Frederick provides chapters on withdrawal symptoms as well as coping skills. There is also a section of Resources at the end of the book which is very significant. There she provides an extensive list of withdrawal symptoms listed alphabetically and a list of common antidepressants, benzodiazepines and z-drugs. There is also a section for withdrawal support projects and helplines.

This complimentary copy was given to me by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Foods That Fight Depression and Anxiety

Mental Health2

If you are suffering from depression or anxiety first seek the help of a medical doctor. The suggestions below are to provide additional treatment and not to be used instead of any treatment prescribed by a doctor. It’s always a good choice to see a doctor before you try anything new.

For protein intake, turkey is one of the best because of its tryptophan. Tryptophan stimulates the production of serotonin which is one of the natural feel good chemicals in your body.
Other foods that contain tryptophan are sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.

Whole grains also are responsible for releasing serotonin. Examples are brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes and whole wheat products. Other foods that contain serotonin include dark chocolate, bananas, sour cherries and buckwheat.

Folate, which also releases serotonin, is another nutrient important in avoiding depression and anxiety.  Foods high in folate include fresh beets, romaine lettuce, spinach, lentils, asparagus, calf’s liver, pinto beans and broccoli.


Omega-3 fatty acids is important to treating depression. Foods that are high in these fatty acids are nuts, especially walnuts. Fish also contain omega-3 fatty acids. The best source is found in mackerel, blue fish, wild salmon and tuna.


Low-fat dairy products are important because they are high in calcium and vitamin D which give a sense of comfort and contentment.

The theanine found in green tea fights stress resulting in more relaxation.

Dopamine is found in apples and bananas. When our body has enough Dopamine we’re blessed with feelings of bliss and pleasure, heavenly, controlled hunger, and we feel focused. When we are low in Dopamine we feel dull, our world looks faded, we have an inability to “love”, and we have no remorse about personal behavior. Other foods that contain dopamine are beets, chicken, cottage cheese, eggs, watermelon and wheat germ.

A good diet for depression is the mediterranean diet.

Most of this information was taken from MSN Healthy Living and Everyday Health.

Books that show how nutrition helps depression and anxiety
Potatoes Not Prozac by Kathleen DesMaisons

The Antianxiety Food Solution: How the Foods You Eat Can Help You Calm Your Anxious Mind, Improve Your Mood, and End Cravings by Trudy Scott and James Lake

Brain Diet: Brain Nutrition for Instant Brain Boost and Healthy Brain Function at Any Age by Mart Paulson

Natural Prozac by Joel C Robertson

Food and Mood: Second Edition: The Complete Guide To Eating Well and Feeling Your Best by Elizabeth Somer M.A. R.D.

Potatoes not prozacBrain dietAntianxietyFoodSolutionMECH.inddfood and mood

Miracles Now 108 Life-Changing Tools for Less Stress, More Flow, and Finding Your True Purpose – Book Review


Miracles Now: 108 Life-Changing Tools for Less Stress, More Flow, and Finding Your True Purpose
Author: Gabrielle Bernstein
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
277 pages
Kindle, Hardcover, Audio


Description from

     Let’s be real for a sec. Most of us don’t have time for an hour of yoga or 30 minutes of meditation every day. We’re overwhelmed as it is. Our spiritual practice shouldn’t add to that.
     That’s why I’ve handpicked 108 simple techniques to combat our most common problems—stress, burnout, frustration, jealousy, resentment. The stuff we have to deal with on a daily basis. This book is designed so that you can achieve peace and experience miracles now.
     Inspired by some of the greatest spiritual teachings, these practical, moment-to-moment tools will help you eliminate blocks and live with more ease. They’re powerful, life-changing meditations and principles, modernized and broken down into easy-to-digest techniques to fit your lifestyle.
     Throughout the book, I share principles from both A Course in Miracles and Kundalini yoga and meditation. These tools can help you find your connection to your inner strength. When you practice these techniques, fear will melt away, inspiration will spring up, and a sense of peace will set in

My Thoughts

This is an essential book for those who want to experience a better life. Miracles Now is divided into 108 timely manageable messages. These sections are based on Gabrielle’s insights from Kundalini yoga and A Course of Miracles. While it depends alot on eastern beliefs, Bernstein also shows how it’s related to Christian principles involving God and the Holy Spirit. She has a teacher’s heart.

I like this thought she has on prayer: “Pray whenever you’re indecisive, overly obsessing, or caught in a fear spiral. Try not to pray for a specific outcome-instead, pray for peace. Accessing a peaceful state of mind is all we really need.”

Some of my other favorite messages include:
-Worry is a prayer for Chaos
-Be more childlike
-Meditate to heal addiction
-You don’t need to find your purpose, Your purpose will find you
-Breathe like a dog and boost you immune system.

This book is a life guide for a lifetime. It also includes photographs and links to online meditation videos.

It is full of energy and I highly recommend it. I learned so much from it.
I have been given a copy of this book from Hay House through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Other books by Gabrielle Bernstein
May Cause Miracles: a 40 Day Guidebook to Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited       Happiness
Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles
Add More Ing to Your Life: A Hip Guide to Happiness