My Card Creations: Being Kinder to Myself by Lauren Marcus

I began making cards as an act of kindness towards other people, which is something I have always been intentional about throughout my life. Giving handmade cards to others is a way for me to share my creativity with those who I care about, while also sending the message that the receivers of my cards are important enough for me to truly want to put the time, effort, and thoughtfulness into anything I give to them. I introduced card-making to one of my dearest friends who has a disability and was looking for a meaningful and therapeutic activity to channel herself and her creativity into, without feeling stressed about the result. Card-making was the perfect option – it can be about the process and not the result; it is a forgiving form of art; it can be simple or complex or both; it can involve any and all forms of art; it is open-ended and allows freedom; versatility and thoughtfulness is the name of the game when it comes to card-making. We have made several cards together, some of which we have sold, and many of which we have given as gifts to friends and family. Hopefully when COVID is over we can participate in a local craft market.

More recently, I have been using card-making as a form of self-kindness, which has always been something that comes far less easily to me than kindness towards others. In general, over the past 1.5 years since I began working as an occupational therapist, I have put a huge amount of pressure on myself to develop my skills and knowledge, and to make a difference in the lives of my clients, sometimes at the expense of my own self-care and mental wellbeing. I am hard on myself when I feel that I can’t help someone in the ways that I want to and I sometimes allow my compassion fatigue to get the best of me, leaving me feeling burned out and discouraged. I also have had difficulties setting boundaries for myself – answering phone calls/emails from clients outside of “work hours”, spending far too much time on client-work/paperwork than I should be, and not being able to shut off the voice in my head telling me “you should be doing work right now rather than relaxing/socializing/sleeping/etc”. Far too often, that voice in my head wins, and I end up doing work-related stuff at all hours of the day, and on weekends. So my resolution? Card-making! It is relaxing, enjoyable, and allows me to become totally engrossed in the activity, such that I can shut off my mind from work stuff or other stress and just get into the flow of creation – often while listening to music, documentaries, or podcasts at the same time to add another level of “mindfulness” and focusing on the present activity. And the products that come out of my artistic/creative activities are always satisfying evidence that I AM progressing in my goal to practice more self-care, leisure, self-expression, and boundary-setting. I AM being kinder to myself and engaging in something that is whole-heartedly for me (and occasionally for others as well, which makes me even happier).

My time with you by Susan Nitkin

A celestial event, visible this night,

and I remember going sometimes to the park 

together peering at the sky to see, to try,

You are the reason we went to look.

I remember

not long ago a lifetime ago

you said about the piano, the way I play,

I didn’t know, how could I know?

I could be this for someone,

That such a thing is possible.

The tears blur my vision,

it was not enough time I cry out

But in between I see,

before I forget again, and yet again,

and then remember,

It is vast and expansive, my time with you.


If I sit down to write, which is hard to get myself to do, sometimes I can work it enough to distill an idea or a feeling or some memories into a few words from which I can derive meaning. Later on it helps me to read it. I think there is potential, in any form of art, to discover shades of meaning that might not be immediately apparent, or emotional content that otherwise would be too hard to directly look at. It has surprised me that crafting words has the capacity to affect me this way, because all my life playing piano has been the art form that has enabled me to find exquisite beauty even (and especially) in the saddest parts of the pieces I play.

Blessing for the Bereaved

May you feel my care even though I do not know you

For I would listen carefully if we should meet.

So speak into the wind

In words or without words, or by whatever means is your best way,

And know that your words and silent cries are being held and carried by the air currents, and are reaching another’s heart

Even if you cannot see whose heart it is.

May you search for loveliness and beauty even in the small things; in the rocks, the sand, in everything, especially in the places where you least expect to find it

Knowing that it will be there, when you dare to look.

May you be met with comfort from the presence and the gentle touch of your beloveds

And from the eyes of strangers.

May you receive solace from your memories.

Autumn 2020 by Sharon Gorberg

I have always found being in or drawing from nature to be a very healing experience. The beauty of the natural world always makes me feel hopeful. This is a page from a small book I created with the theme of autumn.

Hemlock Gorge by Joanna Marcus

This is a photo I took at a nature spot near my house called Hemlock Gorge. I find a lot of peace here. I started coming here after my brother died, and I come here often to listen to his favorite music, look at pictures  and videos of him, and just think about him. I find so much connection here, and I love taking photos when I am here.


Through creative experiences, we can express things that are hard to talk about. We can also share skills, knowledge and insights that others might not often recognize in us. My hope is to gather creative visual artwork, poetry, music, photography or ANY kind of art that reveals a story about one’s mental health journey, in the hope of destigmatizing mental health. What has your mental health journey inspired you to create? What pieces of art, poetry or music have helped or inspired you on your mental health journey? What would you like to create if you could? Could your art potentially help someone feel less lonely because they see something of themselves in your experience? These pieces of art can be your own creation or something you’ve found that has been meaningful to you! If you’d like to add an art post, follow this link: