Despite the emotional high of winning American Idol in 2008, David Cook hit a low in the years following his victory when he began to struggle with intense anxiety. Now, the singer-songwriter is addressing his apprehension head-on with the release of his latest single, “Reds Turn Blue.”
“A couple years after Idol, I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, and have spent the last almost decade really going through the process of navigating that and picking up new tools and processes along the way to deal with it,” Cook, 37, tells PEOPLE of the backstory to the song.
“I wanted to write a song touching on it for a while, and had never really just found the right voice for it,” Cook says, explaining that “Reds Turn Blue” first started coming together last year.
The song is “kind of a letter from my anxiety to me,” Cook says, explaining that his anxiety “makes me feel like the adverse is coming around the corner” and gives him an “always looking over my shoulder vibe about things.”
“This song became a therapeutic process for me, as a way to personify my anxiety and make it something other than me — which in an odd way has helped me navigate my relationship with it,” Cook tells PEOPLE.