Still Life: A Memoir of Living Fully with Depression, By Gillian Marchenko alt

Still Life

A Memoir of Living Fully with Depression

by Gillian Marchenko

Still Life
  • Length: 192 pages
  • Published: March 11, 2016
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 9924
  • ISBN: 9780830899241

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"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.

"Such painfully beautiful writing. . . . I'm so very grateful you are here. I have deep respect for the courage and bravery it takes to keep choosing life."

Kay Warren

"Over the years I've learned much from Gillian Marchenko about what it's like to live and parent through clinical depression. I'm so glad others will now be able to learn from her in her newest memoir, Still Life. With her signature honesty and real-life faith, Gillian reminds us that God meets us in the hard, often debilitating places. For those who suffer from depression or those who love others that do, this book is a treasured story that articulates life and faith in the midst of this disease. You won't be sorry you've read it."

Alexandra Kuykendall, author of Loving My Actual Life and The Artist's Daughter

"In this intimate memoir, Gillian Marchenko exposes her deepest, most painful struggles with humor and grace. More than a story of acceptance, compassion and hope; this book is a celebration of life."

Kelley Clink, author of A Different Kind of Same

"With unflinching honesty, Gillian Marchenko holds up a mirror to her own clinical depression and in doing so gives language and definition to something that often feels vague and dark. A must-read for anyone trying to understand their depressed spouse, friend, family member . . . or self."

Addie Zierman, author of When We Were on Fire and Night Driving

"Still Life is a remarkably authentic story of perseverance and faithfulness. Gillian Marchenko's candor in sharing her experience with depression will be of great comfort to many who have bought into the falsehood that their suffering has resulted from a lack of faith. Gillian demonstrates how it is possible to faithfully fulfill God's purpose in life while experiencing the effects of a chronic illness that made getting out of bed a nearly insurmountable challenge on all too many days. Her authenticity in sharing her experiences offers encouragement and true hope to many who identify with her story."

Stephen Grcevich, founder and director of strategic initiatives, Key Ministry

"Gillian Marchenko generously lets us know her and walk her journey, and in the process we grow to love her. You won't find pat answers or bland reassurances here; you'll find a real and courageous woman, a serious fight with mental illness and faith-fueled hope. If you live with depression or care about someone who does, you must read this book."

Amy Simpson, author of Troubled Minds and Anxious

"If you've never struggled with depression but want to know what it's like, Still Life paints an accurate picture. If you have lived on that fearful ledge called depression, you'll find an ally in Gillian Marchenko. With heartfelt honesty, Marchenko describes life with double depression (Major Depressive Disorder and Dysthymia). In my dozen years as a licensed professional counselor, I've never read a more accurate book about depression and the toll it takes on the one who suffers, as well the impact on those closest to the sufferer. This book holds no cure, no magic wand, but it does extend hope."

Lucille Zimmerman, LPC, author of Renewed: Finding Your Inner Happy in an Overwhelmed World

"Life with depression is still life, which means beauty and dignity are still found even when not felt. Life with depression is also a still life, a straightforward painting depicting commonplace objects, something that causes us to stop, look and listen, and if we do, to possibly realize that this ordinary object is infused with the beauty of God. Marchenko's book has been a still life for me, allowing me to stop and study the intricacies of a life with depression, and in doing so, to begin to see my own areas of darkness as places capable of framing a masterpiece."

Beth Slevcove, author of Broken Hallelujahs

"A valuable memoir of depression for those both inside and outside its grasp."

Library Journal, July 2016

"Her story is real and raw, not one of quick fixes. But hope remains as she discovers that living with depression is still life."

The Light, May 2016

"This book offers a hopeful realism for those suffering from depression, describes different therapeutic approaches the author experienced, and reflects the difficulty of parenting during a season of depression. Her story is real and raw, not one of quick fixes. But hope remains, as she discovers that living with depression is still life."

Journal of Christian Nursing, April/June 2016


Part I: Bottom
1. Uncle
2. Why Are You Smiling?
3. Major Depressive Disorder
4. Who Am I?
5. Help

Part II: Borderline
6. Home
7. Bad Mom
8. Origins
9. Work the Program
10. The Color System
11. Will the Real Depression Please Stand Up?
12. Escape
13. The Lord's Prayer

Part III: Breakthroughs
14. Thaw
15. Polygamy
16. Hide
17. And Seek
18. Grow
19. Shame
20. Best Mom
21. Faith
22. Forced Praise
23. Still Life
About the Author


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Gillian Marchenko

Gillian Marchenko is an author, speaker, wife, mother of four daughters, and advocate for individuals with special needs. Her memoir, Sun Shine Down (T. S. Poetry Press), chronicles her experience having a baby with Down syndrome while serving as a missionary in Ukraine. Gillian writes and speaks about parenting kids with Down syndrome, faith, depression, imperfection, and adoption. Educated at Moody Bible Institute, she previously served with the Joni & Friends Chicago Teaching Team, helping churches cultivate inclusive environments for individuals with disabilities and their families. In addition to being featured in numerous radio interviews and guest blogging on several websites, Gillian has written for publications such as Chicago Parent, Thriving Family, Gifted for Leadership, Today's Christian Woman, Literary Mama, MomSense Magazine, and EFCA Today. She and her husband Sergei spent four years as church planters with the Evangelical Free Church of America in Kiev, Ukraine, and they now live with their four daughters in St. Louis, Missouri.