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3 Things To Do When Depression Overwhelms You

3 Things To Do When Depression Overwhelms You

Do you ever struggle with discouragement? Do you feel like depression is overwhelming you?

I have experienced severe depression several times in my life. Before I met Jesus, I was chronically depressed. I had no hope in life at all.

But when I met Jesus and began to receive His love for me, and began to grow in Christ with good, Biblical teaching, that chronic depression left.

But I have still dealt with situational depression, even for extended periods of time.

For example, my husband and I have been paying for three pieces of real estate since the market crash of 2008–over 9 years. The first 2.5 years of that situation, I was terribly depressed. With every mortgage payment–which was wasted money in my opinion–I felt like my dreams were going right down the drain.

I didn’t understand why God would allow this to happen to us.

I knew it would have been so easy for Him to sell that property! So I began to embrace self-pity… and every time I did, it opened the door wide for demons of depression, discouragement, and suicide to attack me.

Yes, you read that right.

I began to hear thoughts in my head saying that I should just end it all, because there was no hope.

Let me be clear that those thoughts are always from the enemy. They are never from God. And I knew that! I rebuked those evil spirits and commanded them to leave me.

But I still embraced self-pity, so the door was open for them, and they didn’t stay gone.

BUT GOD! God always has an answer because He always IS the answer!

Every time I have walked through depression and discouragement, He has come through for me. He has always healed me and set me free, even though I’ve had to walk through some tough stuff.

Are you going through a season of depression right now? If so, would you allow me to share with you the three things that helped me get through–and eventually overcome–the depression I experienced?

1. When depression overwhelms, tell someone everything.

The first time that I was depressed as a Christian, and had those suicidal spirits come against me, I tried to fight it alone for awhile. I was ashamed that I wasn’t stronger, and I didn’t want people to think less of me!

Related: God Cares About Your Emotions More Than Your Ability To “Be Spiritual”

But eventually, it got so bad that I couldn’t handle it anymore.

I wanted to be free from those evil thoughts (that were not my thoughts, but were from the enemy). So I went to an older, wiser friend of mine who was a prayer warrior, and I dumped everything I was going through on her and asked her to pray for me. I was too worn out and discouraged to pray for myself.

So she and another friend prayed for me. They prayed the glory down! God healed me and set me free, and my friends didn’t think less of me (because they loved me).

But, the key here is that my friends were able to pray for me because I was honest and transparent… even about the suicidal thoughts. If I hadn’t been transparent and asked for prayer for these things, I don’t believe it would have been as effective.

So if you are discouraged or depressed right now, please, find someone you can trust, tell them everything, and let them pray for you. You will be glad you did, and they won’t think less of you.

2. Pray-read through the Bible.

Philippians 4:6-7 says:

Start-quoteBe anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Taking your sorrows to the the Lord in prayer brings great healing. Every time I have done so, God has met me, comforted me, reassured me, and lifted me up.

But when you’re depressed, sometimes it’s hard to start praying–or hard to know what to say. That’s where pray-reading will help you.

As Mark Batterson says in The Circle Maker, “The Bible isn’t meant to be read. It’s meant to be pray-read.”

“Pray-reading” means that you read slowly, praying the words back to God as you read them.

The Psalms are a great place to start. For example, when I pray-read Psalm 28, this is how it sounds:

  • “To You I will cry, O Lord my Rock:” (Father, I’m crying out to You. I need help here, and I know You can help me.)
  • “Do not be silent to me,” (I need to hear from You, Lord. Please speak to me right now and minister to me.)
  • “Lest, if You are silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.” (I have no hope outside You, Father. But I know You will speak to me right now, and heal me from this depression.)

When you pray-read through the Bible, the verses help you express yourself to God when you can’t find words of your own.

Verses will suddenly come alive for you; they will seem to sum up exactly what you’ve been feeling. They become your prayer to God.

And as you pray-read through the Bible, God will speak back to you. Verses you pray to God about discouragement will suddenly lead to verses about encouragement that He speaks back to you! You will hear His words of affirmation that He speaks to you. You will feel Him helping you and building you up as you release your cares to Him. He loves you, you know!

Every time I have felt discouraged, hopeless, down in the dumps, or depressed, pray-reading the Bible (particularly the Psalms) has been HUGE in my healing.

3. Put on a contemplative music CD, and let God’s presence heal you.

Sometimes we forget to worship at home–at least I do. But the Holy Spirit really uses music and worship to heal us. God makes His presence known when we worship, and then we find fullness of joy in His presence (Psalm 16:11).

Related: How To Get Your Joy Back

I remember one of the times I was most discouraged. I felt so dry and hopeless. I needed my joy back. I needed a reason to go on.

And I don’t know how, but somehow God led me to sit in a quiet place and put on Jon Thurlow’s CD, Strong Love. I just sat and soaked, and found myself drawing into worship. And by the end of the CD, I was on my face, weeping, laughing, and totally transformed by the presence of God.

God used the music that CD to minister to me in a way that maybe nothing else could. Why? Because worship will set you free.

So are you feeling discouraged? Please, get alone with God:

  • Put on a good, contemplative worship music CD, and sit down.
  • Focus your mind’s eye on Jesus, and sing/pray the songs to Him.
  • Soak in His presence.

If you need a good, soaking worship CD, you can listen for free to my three worship CDs here. And if you like instrumental worship, I recommend my solo piano soaking CD, Keys of David. Listen to previews here; it transports me into worship every time I listen to it!

Whenever I put on a worship album and soak, at the end of an hour-long worship set–or even 30 minutes–I feel transformed!

Precious reader, are you depressed or discouraged?

If so, don’t give up hope. God loves you and has a good plan for your life. He wants to help you right now. So tell someone everything. Pray-read through the Bible. Get alone with God and worship, and let the Holy Spirit heal you.

If you will do these things, I believe the Lord will bring you great healing too.

Does this post speak to your heart? If so, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!

Image courtesy of Paladin27 on Flickr via Creative Commons license. Image has been edited and graphics added.

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27 Comments

  1. Sharing your experiences and feelings is very helpful…Thanks for being so courageous
    by sharing these personal struggles, Jamie

      1. Daphne Goh says:

        Dear Jamie,

        Thank you for your pray-read the Bible, I agree fully with you. As I read the verse when I opened the Bible, HE seems to know my trouble that I have in my heart and what I am asking HIM. Even going to church and I received the sermon that I needed most about my situation. I trust HE is at my side and hear my cry to seek HIM.

        I always seek GOD first and I trust that all this thing shall be added on to me, Hallelujah !

      2. Jamie I can so relate to this I’m sick of being told these are just intrusive thoughts and they are “normal” to have. I have thoughts of harming myself and others and I plain hate it! Please pray for me and my deliverance. Thank you hun. Your faithful follower <3

      3. Carmelita says:

        Hi Jamie
        Lolo am in a deep depression so bad it is like a force on me I read the word plea the blood next day it comes again if I ask for prayer some say pray for yourself I am all alone where there seems no way out it’s on y girl now also she is six Leah nd boy he is five aidan rejection loniness kill me

  2. Hi Jamie,
    I have had clinical depression for 23 years. I tapered off all meds 3,years ago with a dr ‘s help and the depression came back within 7 weeks. I was anointed with oil and prayed over multiple times and it took 4 months, 2 hospitalization’s and several dr’s and meds to get stable again. I have been seeing a Christian counselor for the past 3 years to talk and pray with. She has helped me to understand that sometimes like Paul, God leaves the thorn in the flesh. Sometimes mental illness is a cross that He wants us to carry. Not everyone is always healed from cancer, diabetes or mental illness. I am glad that you were healed. I have begged Him to heal me and I have been able to reduce some of the meds with His help. I struggle every day but He helps me to make it one day at a time. God bless you. I just hope that Christians can have more understanding and acceptance of this subject and not always say that it’s a spiritual problem and that there’s a spiritual solution. Thanks, Beth

    1. Hi Beth.
      Thank you so much for sharing your story. I empathize with your situation and I am sorry you are going through this. I wish I could take away your hurt myself… I know how awful depression is. However, I cannot agree with you on some things above. I thought about not saying anything about it, but I want to point you toward hope if I can.

      Beth, Daddy God loves you so much that He would never, never, never give you depression. Mental illness is never a cross God wants us to carry, nor is any other illness. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” And Scripture tells us over and over that Jesus paid the price for our total healing, including healing of mind, body, soul, and spirit (you can read more about that here if you like). (1 Peter 2:24; Isaiah 53:4-5, to name just two Scriptures about this.)

      The thorn in the flesh that Paul wrote about, according to some Greek scholars like Rick Renner, was probably people that were bothersome to Paul… and even if it could have been a sickness, we know that it was not from the Lord. That would be the complete antithesis of what the Father sent Jesus for, since Jesus paid the price for our healing. The will of God in every situation is “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:10). And we know that Heaven is a place of perfection and beauty, where God wipes away our tears. It is His will for you to be completely and totally healed.

      I know sometimes we pray, and even fast and anoint with oil, but our healing still doesn’t come instantly like we would like it to. I’ve been praying for healing for my eyes for many years, and my eyes haven’t been healed yet. But still, the Word of God is true. The price Jesus paid is completely sufficient for my healing, and for forgiveness of my sin, and for my abundant life… and yours too. If that weren’t true, then the Bible would be a lie and there would be no Gospel.

      But we know the Word of God is true. I don’t know why healing doesn’t come instantaneously in every case, but I do know that our Daddy God is a good Father who gives only good and perfect gifts to His children. Does He occasionally put terrible judgments on His enemies? Yes, Scripture records several times in which He did that. But never to His children who are in right standing with Him.

      Beth, I know you are hurting and I’m sorry. I don’t know why God hasn’t completely healed you of depression yet. But I do know, from many years of depression myself, that God’s Word heals, renews, and restores our minds. And I do know that God is faithful, and that as you continue to come to Him in prayer and hide His Word in your heart, that He will continue to transform your life. I wish I could make it better for you right away, but I can’t… but God can make every moment better for you as you come to Him moment by moment. And even if it’s over time, you will still find that God sends His Word to heal you (Psalm 107:20).

      There’s nothing wrong with taking medication or going to counseling, as long as the counseling is Biblical. God often heals using doctors, just as He did in Scripture. (Even Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick” (Mark 2:17). But still, the fact remains that Jesus healed ALL who were sick and oppressed by the devil (Acts 10:38). We may not have reached His standard yet, in that we haven’t gotten to the point where every person we pray for is healed in that moment, but that doesn’t make His example any less valid. His standard is the only one going after. So even while we hurt, we can still go after Him and know that He will be faithful to heal us… even if it’s one day at a time.

      Please hang in there, precious sister. You are greatly beloved of the Lord, and I know our Daddy wants to touch your mind and lift you up moment by moment, day by day, breath by breath. He wants you to experience everything that Jesus died to give you–life, health, and abundance of resurrection power. I am glad He has helped you thus far, and I know He will continue to take care of you. I pray that He would continue to encourage you this very day.

      Thank you for reading my blog. I will join with you in prayer for healing, and I believe our Daddy will continue to minister to you and bless you.
      Jamie

      1. Given Masilela says:

        Hi Jamie, this is my first time reading your blog ever. I am a 26 year old male (wow, I’m 26 already) who’s been struggling with anxiety and depression for the past few months. I can’t really tell when it started, but I know that it was a result of me worrying about issues of this world (job, marriage, reputation etc).

        I must say that as I am reading through your posts all I can sense is love and genuine compassion for your fellow brethren. I cannot express enough how I appreciate how insistent you are on the fact that anxiety and depression are never God’s will. I appreciate your loving reply/response to Beth, I hope it is received as well as it is meant. I am a firm believer in God’s constant willingness to heal His sons. I know without a shadow of doubt that even now God wants me healed and free from anxiety and depression than I want it for myself. He wants what’s best for me, more than I do.

        Thank you so much for being bold enough to communicate this to your readers. I am going through one of the toughest times in my life right now, but I feel encouraged not to focus on the situation but instead to force my eyes, ears, mind and actions to concentrate on God’s faithfulness and kindness.

        Have you heard of John G. Lake Ministries? After reading and understanding your stance on God’s willingness to heal us I am convienced that you will only be sharpened by brother Curry R. Blakes teching titled ‘Divine Healing Technician’…PLEASE SEARCH FOR THE TITLE ON YOUTUBE.

        Again, thank you. I am currently learning to put one foot after the other. My biggest challenge right now is changing my thought patterns ( I also experience God healing me from moment to moment). Can you (any one reading this who believes in the divine healing power of God) pray for me to learn to focus my thoughts on Christ and every promise that is made available to me through Him. I am learning that He is everything.

  3. Your such a blessing. I just read about deer so. pression. I’ve always been happy the last 8 years unreal. But, Holy Ghost has kept me and by reading your prayer over my unjust situation it’s my last resort I’m exhausted from the stalking and harassment like you said find a prayer warrior. Mine is in heaven I loved her so. Please pray I’m 62 I just wanna go home. If you go to stalkersbeware.com this is where I learned what’s going on in my life. Many others are but don’t know what it is. Thanks for listening may God richly BlessYou.

  4. Christy Beals says:

    I read your e-mails every day because I don’t know what to do I have a boyfriend that is out lash and hotheaded try to be the boss but I love him I pray for him everyday I pray for my finance that it’s out of control and I pray for my children that they will get jobs live better life get Godly friends godly adult in their life Jamie thanks for the incredible encouragement you give me everyday god bless

  5. This post described perfectly what I’m going through. I’ve been fighting this situational depression for over a year now but I think it’s gotten worse over the past month. Just this past Sunday I sat in my room and was bombarded with the suicidal thoughts. The problem is I don’t have any friends to talk to about this. My work schedule messes with my ability to attend church services which I know is making this depression even worse. I have no one in my life who is a prayer warrior, let alone a Christian. I journal my thoughts, feelings, and prayers but nothing seems to help which is hard because I’m so used to hearing God’s voice and right now it feels as if He’s silent. The words I wrote just two days ago say, “I feel so alone God. I’m bombarded with the thoughts of ‘will I ever good enough? Do I even matter? Will I be stuck in this place forever? Does anybody even care? Will I ever make it through?’ Oh God I am crying out to you but you just seem so far away. The darkness surrounds me blinding me to your truth. Speak to me. Hear my cries. I need you because I feel alone. So alone. And in these moments of loneliness I contemplate my life’s worth thinking I should just end it all.” So your post is pretty timely. I guess maybe I’m asking if you could pray for me. It’d be nice to know and feel like I matter enough to have someone pray for me. I don’t know how I got to this place but I do know I struggling to get out of it.

    1. sibonginkosi says:

      That was me no so long ago.I just wanted to end it all…But God made a way.It all began when I came across the prayer of” unjust situations ”
      Then God led me back to Him and I am getting better and better each day.
      No more suicidal thoughts
      Will support u in prayer
      Hang in there.God loves you.

  6. Susan Jones says:

    Thank you Jamie. I love to read your messages. Each one is biblical and carries spirit strength. I am registered for your meeting in Chattanooga in July. I registered by faith believing God for making a way. I am praying for you and support your ministry when I can. God bless you.

  7. Hi Jamie, I wanted to give you a little encouragement today. I wanted to let you know every time I read your articles like this one on depression helps me a lot to know that I am not the only one who suffers with depression. You also give me practical ways to apply what you are conveying. I needed this because I was so discouraged that I just had enough and tried to end my life which lead to 10 days of hospitalization at a mental institution. By the grace of God I am still here. i have suffered with depression for a very long time. I finally got the right diagnoses and now I am on medications which are working for me. Praise God. If anyone on this site relate I need people in my life like you. Because I go to a very small church because I love my pastor so and sh is a woman. I have nothing against men they some times do not know how to relate to women if they have issues themselves. God Bless everyone.

  8. Thank you for this encouraging message. I was feeling lost and emoty and it brought hope in my life. Now I know that God is near me and walking with me always.

  9. Samantha Wilson says:

    I first read your post about It’s an intense season for asking and I thought I am going to claim this word for myself and mostly for my parents who need a miracle at this time in their lives. Their health problems have sent me in a situational depression and I am struggling to have hope. I responded to your email after I first joined the group to tell you things about myself.

  10. Did you realise ads come up in the middle of your blog and one of them was advertising a medium.
    Is this what you wanted?

    1. No, definitely not! I have blocked all such ads, but sometimes one gets through my ad provider. If you see anything like that, I would appreciate it ever so much if you would please click the “report ad” button and report it as offensive/inappropriate/etc so my ad provider will see it. I have never seen such an ad personally, but I will watch for it and report it if I see one. Thank you for your help!!

      1. You are very welcome
        I did the report ad as well
        Arohanui
        Linley

  11. Rose Perez says:

    Dear Jamie, Thank you so much for your spiritual insight on this article on depression, I used to suffer from it and thought how do I rid myself of this feeling of hopelessness of feeling alone and sad. All the spritual insight words you gave are right on target. In our moment of despair with a heart open and the calling of Our saviour’s name Jesus and continually focusing on His power rays of hope, love and peace will he send us. I cannot emphasize it enough what you have written about the steps to take are powerful and truly work. Blessings Jamie

  12. Jamie, thanks for your writing. Please never stop. I’m in my early twenties and have dealt with depression in the past. After finishing my first year of law school, it’s been particularly bad and I’ve been having panic attacks. I’ve felt trapped, anxious about when the next one would happen. I was feeling anxious when I thought I’d see if anyone could tell me how Yahweh (I use the original Hebrew name for God) could help when I stumbled across your posts. I already feel His healing and will try to do what you’ve suggested. I know I’ve grown weak in my faith and want to get stronger again. Thanks so much for this and please pray for me! All the best to you.

  13. I just recently suffered the same thing; anxiety with the symptoms, random panic attacks, and recently depression. I felt that the lord led me to this sight for encouragement, faith, and hope in him. Thank you for this article and my job (respiratory therapist) requires me to on my feet on all times and currently I am taking medical leave so I can seek the lord more and be healed through his will. Please pray for me as well. TY.

  14. Susan Roth says:

    I just kinda “stumbled onto this place, and have dealt with depression a good portion of my life; I had never heard of “pray-reading ” the Word, before, but eager to try it, as so much of the time when depressed, unable to concentrate on much and struggle reading it. I have been looking for a way to stay closer to Papa, and maybe this will help…. thanks!

  15. Is loosing our mind feelings and thought is that depression or something else???

  16. Anne Sofie says:

    Hi Jamie,
    Your webblog has been such a blessing to me these past couple of weeks.
    I’ve been a christian for 4 months now and am struggeling quite a bit with getting used to my new life (Its quite alot to take in). I’m the only christian in my family and don’t have that many people I can ask for help so I’m mostly getting to know God by myself. He’s been helping me alot and I’m super thankful to Him! Lately, I’ve been feeling really confused and thrown of guard. Not even understanding my own feelings well. I’m doing all that I can to hang in there despite what the world around me says. Anyway, I just wanted to say that your blog has been helping me out alot and it always encouraged me on difficult days. God bless you!

    – Anne Sofie

  17. OYENMWEN OMOREGIE says:

    Hello Pastor,

    It is December again and I want to hear what the word for 2022! I am so eager that I am patiently waiting for it.

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