How a David Bowie Journal Helped Me Cope With Anxiety and Depression


On Christmas morning 2016, I opened one of my gifts and revealed the David Bowie journal I had been coveting. A simple black cover with white text proclaimed a famous Bowie quote: “I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” Originally, I had thought it was just a cool item to pay homage to one of my favorite musicians. Little did I know that journal would become instrumental in helping me through a low period.

I’ve never been a consistent journaler, so I worried about figuring out how best to use it. Could I use it to gather various lists? Scribble meeting notes? It wasn’t until I went back to that quote standing defiantly on the cover that I realized what I needed that journal for. It would be a journal to document transitions and stepping into the unknown. I already knew at that point that I would be resigning from my job in a few months, and possibly leaving my profession altogether. With that knowledge came a flood of emotions: excitement, fear, doubt, certainty, pride, relief. Like Bowie said, I had no idea where I was going next, but the roller coaster of emotions was anything but boring.

I decided to make that simple notebook my inspiration journal. I would fill it with pictures, quotes, passages, stickers, lists, gratitude and ideas — anything that spoke to me and helped me remain courageous in the face of such a big change. I would write in it as much or as little as I needed. With no rigid journaling protocol to adhere to, I excitedly illustrated the first page with my word of the year: peace. I filled the next few pages with new strategies and big ideas that I was trying out as a way to shift my mindset. Everything was coming together. Then, a particularly difficult bout with anxiety and depression hit.

I turned to that journal and began using the pages to write through the millions of self-defeating thoughts that consumed my mind on a daily basis. I immediately found great comfort in the process. It was as if the swirling tornado inside my head finally had a place to go instead of getting stuck and wreaking havoc. What was most (pleasantly) surprising, though, was the fact that I always came back to an entry later in the day to add a positive ending. This wasn’t something I had intentionally set out to do. But through releasing my thoughts on paper, I became free to take in the positive things all around me. It only made sense to record the shift that I experienced each day — a reminder that the lows were not permanent.

My inspiration journal was the space I created for myself to release the things that were weighing me down. And the more I used it to work through the low times, the less I started to need it. Now it serves as a collection and reminder of the ways I empowered myself to overcome.

I wish I could say that the work is over, but I know that is not the case. It never really ends. But now I have a place to go. Inside the pages of my journal, I can work through the highs and lows of every challenge and change I face. And I often find myself going back to that quote on the cover and thinking of the pioneering musician who carved out his own unique path. What an empowering reminder that I have a chance to do the same on every blank page.

This article was previously published on Besomebody.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via Tinatin1


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Depression

woman and man embracing and comforting at viewing point in nature

What to Say and What Not to Say to Help Your Loved One With a Mental Illness

I’ve come to realize my honesty seems to provide comfort to people who may be living with mental illness and its associated complications. Up to this point, however, I haven’t fully engaged with a group of people who are so essential to the recovery and wellness of people who are mentally ill: the loved ones [...]
young woman lying in bush with small red leaves wearing red sweater

These Are the 'Perks' of My Depression

Generally speaking, mental illness is not something people are thrilled to identify with or experience. I can’t say I’m often jazzed about chronic fatigue, self-doubt and the emotional imbalance that accompany my illness. Things I could live without, am I right? However, a life without depression would not be life as I know it. Despite [...]
young woman lying on bed writing in notebook

Can Writing Down 3 Things You Did Well Help With Depression?

You know what’s a pain in the ass? When you’re depressed, believe something could help you feel better, but don’t have the energy to do it. It’s… well, depressing. When I was in treatment, I picked up the habit of doing a nightly inventory. The spiritual director of the treatment center suggested it. He said [...]
two women sad in hallway

When Your Best Friend Has Depression Too

Depression is a monster that tries to eat me alive. It will tell me I’m alone and that nobody cares about me. Depression will tell me I’m a burden and that reaching out for help will be a waste of everyone’s time. Two of the biggest lies depression will tell me is that I am “crazy” and the only [...]