Horror Writers Association

MHI: THE ART OF HEALING by Christina Sng


Trigger Warning: This piece addresses mental health

The HWA is pleased to launch its Mental Health Initiative, a coordinated roll-out of events, resources, and activities intended to promote positive mental health, foster the concept of hope, and challenge the stigma of mental illness in the horror genre. The initiative, run by the organization’s Wellness Committee, launches in June, and includes the following blog posts from Of Horror and Hope, a downloadable anthology of poems, flash fiction, and personal reflections on mental health by HWA members.



Christina Sng


I learned many truths
After the life I knew ended.

After my father died,
After those I loved lied.

A small flame lit up
And unmasked the truth.

Inside the glimmer of lies,
Through the fog of night.

My life was an illusion,
Built to control and imprison.


I learned that
Unconditional love

Should be real
And unflinching,

Once it exists, it is eternal,
Even after dying.

It’s a living flame
That burns forever,

Charging those who love
With new power.


I also learned
That evil is real,

Disguised as love,
Disguised as a soul mate,

Packaged in a pretty box
With a ribbon on top.

But if you open it,
It will throw acid in your face

Over and over
Till you stop feeling it.


We can only heal
When we are free of it,

Physically, emotionally,

When our brains
Revert to normality.

That’s when the grief sets in,
Over the long, wasted years

And the unwitting souls
Destroyed by this.


How do we heal?
How do we mend?

Be gentle with ourselves,
Treat us how we treated them.

Spoil ourselves.
We deserve it.

Be true to who we are.
Be patient. Be empathetic.

Look out for the red flags
And burn them.


Keep company with
Only those with integrity.

Cast away the cruel.
Keep only

The good, the kind,
And the true.

You cannot heal
With thorns

Cutting you.


So build a boundary wall
With tall electric fences.

When you see
Those warning flags

Closing the distance,
Turn on your fence

And remind yourself
“I am safe now,”

As your fence
Crackles and burns.

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