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gillian marchenko

Author and Speaker


On fighting depression: do the next thing…


Do the next thing

On fighting depression: do the next thing…

(Friends, forgive me if this post is a bit hard to follow. When I am struggling with depression, my brain is mush. But I felt like I had to write this.)

Since my book published in August, I’ve been going at break neck speed. Speak at this conference, write that guest post, comment on this person’s Facebook status, plan this week’s marketing strategy, all while I attempted to be present for my family, laugh from the gut once in a while, and clunk out awkward words on my laptop in the hopes that somehow God would spread his magic dust over them and form them into a book.

Break neck speed… without breaking my neck, for three months.

That’s a big deal for someone like me who spent the better part of 2012 in the throes of depression.

Going, going, gone.

Yesterday morning I woke up with heavy limbs. My eyes blurred as I tried to figure out the day.

What’s going on today? What am I supposed to do?

I had no idea.

As a person who fights depression (not just struggles, but fights), I’ve learned to answer myself in short, doable sentences.

“Get out of bed. Eat breakfast. Change Evie’s diaper. Help Polly go to the bathroom.”

When that heaviness comes, (because it always does, no matter how much I’ve prayed and read the Psalms, no matter how much I exercise, no matter how many plates of greens I eat in an effort for good nutrition, it comes…) I’ve learned to break my life into bite sized pieces. I’ve learned the importance of being honest with myself, and honestly doing the next thing.

Do the next thing.

No more, no less.

But yesterday I quickly moved past ‘do the next thing.’ As I struggled to breathe I realized there was no next thing for me. I couldn’t do anything. My energy was zapped, my limbs numb, my strategic writer brain flat-lined.

Do the next thing.

So I did the only thing I could: I raised a figurative white flag, hugged and kissed my children who were home because of report card pick up day, and called my husband and asked if he could rearrange his schedule to come home (he could, he did, God bless him).

I raised my white flag, not forever, but certainly for the afternoon, and crawled in between my worn black sheets and slept the day away.

That night, the next thing for my family was hosting a weekly home group.

But my next thing was the same as the afternoon.

I stayed in bed, slept, prayed, and watched Netflix.

Polly came up to lie down with me at bedtime since Sergei was busy hosting people in our living room.

“Hi Mom. You sad?” Her almond shaped eyes blinked at me through the darkness.

“Yeah, but I’ll be OK, honey.”

She cuddled up next to me, satisfied with my answer, and I was struck. “Yeah, but I’ll be OK.” What I did today wasn’t giving in to depression. I didn’t give up. I simply did the next thing. 

I honestly did what I could. I did the next thing.

My next thing was a long afternoon nap.

And I did it.

Because that’s all any of us can do… the next thing.

Did you like this? Share it:
  1. Thank you for the transparency Gillian. In a world that seems to run away from the realities of life, you are leading people to become authentic, even if it is messy. The Way Jesus wants it. Inspiring and encouraging. In addition, I will pray for your break through to keep on reaching the “next thing.” Grace and Peace.

  2. Joy G says:

    Gillian I am amazed at your vulnerability and transparency. You have not succumbed to pressure to look better now that you are an author and “supposed” to be… well whatever people think authors of encouraging books are supposed to be. You’re YOU and you don’t mind showing us. Thank you!!!!

    • Thank you, Joy. You are affirming. I must admit, I’ve been a little more gun shy to hit publish after the book came out but I think one of the things God has called me to is honest. So I’m honest.

  3. Kaye Stuart says:

    Gillian, thank you so much for your honesty and being real. I can relate to doing that very same “next thing”, as many times when depressed, it’s the only “next thing” I’ve had the energy to do. The hardest thing I’ve found is people who have never had that experience, don’t understand. Praise God for those who do, and David was one of them, as he experienced it!!! God bless you – He understands completely!!!!

    • Yes, Kaye, it’s so true. There are many messed up people in the Bible. Makes us feel better, and also, it gives us affirmation that Jesus can handle, no, he invites the mess. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      • Kaye Stuart says:

        I like that – “Jesus can handle no, he invites the mess” I am so grateful to have Jesus in my life -“messy as it is”. We all have “messy lives” at some time, in some way – some people just haven’t realised it yet, are in denial, or sadly, for many Christians, won’t admit it openly. Once we acknowledge it, and share with others,, we find we’re not the only ones dealing with “messes” and with God’s help can support each other.

  4. Sue LeBreton says:

    How brave of you to share while you are in the midst of this. I hope the writing brings you some comfort and that connecting with others helps.

  5. Marci says:

    Yes! this is how I live, much of the time, as well. It’s always heartening to find I’m not alone.

  6. honest and valuable words….I applaud your candid authenticity because it so generously leaves room for us to come alongside you. As a fellow “sufferer” of depression and a special needs mom, I felt like you were describing many of my days. From the bottom of my heart…thank you.

  7. […] On Fighting Depression: Do the Next Thing – Because that’s all any of us can do… the next thing. – Gillian Marchenko […]

  8. Leah Loy says:

    Oh my word…I am sitting her reading my story through your words. I have been fighting depression since 1995. In 1995 I tried to commit suicide twice, while in a difficult time in my marriage and life. After that, I have tried everything to just keep going; meds, diet, exercise, rest, etc. You name it but sometimes, like you just said, the fight wins and I have to give in. That happened on Saturday and Sunday. I had to let go and let the fight take over and succumb to the pressure and climb in the bed and let my body heal. Thank you so much for your transparency in your post! It helps to know there are others out there that struggle just like me but continue to just keep doing what needs done! I will be praying for you. So thankful I found this post today…it was EXACTLY what I needed to read at this moment in time! Thank you!

  9. […] progress. My depression doesn’t hold me under as long any more. I come up for air quicker. I do the next thing to get better. Some days, I shoot my hand up in the air, counted, a person fighting to reduce the […]

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