June 2020 Poem: You’re Enough

You’re enough 
I know it’s tough

Plus very hard to believe 
Just try to achieve

That one thought, dream
I see you gleam 

Even with all the sorrow 
Piled as high as Mount Kilimanjaro 

Think formal 
Think you’re normal

Life is good
I knew you could

This is key
Because you're enough for me

The Mindful Joys of Writing

“A writer, I think, is someone who pays attention to the world.”

-Susan Sontag

I have found, through trial and error, that the healthiest diet for my mind involves both mindfulness and writing—often, both simultaneously. For me, writing by hand slows my mind, allowing me to see the loops and shapes of my thoughts spilling out onto the blankness of the page. This is one of the reasons I became an English teacher: to share a love of words, and the power they have to increase our happiness.

The power of both writing and mindfulness is that you have to pay attention. As you read this, can you notice the prickling sensations in your body? The murmurings bouncing around in your skull? The outside world of light and sound and sadness and joy? The more you notice, the richer the palette of your experience, and the range of colors you can paint with your words.

Anyone can become more mindful, or a more effective writer, simply by paying closer attention to the granular details of the world: the slightest shudder in a friends’ facial expression, the dazzling blue tail of a bird flitting overhead, the mathematically distributed roots of a new-growing weed. In these specific details, strong sentences are born. In these specific details, too, we can lose ourselves and feel a sense of unity.

Many wonderful authors have found both their inspiration and their sense of inner peace while paying close attention to the natural world. (One of my favorite poems, called “The Peace of Wild Things,” by Wendell Berry captures precisely this feeling of satisfaction and calm through specific, carefully observed details.)

Some advice I wish I’d been given, but that I give now to anyone who will listen, is this: Whether keeping a journal, or jotting thoughts down on your phone I encourage everyone to put aside some time each day to observe and describe, in real-time, your surroundings. Record what happens around you. Your experience is yours alone to be noticed. Perhaps, in those moments of observation, you’ll find you can stop time. Perhaps, in that space, your next idea will be born, and take on a life of its own.

-Ms. Cassani Davis

May 2020 Poem: A Collection of Poems About a Child in the Holocaust

KILLED
Destroyed unseen Chaos
Taken away from Father
Slipping Silently

SHAKEN NEWBORN
Confused Young Pale
I obeyed Cruel Broken Fists
True in Memory

ALARMED TERRIFIED
Approaching the Dark
Lost Shuddering in Mid-Night
Collapsed protection

FINISHED JOURNEY
Nervous Situation
Startled Failed Feeling a Longing
Weakened Citizen

QUIET CRIES
Locked within Annex
In Dangerous Violence
No crying released

Poem About Depression: Sometimes

Sometimes

Sometimes, sadness is all that lies within
Sometimes, you can even forget how to grin
Sometimes, darkness encircles you and comes up from the depths of your mind
Sometimes, you feel emptiness is all you can find
Inside
With no way out no matter how hard you’ve tried

Sometimes, you’re lost within the void of your mind
Sometimes, fog rolls in and block out your guiding light
Sometimes, depression will cause an internal fight
Sometimes, when you feel isolated you will push others away
Self hatred will spring to life as regrets make you feel grey
Leaving you lonely with the pain that lies within

Not quite, the prior line’s is full of lies so still there is a silver lining
What, a beam of light through the fog, and brightly it is shining
Because, no matter how isolated you feel
You feel
You’re not truly alone and I assure that fact is real

Will they always understand it, no
Will they always notice your pain, no
But are the not caring about you, no
For they do try their best
They care more than you guessed
And while they can’t always grasp it
Or notice it
Their ears will listen to every bit

Sometimes, weakened from the emptiness in her head
Sometimes, you can’t find strength to get out of bed
Sometimes, you have thoughts of what if you were dead
Or sometimes will already feel dead within due to all of the dread

Sometimes, in depression you give other the impression that you’re okay
Sometimes, you wonder how many more times can you make it through the day
Sometimes, you feel dissociated from your life
Leaving you alone with all your pain, and your strife

Again, a fabrication found within the prior line
Confused, how is that are my hands still even mine
Well yes, but observation of situations leaves those statements in their tracks
Because your perception can cause deception unless you step back to see the cracks
And let the connection be rekindled to lessen you being insomniacs

Through the cracks you spy the lie and no you are not alone
Beams of light
Bleed through these cracks in sight
And give you the might
To let others in

Sometimes, thing cross your mind that fill you with fear
Sometimes, a thought flashes of you treading through the veil most don’t want to near
But know
Sometimes, things may get rather dire
Sometimes, wanting to snuff out that once mighty fire
Heed my words, hold them close, don’t let them be forgotten
People are there for you even if you don’t want them to
Even when you try to push them away

Written, as an anthem to the isolated
To bring you the light of not being alone is why this was created
If you still feel alone, you just need to know I wrote this because I care
Whether a stranger or intimate knowing, I will still be there
Writing this was hard, it shows some of my fears of where I might be going
But when I hit a block I just kept on flowing
Life is a challenge as we all know and sometimes we will feel defeated
So I wrote this here
To hopefully lessen the fear
And help let the light back in

After all
Sometimes, all we need is to know is we are not all alone with all the pain that lies within

What is Positive Psychology?

In recent years, people worldwide have been using terminology such as “positive psychology” much more frequently. But what really constitutes this esoteric field? Positive psychology is defined as the study of the “good life”, or, the positive aspects of what makes a human life worth living. It is centered around biopsychosocial factors that contribute to happiness and success of an individual or a community. Positive psychology celebrates strengths rather than denouncing weaknesses, and it has been gaining traction in recent years due to its positive outlook on the field of mental health as a whole.

The main topics positive psychology aims to cover are character strengths, optimism, self-confidence, gratitude, and more. It empowers individuals and communities to alter their perspectives on the influence of certain things, such as money, on happiness, overall allowing people to recognize what they truly value in life. This is really crucial, especially in a time of crisis like the one we are currently in. Oftentimes people don’t take enough time to get to know themselves in and out, but by using practices in positive psychology this is much more easily achievable. Actually understanding what makes you happy can be extraordinarily beneficial—you can use this information to your advantage and specifically incorporate activities and experiences that make you happy into your daily life! 

Keeping a daily gratitude journal, giving yourself compliments on a regular basis, and helping others are all prime examples of how to infuse positive psychology into your life. University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin E.P. Seligman, a major proponent of this new avenue of mental health, describes the practice of positive psychology as aiming to “build what’s strong”, rather than to “fix what’s wrong”. Mental health and therapy mostly focuses on attacking issues, but it is much rarer that it is centered around highlighting positivity and optimism unrelated to preexisting problems. Instead of perseverating on the negative facets of life, by utilizing positive psychology you can give your overall mental health a lasting boost. In a world ravaged by bad news and stress, taking some time for yourself can make a remarkable impact on both your emotions and those of everyone around you.

Welcome to Our Blog

This blog is a space where we can add new content over time. Whether about research being done on new drugs to treat depression and anxiety, mindfulness and meditation, or any other related topic, there is always something new to talk about in the mental health world.