In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Helpless.”


I saw her yesterday
a few paces away
sitting on a bench, back straight,
chin up, eyes staring towards hell

in twenty-nine years
since unhappily slipping from
the dark safety of my womb,
she had never looked so lost
and yet it was as if I
had been expecting that look
since time had begun

knowing that my intervention may
trigger a dangerous reaction, I
crushed my desire to swoop my child
into my arms.
I stood back and watched.

the man by her side
spoke soft words of comfort as
re-assuringly he caressed
the small of her back

her unchanging demeanor
told me she was all alone at
the bottom of the deepest well
all she could hear was the hollow
echo of his voice, as it bounced,
downward, against cold stone walls

I walked away unobserved
fear heavy within me
blood trailing from my heart

©Jane Paterson Basil

33 thoughts on “The deepest well

    1. I wouldn’t have been brave enough to write about it if I hadn’t checked out the daily prompt. It’s not easy to admit that I had to walk away from my own child when she was so depressed, but I knew that I had to. I live in hope that things will improve. No matter how horrible it is, the fact that she’s depressed, rather than insane from injecting legal highs is a good sign.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I wish it was… However, my daughter is currently living with her dad, and I rang him last night to find out how she was, and he said she’s doing well. Maybe what I saw was a fleeting moment. If she’s on the brink of recovery she’ll have these moments. If she gets clean they’ll get worse. It has to be that way, and I know lots of people who’ve got through it.


            1. She’s 29. It makes me sad to think of the years she’s missed out on. She has always had a lot of issues, and has Atypical Autism. she’s also been diagnosed with Rapid Cycling Mood Disorder, but I think it’s a mis-diagnosis. I believe she has Borderline Personality Disorder. She can’t be re-assessed while she’s using heroin, but I find it incredible that this possiblity was missed. She has always shown clear signs of it.

              Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s hard, yes, but Judy’s right. You DO have a good sense of what’s best for her. Is it going to be spot on all the time? Maybe not, maybe so. You just have to trust your instincts and God or the Universe or whatever is your brand of spirituality and take the next best step you can. And in the meantime, turn your fears and hopes and dreams for her into words as signposts on this journey. Don’t look back, don’t regret, forge on! We’re all here to listen and hold your hand when you get scared.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. You’re absolutely right. Hope scares the bejeebers out of me at times. It’s because I don’t know what I’d do if I got what I wanted. Do the post. Maybe I’ll get brave enough to do one afterward.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to look beyond the moment, and see the hope that this brings. She’s fought her feelings with anger and insanity. Now she seems to have put down her weapons. Painful as it is, it is a good sign. There’s a chance that she may find the beauty which is hidden inside her.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I don’t know, probably another addict, but he looked as if he was being supportive. Nobody but addicts will go near Laura, and most of them have been avoiding her in recent months. That’s how bad she’s been.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for those kind words. Our relationship has never been easy – I who was in a cycle of abuse, so I’d chosen an abusive partner – her dad. He manipulated the relationship between Laura and I, so I had little positive input. I did my best once I was away from him, but the damage had been done. A lot of secrets were kept from me when she was a child, but I knew she had issues, and I tried to get help for her, but I had no support. Now her dad is just an old man with many regrets. My older children (his step-daughters, who were also abused by him) have helped me to forgive him. He too, was terribly abused as a child. Some abused children become abused adults, while others – usually women, though not always – become their victims.
      If Laura (and Paul) pulls through this none of the past will matter.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Those with Borderline are often misdiagnosed with bipolar. I have BPD and have gone to several doctors, all of which tried to give me the bipolar diagnosis. It is unfortunate that we cannot get proper treatment because doctors want to make their own job easier. I did a post on it “OHM 6-Living On the Edge” if you are interested in reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for pointing me towards that post, and congratulations on it. It’s so open – and well written.
      I didn’t realise you wrote so much poetry. For some reason I got you mixed up with someone else, and kept missing your posts. I’ll check on more of your work when it’s not 4.30 am!
      I’m off to bed.


      1. LoL yeah, unfortunately my poetic side usually comes out when I’m drunk or depressed or both. It’s like the walls I put up crumble letting everything out effortlessly.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Depression can weave magic on a page. When I feel calm I often write in rhyme, and my poems tend to be less real. Slam is the exception to the rule. I write it when I’m really angry or freaked out. In spite of the the rhymes and alliteration it comes out raw and natural.


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