It might be that you’ve never thought of what you realistically can and can’t do when you’re depressed.

Ugh, I don’t want to make the assumption for everyone that Getting it Done When You’re Depressed by Julie A. Fast with input from Dr. John Preston is mostly useless. But, damn, did it feel that way for me. And, sure, much of Fast’s career has been centered around the fact that she, too, has experienced bipolar disorder and, subsequently, depression. However, if you’re going to write a book with tips for getting things done and keeping your life on track while dealing with depression, it helps if you stay in that lane.

Mini Memoir vs. Actual Tips

Honestly, I think my biggest problem with Fast’s book is that she never really decides what kind of book it is. Is this meant to be a helpful workbook to provide productivity strategies for depressed people? Is it meant to be a book that empathizes and builds a feeling of community? Or is it supposed to be some sort of memoir about her struggles and how she has addressed them? Is it an exploration of information on depression with the help of professionals?

Well, by all accounts, Getting it Done When You’re Depressed is trying to do all of those things. In doing so, it fails spectacularly. As far as I’m concerned, I picked this book up for the tips. Unfortunately, the jumble of information is so much we kind of lose those tips entirely. Fast attempts to jam as much as she possibly can into the book, creating a situation where readers have to sort through useless information in every chapter.

Struggle Points

The book feels deeply disorganized, despite having some semblance of organization. I guess, for me, I was looking for a workbook of sorts. What I got was some sort of hybrid, including pointless anecdotes from the author’s and others’ experiences. Nevermind that sometimes the content in each chapter doesn’t actually provide useful tips past the idea in the title of the chapter itself. Then it just goes on to reiterate the point in different ways.

I grew really tired of the brief anecdotes about the author’s experiences with depression after a while. It’s very likely this wouldn’t have been so annoying if it weren’t for the “strategies” for dealing with depression label. The regular digression to random experiences from the author and others were thoroughly distracting. And in general they felt like a useless waste of time.

As a result, it consistently felt like the author had ideas for two separate books and not enough material to fit into either one. So, we got a mashup of ideas that made it difficult to leave the reading with useful and insightful information.

In Conclusion

If I were to pinpoint anything I enjoyed from this book, there would be few. For example, there were a couple ideas that really resonated with me. I also liked the inclusion of an actual doctor’s thoughts on the matter. But I don’t think that I would ever turn to a book like this to help me work through my depression. Its benefit is minimal. I had to sort through so much pointlessness just to get to any worthwhile information.

I don’t hate Getting it Done When You’re Depressed. But I didn’t find it particularly useful in any way, either. And while I won’t say that this book can’t help others, I question a lot of the organization thought behind it.

I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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One thought on “Getting it Done When You’re Depressed [Julie A. Fast]

  1. I can’t speak for everyone experiences I can only speak from what my experiences has been. But I don’t think you can grit done while you’re depressed. I have been dealing with depression for a while now and it’s kind of hard to concentrate. You just start thinking about others things but what’s going on in front of you.


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