How do you know if you're dealing with the Devil?


Forgive me, this may be a weird question. That’s why I bounce it off my friends. That way they can tell me if I’m up in the night :smiley:

I feel very spiritually connected sometimes, meaning I am moved to pray and I’m very grounded in God. I can talk to friends about hard subjects and the Spirit speaks through me and says what they need to hear.

At other times, though, I feel very separated from God. I think I should pray about it, but there have been times when I could not physically command my hand to make the sign of the cross. I want to pray, but I don’t feel able to. I feel either afraid to pray or deeply ashamed. This is mainly during times of deep depression or anxiety. I feel like an evil force has me by the short & curlies and is keeping me from communicating with God.

Now, I have been medically diagnosed with depresson and anxiety and I take medication. Could this problem with prayer be part of my medical condition, or maybe due to my spiritual naivete (I am a recent revert who never really “got with the program” to begin with), or could the Devil really be wrestling for my soul? Is he mad that I have rejected the world and finally submitted to Christ? Am I just crazy? What should I do here?

Thanks in advance,


Hi MissMichal :slight_smile:

I’m regretful that you’re finding things difficult.
I do think that we need to check things out from a practical viewpoint before we give credence to the devil. Either the medication or mental issues could be at the root of this.
You ability to say what is remarkably helpful to your firends could be theat you have an underlying and sensitve intelligence, and when you feel weak, it may be that your depression is sabotaging you. I see the ennervating lethargy and inability to force himself to anything in my own husband. He’s very intelligent, but sabotaged by a strong will that has come back on itself. Sometimes he has to overcome massive inertia to force himself to do things that he intends and knows he should.

I do have a sense that you also are intelligent and that your brain can take charge of you in some ways you wish it didn’t.

When we feel depressed it can be difficult to make sense of communicating with God. And I think that most of us feel distant from God sometimes, and feel His silence.

This doesn’t rule out the possibility you suggest, but if so…God is stronger. There are two-thirds more good angels than there are bad, or devils!

I don’t know if any of this helps…

Warm regards, Trishie


Anxiety and Depression are mood disorders not demonic possessions. We don’t live in the ancient times, anymore. :o There are neurological reasons for these types of the things. :slight_smile:

Just relax and stay strong in darkening moments (figuratively speaking ;)).

Ironically Yours, Blade and Blood


I have a comment in this regard.

Sometimes, right when I’m praying the most, and feel I’m as “spiritual” as I can get…suddenly a “dryness”, a despair takes over.

I have never had depression, nor do I take medications…except for allergies sometimes :frowning:

Sometimes, the more I go to the Chapel, get involved in Church, pray earnestly, etc…the worse it gets.

There was a period of a few weeks last year, that I kept going to Confession with that issue…I always feel “healing” there, so when I feel “sick” I go to the Confessional…[the best therapy in the world!]

I felt a little better, but it was almost as if God had turned his Face away from me…and I was SO sad and my spirit felt “dry”… And, I couldn’t think of anything that I was doing particularly wrong to cause this.

I prayed even more! Even more Adoration Chapel, etc.
I figured, whatever it was, would leave :wink: with the extra doses!

Then, I noticed David felt that way in the Psalms. Job felt that way. Many others did too. It seems a “normal” cycle in our spiritual path…at some point, God turns away…refuses to look at us.

I’m no theologian, but my “inner” empirical wisdom on this is that it is part of God’s teaching for us. He sometimes embraces us when we don’t deserve it, sometimes turns away, when we don’t think we deserve it either.

The reason. I don’t really know. However, it makes sense to me to think that God doesn’t want us to rely on “feelings” on our spiritual journey.
He also wants us to “persevere” even when we don’t see progress.
In addition, He doesn’t want to train us in the “press the button” syndrome, we press a button, God immediately jumps to do as expected. [WE serve God; He doesn’t serve US].
Finally, He wants our full trust that we are in His hand even when we don’t feel it. Basically, I think it’s a lesson of TRUST. A hard one! I battle with it often.

I don’t know if this helps you or even if it applies to you…but when reading your post, it reminded me of when I felt that “dryness” that the Bible uses for spiritual despair…

God Bless!:slight_smile:


"do not fear, for I am with you,
do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand."
Isaiah 41:10

Do not be afraid, MissMichal,-we belong to Jesus, and He has said, He has already overcome this world, good always win.
Everything may be proved in some way or other; but when we do wrong our conscience tells us,'It is wrong, wrong!; and nothing can convince it to the contrary.


This is not a weird question. The truth is we are always dealing with the devil. Satan especially attacks those who live for Christ. A tactict that Satan uses is to prey on our weaknesses,i.e., your depression and anxiety. I believe that one reason that God allows him to attack us in this way is for us to surrender to God with these weaknesses and help us over come them. Sometimes it is clear that we are dealing with evil and other times he is not so visible. The spiritual realm parallels the physical realm. We are always entertaining angels.

Ask our Lord for discernment. Pray to St Michael and remain close to Jesus through the practice of the sacraments.

At other times, though, I feel very separated from God. I think I should pray about it, but there have been times when I could not physically command my hand to make the sign of the cross. I want to pray, but I don’t feel able to. I feel either afraid to pray or deeply ashamed. This is mainly during times of deep depression or anxiety. I feel like an evil force has me by the short & curlies and is keeping me from communicating with God.

Is their something in your past that you need to confess? Is there something that your currently engaging in that would/could open the door to Satan? Just a thought. If so, seek a priest.

My last thought is that God does not want us to focus or dwell on satan. However, we do need to know that evil does exist. God wants us to keep our eyes and attention on Him and He will make all for His glory.


This advice usually gets the “oh yeah, whatever” treatment.

Pray the Rosary everyday and never leave home without it. You may forget your wallett or your pants but don’t forget your Rosary. Have it blessed by a priest.

Confession monthly (at least). It is an inexhaustible source of renewable grace and keeps the evil one at bay.

Communion every week.

Wear and pray your sacramental. Whether that be a scapulary, St. Benedict Medal or Miraculous Medal. Have it blessed by a priest also.

Implement the use of Holy Water in your home.

Start with these basic Catholic things and do them really, really well.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum


Yes. Yes. Yes.


Agreed. I’ve heard it said that Christians don’t experience demonic possession, just demonic opression, sometimes causing anxiety and depression.


I agree with so many of the above posts. I would say the St. Michael prayer (EWTN’s website has it, if you need), go to Confession, receive the Eucharist, say the rosary, go to Adoration often, get Holy Water for home, and wear a blessed sacramental (MM, scapular, etc.). Then relax and know that He is stronger than the devil and remember what St. Teresa of Avila said and did when she woke in the night with the devil attacking her - “Oh, it’s just you”, and she turned over.

According to exorcists I’ve read and heard on Catholic radio, Confession and the Eucharist are all that’s really needed but, I’ve found that the other things make me (through Him) feel stronger. If you have problems with crossing yourself after all of this, I would assume it was my own head. You could also get advice from a nearby priest or a Catholic counselor


Not exactly what I meant, but close enough. :shrug:

Ironically Yours. :heart:


Most likely it’s medical but it could be a combination medical and spiritual attack. Anytime we are growing closer to God, we can get on the devil’s radar.

One resource you may find helpful is the St. Pio Center for Deliverance Counseling. There is some good information on the Help Page and in the Spiritual Warfare Prayer Catalog.


You may wish to ask your pastor if you may receive Anointing of the Sick for your condition.

God Bless You


The only thing that I can say is that when I was diagnosed with a clinical depression many years ago there were times I could not put one foot in front of another to walk, it took an extreme effort to do so. Other times I could not get up from the couch or chair I was sitting in. My psychiatrist termed this “psychomotor retardation”. I think it is a fairly common symptom in a clinical depression. It’s like you can’t make your body do what you want it to do at times, like there is some disconnect between the brain and the body. I don’t know the physiological reason for this, but after I was on my medication for a while, this symptom disappeared as the depression lifted. Before I would label this as an attack from Satan, I would discuss it with my doctor. It sound pretty similar to what I experienced, this not being able to command your body to do what you want it to do.


we need to go back to good ole catholic physcolgy!!!
back in the day they didn’t diagnose this stuff. they blamed it on satan, called the priest, dumped holy water everywhere, said a prayer, and wa-la! the person was better!!

thats what I suggest, but I find myself a bit tradditional. :smiley:


You all have great advice. I’m so glad I brought this up to you. I think just talking about it has made the situation better.

I think part of my problem was that I was taking natural spiritual “dryness” and catastrophizing it in my mind into demonic meddling. I can’t be on the mountaintop all the time. I will continue to reach out, even when God is silent. The writings of Blessed Mother Teresa are a great resource on this subject. I was especially worried about not being able to pray when I felt like it, but the psychomotor retardation seems right on the ball and I will bring this up at my next doctor appointment.

I am building more prayer time into my day, one week at a time. I printed off the St. Michael Chaplet and will be putting it to work. I wear a Sacred Heart medal and carry a single-decade rosary with me. I am very attached to both, but neither has been blessed. I will get that remedied. I have been attending mass every week and confession every two or three weeks as needed. I have never been to weekday Mass or Adoration, but some of my friends get a lot out of both and so I’m interested in trying them out.

The devil is still very much alive and at work in the world, but if I stay close to The One who will protect me, I have nothing to fear. Thanks again to everyone for your help.



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