And softly go the crossings
Beauty plays with darkness
Love in one embrace
Dancing out into the light
Scent of a different hue
And gazing on a face unchanged
The world keeps up its bliss
— Prologue to And Softly Go the Crossings
The crossing into mental health struggle is a silent one.
Humans have, since time immemorial, been at the mercy of whatever derives its power from being unheard, unseen. This is as true now as it was a century ago. Be it mental illness or Covid-19, we are often helpless against that which we cannot see.
The poem above from my short story collection, And Softly Go the Crossings, reinforces what I have been trying to convey through my memoir The Sound of SCH—that we must be aware of the unseen changes which sometimes besiege us; we must pay heed to the silent crossings of the human heart and mind.
The pandemic has led us to a terrain of fear and mental stress. We have to be aware of such inner terrain and reach out for help, without shame, if we think we have crossed over into darker domains. It is the best thing we can do for our families and our loved ones. We must try not to let mental illness, an unseen enemy, destroy our lives.
The human heart and mind can be both destructive and creative, with potential for both evil and good, darkness and beauty. Crossings are often painful. Yet while they carry pain with them, they also push towards hope on the other side.
Life is reverberative—the ‘what is’ is not static. My beliefs and actions can push the boundaries of ‘what is’ a little towards ‘what can be’. If we want a better world, each of us must create a better world ourselves, by our own beliefs and actions, no matter how small.
We must hope, and we have to work hard towards creating that hope. Many have recovered from mental illness and lead meaningful lives. Recovery is possible, especially with early treatment, support from loved ones and the community. Family members need understanding from the community; caregivers should also be able to reach out for support without shame. If the community can treat those with mental illness and their families with respect, with as much acceptance as possible, this would go a long way in their road to recovery.
Let us push towards hope, step by step; let us keep up the fight in this battle of unseen will against unseen enemy.
Author of The Sound of SCH, Trafalgar Sunrise & And Softly Go the Crossings
(From May 22, 2021)