The Low-Down.


Oh Gloria, you’re glorious
your face is quite adorious,
but it must be most laborious,
to paint it up just foree us.

Please bear with me – I have a point to make…

I’ve been reading my old posts, with a view to deleting some. It’s a time consuming task, since I keep going to the posts, and reading the comments below. I’ve come to the conclusion that, with the exception of three or four which I shouldn’t have posted, I’m going to leave them be, since they are a part of my story.

What comes across more than anything, as I read, is how traumatised I was, up until this year. My honesty was less a virtue than a response to stress and grief. My life has changed dramatically since then. For some years my addicted son and daughter gave me little cause to hope that they would survive for much longer – let alone go into recovery – and whenever hope presented itself, its visit was brief, leaving me more devastated than before.

I had to take tough action, so I pretty much cut myself off from them. It was recommended by my support group, my family and my friends, and I knew it was the right thing to do. It’s called ‘release with love’, but it didn’t feel like love, and apart from the freedom from daily crises, I didn’t feel particularly released. Although I knew that my abandonment might give them an opening into recovery, I suffered a terrible sense of guilt. I feared that they might give up on life, thinking I didn’t love them, that they may genuinely need me, that they may die because I wasn’t there to resuscitate them. At times I missed them terribly, while at other times I was furious with them. A combination of superstition and shame prevented me from speaking of these things, even at my support group.

My refusal to engage with their addictions was part of a series of good and bad events which occurred in a serendipitous order, and resulted in them both going into recovery. So in the last six months, my life has changed dramatically. I wouldn’t go so far to say that I am now well – every time I make that claim a physical or psychological crisis follows – but I’m often happy. It feels as if I have had a reprieve. However, I am all too aware that this reprieve could be taken away, since recovery is a precarious condition. I celebrate the strides my children are are taking, but these celebrations are sandwiched between panic attacks and debilitating hours of both horror and depression.

If you speak to any realist in my position, I think they would agree that, although there is less cause for trauma, anxiety levels can increase, or rather change shape, when someone they love goes into recovery. Hopes are raised, the stakes become higher, and we often find ourselves in a state of shock. It’s a strange twist that is all to familiar to many of us.

I am recovering, but life contains a series of falls and recovery; it carries us along particular routes, and we are shaped by our experiences along the way. I am not the person I may have been in different circumstances; I cannot guess who that person would have been. Come to that, I can’t know how any other circumstances may have shaped up. As my eldest daughter said to me a year or two ago, when my life was atrocious: it could be that what we have now is the best possible result of our lives so far.

Since my children went into recovery, I have found it increasingly difficult to write. When I manage to write, I often don’t finish what I have started, or if I do, I don’t like it enough to post it, and this brings me to Gloria. I wrote the ridiculous rhyme about Gloria in response to yesterday’s word prompt. When it was inside my head, it seemed funny – albeit inane – but typed out I could see that it wasn’t. It’s a perfect illustration of my current state of mind, and the reason I’m not posting much.

Today’s word is ‘tentative‘, which is appropriate, since I feel a tentative pride in having managed to compose this, and I will post it, even though a large part of me doesn’t want to. It has taken me hours of tentative writing to finish this post and when I press ‘publish’, I will do so tentatively. This is a tentative step towards getting back into a proper blogging routine, and overcoming my recently acquired, literary shyness.

Press publish, Jane…

Press publish…


PS. I forgot to add today’s word for peace, dedicated to Raili, who kindly supplied it. Maybe you can engineer an opportunity to use this word in the next twenty-four hours.

Words For Peace #2


©Jane Paterson Basil

33 thoughts on “The Low-Down.

  1. A very close friend of mine, started using last year again. I fear he will not reach the end of this year. It’s very difficult to see that after all your efforts someone is using again after 8 years or so. It’s really a nightmare for me. But most of all it’s the tragic to see a sensitive soul losing grip on life, slowly.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Over the time i have experienced it is far more difficult to be patient and happy while our dear ones are in pain. Its just not an easy task to feel helpless. Its relatively easy to overcome our own sufferings.
    God bless you and your family.
    May god shower their blessings on everyone!
    Be happy always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I noticed last night that you hadn’t published since the Pete Seeger post.
      We call it writer’s block, as if it’s exclusive to writers, but few are immune to it.
      Here’s hoping you get found soon, and none the worse for wear.


  3. Thanks Jane for your comprehensive The Low-Down, and I’m a bit lost for words. All I know is that it’s awfully traumatic to watch your loved ones suffer, and I understand your anxieties, and that terrible feeling of utter helplessness. I know everyone’s circumstances are different, and one day I might be able to tell my story without completely breaking down… However you’re a very brave woman and a magnificent mother, I sincerely wish you all the best for the future, for you and your family….. Keep writing, I know it helps, even if you only write to yourself, for yourself, so very important to look after “self”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Ivor. I can feel the sensitivity behind them.
      I never let myself forget that I am one of millions who suffer on a daily basis, and I’m in a fortunate position, but a tornado always leaves wreckage in its wake.
      I wish I felt like a magnificent mother. I have four children. My older two are in their thirties. When things were at their worst, they saw me clinging on by a thread, and for my part, I saw that one of them needed me, but there wasn’t enough of me to go round. That’s my greatest regret.
      I hope you find the strength to write your story. Breaking down is painful, but it’s OK; opening up the wounds is painful, but they will eventually heal better for it – or at least, that’s what I’ve found. It feels safer and often less humiliating – to shut our grief away, but if we do that it may grow and change into some other kind of monster – a physical illness, or a mental disorder.
      Be well. You are a valuable person.


  4. Jane, your post was so concise and riveting as you took us along on your journey. I can only imagine the positive responses you’d get if you read that to your support group. It was so honest and not sugar-coated. I know you struggle to believe it, but you are such a gifted writer!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Calen. Your encouragement is like food to me, and much more easy to digest – but lets not digress into that sore subject 🙂
      I’m so grateful for your advice. That’s a great idea. When I go to the support group I babble. I say none of the things I mean to say, and nothing makes sense. I hear it myself, and feel humiliated. I’m going to take your advice.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. We only meet once a month, and my sister and I are visiting my brother in Spain next month, but I’ll try it in November. As for being a leader, it’s possible I have the mind of one, and I can write speeches, but even when I read out loud I slur, mispronounce, skip words and stammer. Sometimes I lead the group meetings, and I’m humiliated by my shortcomings. I’ve tried to overcome them, as I’d like to be able to read my poems to an audience, but I can’t even read them properly when I’m alone. This is the curse of the Basils – we all have skills, but one disability or another prevents us from making the most of them.

          Liked by 2 people

  5. The introductory poem is so pleasantly playful! I’ve been thinking about deleting some of my weird old posts too, but as you say, they are part of the story. And it would be disrespectful to delete the comments that go with the posts (at least to me it feels like this).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t want to lose my comments, either, but I was in a bad way a couple of years ago, and I wrote a few things which could have hurt those I love. I’ll keep them, but they’ll become private.


      1. I see! I’m sorry, my comment probably came across as insensitive and arrogant; I didn’t make it clear that I was talking about my situation, yours is entirely different. So, sure, making posts that could be hurtful private makes perfect sense. Some of my old posts are just stupid or express opinions I no longer hold, but hopefully aren’t harmful.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You didn’t sound either insensitive or arrogant… some of my posts look stupid now. They were amongst those that I was going to scrap, but decided not to, and reading through the comments it appears that they were enjoyed, for whatever reason 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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