Journaling helped me find my way through depression. Here’s what I learned.
The story I’m about to tell is something I never saw coming.
Some years ago, I was suffering from some pretty serious depression. I won’t lie — those were some dark days.
One of the ways I helped myself through it was by writing. Day after day, I pulled out my journal and I wrote. I wrote and wrote and wrote. Amongst everything I wrote were some poems.
I’m not sure where they came from, exactly. They just showed up. And they possessed a kindness, and a steadfast belief in myself that I didn’t even know I had.
They were like a tiny little voice inside — one that said, ‘you have what it takes, and it’s all going to be okay.’
That voice may have spoken from deep, deep down. But now it was on paper, and I somehow believed it. These tiny little poems became like mantras for me. They helped me feel better and keep going.
Eventually, the depression subsided and life got better, way better. I put the notebook in a drawer and forgot about it.
Years later, I was doing some spring cleaning and thought it was time to clean out that drawer filled with old papers and books. I almost didn’t look; I was afraid of how it might feel to see things from that chapter of my life.
But I did look. And when I saw the poems again, all that kindness came rushing back. I felt their compassion, and their courage. I loved the poems, and I really believed that other people would love them too.
So I decided to make a book out of them. I compiled my favourite poems, along with some journaling prompts, and worked with a designer to wrap it all up in a beautifully illustrated little package.
Here’s the crazy part: I truly never expected this to happen. I had no idea when I was originally writing these poems that I’d be sharing them with you today. It would have seemed impossible, or absurd. Or, quite frankly, too good to be true.
And yet, here we are.
So here’s what I learned:
It’s worth it to write, even if you don’t know where your writing is going.
If you let it, the blank page offers you an opportunity. To explore new sides of yourself, rewrite old stories, and discover new endings to even the most challenging chapters of your life.
Maybe you’ll tuck that writing in a drawer and it will stay there for life. And maybe it won’t.
Maybe it will feed you, fuel you, nudge you to keep going.
Maybe it will become something more… something you can share with others, something that will help or inspire, something you didn’t see coming.
Wherever it takes you, it’s worth it to start.
I also learned this:
You can write the story of your own life.
The things I wrote in my journal back then weren’t just words. They represented something inside me — something beautiful, and powerful that I didn’t even know I had. Writing those poems helped me create a vision for my life and who I could become. They helped me find my own courage and compassion. I still read them again, now in book form, because every day I work a little bit more on bringing that vision to life.
I could have stayed where I was — in the darkness and ickiness, the tar-like sludge of depression. But I believed, deep down, that there was something better out there.
That’s the power of writing your own story.
That’s also why I made this book, and why I included journaling prompts in it. So not only can you read these simple little poems time and time again, you can explore your own thoughts, feelings and stories as you go.
On that note, here’s a sneak peek into the book, featuring one of my favourite poems: