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Pastor Woke Up Feeling Like He Was ‘Dying.' Here's How He Escaped the 'Tunnel of Darkness' That Followed.


"A very slippery and quick slope into a pit."

Louie Giglio, the well-known pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and author of the new book "The Comeback," knows a thing or two about overcoming tough obstacles.

He's a preacher who has spent countless hours counseling beleaguered parishioners, talking and walking them through their hardest moments.

"When darkness falls, people tell their stories to their pastor, and so you walk through a lot of darkness with people," he told The Church Boys podcast. "That shapes your heart and it makes you want to lean into the gospel, which is the greatest story of comeback."

But Giglio, who focuses on a variety of comeback stories in his new book, also revealed some details about his own harrowing battle with depression — one that took him by surprise and left him feeling as though his world was falling apart.

It all started in the fall of 2008. Giglio said that he went to bed one night like any other, but that he woke up at 2 a.m. with a horrendous and terrifying feeling that completely overtook him.

"[I thought] I was dying right there on the spot," he said.

Listen to Giglio explain his plight below:

Though he might not have realized it at the time, Giglio was experiencing what he now describes as a "nervous breakdown."

"[What followed was a] very slippery and quick slope into a pit, which you can label anxiety, depression, fear, worry — all of it stemming out of depression," Giglio said. "And I spent about four months of my life in a tunnel of darkness. I thought I was going insane."

The preacher, who is also known for founding the Passion Conferences — gatherings that include tens of thousands of Christian youths — said that he went to 15 doctors to get checked out for everything imaginable.

Over time, Giglio improved and eventually came back to himself, but he now knows that he has "a thorn" that he must always keep at bay.

"I understand that at any day now, if I don't listen to God, I could end up in that place again," he said. "It's God's story of grace. It's not my story of strength."

He tells this story among many others in "The Comeback" in an effort to help readers who have faced uphill battles.

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 24:  Shelly Giglio and Louie Giglio attend The Georgia GRAMMY Nominee Reception at W Atlanta - Downtown on January 24, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. Credit: WireImage for NARAS Shelly Giglio and Louie Giglio attend The Georgia GRAMMY Nominee Reception at W Atlanta - Downtown on January 24, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (WireImage for NARAS)

During his interview with The Church Boys, Giglio also answered why he believes that, despite so much evidence, so many people still reject a belief in a higher power.

"The reason a lot of people don't believe is because we are not making our decisions in a vacuum. We are not just on Earth independently deciding what we believe," he said. "I believe that we're living in a spiritual battle climate."

Giglio continued, "People have to realize they're not making up their mind in a vacuum —  that they're being influenced by power. In the same way that God helped me believe, there's also an enemy trying to keep people from believing."

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