3 'Lifesavers' That Helped Bethel's Brian Johnson Overcome Depression

(Facebook / Brian Johnson)

If you are in crisis, please call 800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org. You are not alone.

For Brian Johnson, worship pastor and co-founder of Bethel Music, worship music, godly community and the Word of God were key factors or "lifesavers" that helped him overcome depression and panic attacks.

"I know I came to a point in my life or in those moments where I could really identify with people that were really at the final stage of their life in that, you know, people commit suicide," Johnson says. "A lot of people start taking heavy doses of drugs just to numb themselves because they can't cope with what they're feeling or what's going on in their life. And I could really start to identify with that because I was at that point where it was like, 'OK, God's going to have to do some miraculous thing.'

"And I was looking for direction—'is there something I'm supposed to do?' Then I started reading the Bible every day, getting up really early, 5:15 every morning and just started reading. ... You know, the Bible talks about that peace that passes all understanding. In the darkest, hardest, deepest moments of panic, I had experienced some moments like that. And so I knew that God was with me, even though [the depression] wasn't 100% gone."

Johnson says that his wife, Jenn, wrote the song "You're Gonna Be OK" to help him get through some of the darkest moments of their life, he says on the Charisma News podcast on the Charisma Podcast Network. That's just one example of the ways in which Christian community was pivotal in his journey toward healing.

"A lot of times when people are going through stuff like this, they just need people more or less to be there and just to pray for them," Johnson says. "And my wife is really good at that because you know, irrational fear, irrational thought—there's nothing that can bring peace and resolve to irrational thoughts, other than feeling like you're understood or someone's just there for you."

Having balance is key to maintaining mental wellness. For Johnson, it can be tricky to take a break from work when both he and his wife work on Bethel Music so much. One way that Johnson has been able to practice self-care and take time to rest, away from work, is by intentionally having conversations with his wife about things other than music. For example, they'll talk about food, a shared interest.

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