Category Archives: depression

Throw me the meds

Sometimes I get tired of it;
the constant turn of the tide,
its lows and its highs,
its sudden rages
and deceptive calm
while it lies in wait to drown me.

I get tired of measuring all of my blessings and telling myself that I should be well, when each time I pile them onto the scales, the state of – the weight of – my depressed mind tips them upwards and sends them flying, and it makes no difference counting my blessings and knowing the number of gems in my pocket;
that chunk of depression still weighs me down.

I’m tired of the times when I try to pretend
that I’m cheerful instead of depressed.
I’m tired of walking and talking and sleeping,
I’m tired of writing and cooking and eating,
I’m tired of going to self-help meetings,
I’m even tired of self-pitying bleating
I’m tired of staring out of the window
with half-blind, indifferent eyes,
I’m tired of constantly carrying out actions
needed to keep me alive,
and even when I’m feeling ecstatic,
I’m tired and I’m waiting to die.

So throw me the meds; I’m not dead yet,
and you might like to see how crazy I’ll get.

Take me to the ocean and watch me drown;
I’ll offer apologies as I go down.

©Jane Paterson Basil



It’s often when the world seems kind, the foe leaps in to steal your mind
of all the hope you’d held intact, and horror robs your brain of fact.
Rotating blades within the gut increase their stretch, til faith is cut.

It aches so much you can’t conceal the pain.
It cuts so deep you can’t conceal the pain.

The steel has reached your pounding heart, and sorrow’s played its bitter part.
Beneath your feet, the faithless floor tips and sways, while you implore
kind entities to feed your soul, yet screaming silence steals your goal…

and echoes that, this day, you’ve gone insane,
and you believe, this day, you’ve gone insane.

Hell’s bells then toll to tell the world the thread of life has been unfurled,
and Satan’s servants draw their claws, as teeth glint green in gnashing jaws.
You smell the sulphur, feel the pulse, as with a shudder, you convulse.

You tell yourself that you can take the strain,
You chant the mantra “I can take the strain.”

The Devil’s terror bends your bones, and you collapse, as he postpones
your future, by the coal-black joke of wrapping round you like a yoke.
Now panic rises; he erases all remaining hope-filled places.

Though bound and blind, you need to break the chain,
to live through this, you need to break the chain.

With drumsticks banging at your heart, with churning stomach ripped apart,
as arid lungs choke ragged breath, you sink towards ignoble death —
’til courage rising from the mire, brings you a hint of lifespring’s fire.

So thus you learn that you will rise again,
and now you know that you will rise again.

©Jane Paterson Basil



Sometimes when brightest day appears like darkest night,
and though you try, you can’t perceive the brightness of the light;
when rain paints window panes, yet fields and streets are dry,
and grief conceals the kindly shine in every eye,
you may smile to hide the brackish corners of your mind
but truth is there, that all who care for you may find.

Yet still you smile ’til you believe your cheer is real,
in self-deceit your mind will cheat, and not reveal
the hurt you hide behind the thick facade,
as laughing, you wrap blankets round each glassy shard.
And so, from day to day you live your life this way,
to flee the debt of pain you fear you cannot pay.

Your head feels heavy when you wake and rise from bed,
and as you dress, your arms and legs feel numb and dead,
yet still, you laugh as if your heart was light as air,
as if your life was bright with ne’er a care,
and still the ache lies hidden somewhere deep within,
in some secret, unseen place beneath the skin.

Then suddenly, a friend unseen may intuit the key,
and in creative act of generosity,
unlock the door that frees warm healing tears,
releasing all the memories of hurt and fears.
And so you weep, in gratitude and pain,
until it all escapes, and you are real again.

And thus, by meditation’s gentle act,
You flee from fantasy, and turn to fact.
You balance all the good and bad, and weigh it up
in honesty, and find the liquid in your cup
is mixed, ‘twixt sweet relief and  bitter pall;
with seasoned palate, you can sup it all.

No need to hide from daily pain and rising strife –
The beauty of the gifts you’ve gained, sustains your life.


I haven’t been deeply depressed, as this poem suggests, but I have been submerging emotion. My rhyme was inspired by the thoughtful act of my intuitive FanStory friend, Judester, who yesterday published  a post which  took me for a virtual walk around her estate. The beauty of the surroundings made my spine tingle. I felt as if I was walking through a forest, and it was my home. Everything was designed and built in the way I would have wished, using recycled and freely aquired materials.  When I read the note beneath her post it said “I dedicate this story to Sanejane. Just a happy little story“. Sanejane is my FanStory name, and to me it was far more than just a little story; it was deep meditation.  On reading the dedication, I wept, at last setting free all the unshed tears for the attack on my daughter.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Dying to let go

the child still lives in her mind,
the child that she was, who got left behind.
the idealised scene displays multiple shades of green,
with buttercup highlights: pale blue sky, not a dead leaf in sight –
and she in primrose dress, though she remembers she always wore jeans,
cartwheeling across the field, racing to the stream, leaping,
living life, not knowing it wasn’t for keeping.

she breathes the cycle of the days
from wracking pain to morphine haze
and all the moments in between
inside her brain, by all unseen.

she regrets all her wasted years
her fears, the cowardice, the helpless tears
when she learned that adult decisions could be too difficult
to do more than contemplate, that she was incapable of being brave,
and shame hits her in waves, guilt for the children she didn’t save
failing to walk with them, though the door and far away.
it haunts her, and she will take it to the grave.

she breathes the cycle of the days
from wracking pain to morphine haze
and all the moments in between
inside her brain, by all unseen.

from wake of day to wake of day
to wake of day again, she sleeps, she wakes,
and in those breaks between the pain, she aches
to change the past, to break the chain, to take back time
to childhood days, to be the way she should have been,
could have been, if they had been, if she had been –
then morphine dreams replace the ache,
and heaven seems to take their place
she sinks into their wam embrace,
she sleeps, she wakes,
she thinks again
she feels the pain
then sleeps

she breathes the cycle of the days
from wracking pain to morphine haze
and all the moments in between
inside her brain, by all unseen.

and when her children shed a tear she smiles her smile from ear to ear,
and says don’t fret, I’ll soon be gone and you’ll be better on your own,
while to her siblings all she’ll say is I’ll be off, I’m on my way.
I’d follow you but you’re too slow, I couldn’t wait for you to go.
I’m off to find a sunny place where I may never lose a race.

she breathes the cycle of the days
from wracking pain to morphine haze
and all the moments in between
inside her brain, by all unseen.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Only dreaming

your dream
plump and rosy
atop the threatening void
and you long to
keep it, to be
touched by it, to be
saved by it
so you
strain to give it
a waking life and
this time
it slides out
in one piece
but it is
less fleshy
more messy than
you expected
it is, after all
not the baby
only the afterbirth

©Jane Paterson Basil

The question

she’d like to ask the question
not for empathy,
for pity’s sake or sympathy

she’d like to ask the question
not so that you will run to her side
with a cup of kind advice

she’d like to ask the question
trusting that her friends would never
make it a competition of ills

she’d like to ask the question
to feel her tongue exploring
its taste, the shape of it

she’d like to ask the question
“do I truly want to die?”
in the hope that her brain
will give an honest reply
but instead, she stares in silence
and waits for the hurt to go by

©Jane Paterson Basil

The fall of the Amazon

I used to run
while my contemporaries looked on
stunned by my energy

I climbed trees
urging earth-bound children to follow
but they stared and said no

I made long lists
completing each task and ticking it off
before the allotted time

no task was too great
too unfamiliar or too complicated
for my determined hands

neighbours gasped to see
the amount I could achieve in a day
let alone a week

I was an amazon
but bit by bit life chipped my strength away
and now it’s gone

©Jane Paterson Basil

The final cure

She watched the smoke rise, aimlessly observing that today it looked more blue than grey; and trying to figure out exactly what trick of light caused it to sometimes appear more grey than blue.

But this was not an important consideration. In the depth of her belly the longing, the hope, was always present. She stared at the narrow, hand-rolled stick, at the wisps rising from the ember in twirling lines, dispersing into the atmosphere, and she thought of all those death-giving chemicals disappearing into thin air. She took a hungry suck at the spit-dampened tip, and another, felt the poison sink deep within her. She would not let the smoke be eaten up by the ether. The cigarette burnt down to the end. She extinguished it into the overflowing ashtray, and rolled another thick one.

All troubles receded into the background in the face of her resolve. Ignoring the nausea, she focused on her lungs, on disease, on death. Cancer, a final cure for all of her ills. She put her faith in it.

If it worked, her children would grieve, recounting the times they had begged her to stop smoking before it killed her. Mercifully, they would never know that they had given her the idea.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Open emotion


be gone, you traitorous unwanted tears
which slip down my face as
I try to maintain my invisible status in crowded places,
or imitate cheer with intimate friends.

am I not mistress of my emotions,
that I cannot control the ocean of saline
that falls from my eyes, refusing to hide
as if begging attention?

while friends understand and empathise
I cannot explain to nameless strangers, who
may catch my eye with a silent question
and then pass by, wondering at my open emotion
and with compassionate pang, pause for a moment, as
they briefly consider reaching out with their sympathy,
but deep in thought, they amble away
fearing it may be rude to intrude
but feeling guilty all the same,
while I in my private innocent misery
have cast a vague shadow over their day.

FAO Sarah, and anybody else who is alarmed by the tone of this post: it refers to the way I was feeling two years ago, not the way I am now.

©Jane Paterson Basil

This is not my life

at each fresh evil I break a little,
recovering more quickly every time;
reassuring with an easy joke, a smile,
thinking to escape the agony,
but it cuts deep into me
and with sharp fangs it rips out my creativity,
visciously spitting it out
to land like embryonic seed on arid ground,
never to stretch to maturity.

sometimes I want to scream
“this is not my life. It is not me.
these insipid lines and phrases
are less than my ability.”

©Jane Paterson Basil