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


The Wellness Toolbox

Wellness ToolboxIt’s been a particularly depressing morning.  Mornings seem to be the most difficult time of day for me. Yesterday I had group therapy, dealt with a poor sick Shih Tzu who got into the raspberry pie and helped a relative dealing with her own depression. I don’t know what triggered my depression this morning, maybe it’s a carry over from the events of yesterday. Anyway, I think it’s time to get out my wellness toolbox. A wellness toolbox is a plan of action designed by the creator of the WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) program, Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD. It is made up on things you can use to help you get over your symptoms; things that you love and make you feel better. They can include things that give you a lift like chatting with a friend or listening to some good music.  Here’s some things I have in my toolbox:

  • reading a good book
  • I keep a list of friends I can call
  • journaling
  • listening to favorite music
  • I have a bottle of bubbles to blow
  • a favorite crossword puzzle book
  • mindful meditation
  • grooming my Shih Tzu
  • go for a walk
  • color (it’s not just for kids)
  • exercise to some fun music
  • make lists
  • I invested in a Nintendo DS and play games
  • I also invested in the Sims3 games
  • watch a funny movie
  • cook a new recipe
  • make Iced Peach tea, here’s my recipe:

2 black tea bags
2 peach tea bags
1/4 c. lemon juice
3 Tbsp peach syrup
3/4 c. stevia sweetener
2 qts. water


Do you have a mental health toolbox? What are some of the things you have in it?

Books by Mary Ellen Copeland:

Book Review: Talking to Depression



Talking to Depression: Simple Ways to Connect When Someone In Your Life is Depressed:

Author: Claudia J. Strauss
NAL Trade Publisher 2004
224 Pages     ♥♥♥♥♥

Book Description:
When someone suffers from depression, friends and family members naturally want to help but to often their good intentions come out all wrong. This practical, compassionate guide helps readers understand exactly what their loved one is going through, and why certain approaches help and others have the potential to do damage. Talking to Depression offers specific advice on what to do and what not to do—and what to say and what not to say—to avoid frustration and give the kind of caring, effective support that will make a difference.

My thoughts:
This is a very helpful book. I bought it to help a friend, but it was helpful to myself. It includes things to say and not say to someone with depression and gives advice on how to care for someone going through depression along with the therapist and psychiatrist. There’s a section on suicide prevention and a section for children and teens. It also included ideas for some activities to do. I loved this book, it’s easy to read and I’m going to read it again. It’s available in both kindle and paperback formats.

Other books by Claudia Strauss: