Still Life Book Trailer
InterVarsity Press helped me put together a book trailer for Still Life. I cried when I watched it. God has been faithful in my family’s journey through major depressive disorder thus far, and I believe he will continue to lead us as we navigate this, at times, tumultuous but beautiful life.
Life with depression is Still Life
Here’s a small excerpt from the book:
“Mrs. Marchenko, our tests indicate you suffer from major depressive disorder. The numbers are low, some of the lowest I’ve seen. If the information is correct, than you are extremely depressed.” I nod my head and offer another shaky smile, attempting to project understanding and confidence. But inside, I start to break down and break apart. Major depressive disorder. Sounds ominous and final. Sounds like a real honest-to-God mental illness. Is this what I wanted—confirmation of a cracked-up head? a loss of life? A saying of Jesus comes to mind: “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it” (Matthew 16:25). Yeah, okay, but what about those of us who watch our lives drift away and we do nothing about it? What if we no longer know who we lose our lives for? What if there seems to be no purpose or way to stop it?
Why Are You Smiling? I reach my left hand up to my cheek and rub it for a second. I’m here, right? I’m still here. My toe starts to tap. The cheerful man’s lips transition from a smile to a straight line. He stares at me, his eyes attempt to pierce mine, but I don’t let them. I hold his stare but block the piercing. What does that say about me, that now, in this pivotal moment in my life, I still fake, or at least try to fake, my feelings? It’s because I’ve disappeared already. At some point my body became a solid sheet of ice over a raging sea of emotions. The cold I put out has caused people to look past me. They started to see through me. Or not see me at all. And now I am a master at pretending—that is, in front of anyone but Sergei—because I hate the fear, the guilt, the paranoia. Freezing meant a final attempt to hold on to myself and not disappear: stay cold and get through the day. But now I hear the diagnosis. I sit in an uncomfortable chair in a bare cream-colored room. In one moment my fingertips tingle. My feet begin to burn. I start to thaw. No, I can’t thaw. No! I imagine myself starting to crack and break apart inside.
When my siblings and I were kids, my mom took us ice skating. I don’t remember gliding across ice, but I remember my feet killing me afterward. Back at home, my mom ordered me to undress. “Take off your socks too. It’s best if you don’t have anything on your feet right now.” She set a bowl of tepid water in front of a chair. “Here. Sit. Put your toes in there.” I stuck my feet in the water, and pain shot up my legs. My feet were on fire, burning, burning, burning in a bowl of warm water. “It hurts, Mom. Make it stop,” I cried. Now, at the clinical trial, I watch myself thaw. Hold yourself together, Gillian. Stay cold. Don’t break. I suppose that as with frozen toes after ice skating, one must be stripped bare to start to thaw. I thought I wanted this—help—but now I don’t know. -Still Life, Page 21-22