Tag Archives: anxiety



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

The Wall



I thought that I had built a wall, but maybe it built me.
I reckoned I’d erected it from pure tranquility,
but it was fake and now it just illuminates the pain.
If I can’t climb around it, I may never write again.


The wall within my fantasy was built from pretty thoughts;
all sorts of handsome ramblings my idle mind had wrought,
re-arranged and written down, in designer verse with rhyme;
fond tales of winter madness, and dancing summertime.


The words stretched out like daisy chains across my living room,
I heaped them up in courses, to shield me from the gloom.
Each inch of clever phrasing became a brick in the wall.
Like blinds, they hid the daylight, and brought me to my fall.


I falsely thought I’d built a wall, but maybe it built me.
I reckoned I’d erected it from pure tranquility,
but it was fake and now it just illuminates the pain.
I have to beg my brighter self to let me write again.


I must have written this at some point over the past couple of months. I‘m feeling better now,  but it seems a waste to leave it rotting in my documents.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Too deep to reach


offers drugs.
Maybe soon, I say.
All at once, I understand.
I have been hurled so far,
so hard, that I have sunk
to the very depths.
I am curled on
the sea bed.

I try to speak;
explain my feelings,
but nothing emanates
except silly, silent bubbles,
rising up through dark water,
to blub and break on the surface
far above, where cheating sunlight
hints at the fib of brighter tomorrows,
where rippling faces gaze, concerned,
and gentle hands stretch toward me,
but I am too deep to reach,
too deep to reach.



©Jane Paterson Basil

The scratched and pitted door


in this dim-lit pit
— where whispers mock my wish for hush —
lies a scratched and pitted door
— ravaged by cracked captives claws —
whose rust-locked hinges have no plan
to shift and set lost victims free.
I pray the rotting, oaken door
may swing aside for me.

Dampened cobwebbed arches
— dragged low by weight of foetid flies —
offer falsified, feigned promise
of an end beyond the rise.

Ducking ‘neath the grubby silk
I grimly beg the tainted troll
who locked me in this dread hell-hole
“Please speed me to my goal.”
An ochre silence fills the lonely space.
No gentle voice consoles, no crash resounds;
the walls don’t split to let in light and set me free.
I know within my clogging soul
the answer must be “No.”

With heavy tread I stumble on,
that I may gain my liberty.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Some time away


Dedicated to my dear friend Calen.


“Live in the moment,” they say,
but when each moment weighs you down
breaks your back and bends your bones
you need some time away.


I’d like to take you on a break;
a holiday from this harsh place,
to a haven where we can be children,
if only for week,
where the sun shines directly on us
– not over in the distance, offering promises
too soon broken;
but where wishes come real for you and me.

We’ll breakfast in a zillion-star hotel.
Well dressed waiters will pretend we are respectable
– ignore our giggles as we point at their penguin tails,
then we’ll kick our heels and run, squealing,
to the beach.
We’ll collect coloured shells, look for strange creatures and crabs,
chase the sea as it recedes, eat icecream and not feel sick,
bury our feet in the sand,
then lie on our backs and dream.

After a few days, we’ll awake to find Autumn
has arrived in its russet glory.
We’ll wrap up warm, and walk down cool corridors
of maple and oak,
throw fallen leaves to the breeze,
and watch them fly one final time
before they sink into the soil.

We’ll play dress up in big high heels and floppy hats,
and whisper the secrets of kids.
I’ll talk about the funny lady that lives next door
with seven cats, one of them black,
and looks like a witch,
while you’ll tell me what your brother said he saw.

We’ll do all these things and many more;
maybe we’ll even shed a few childish tears,
but most of all,
we’ll throw our heads back, and we’ll laugh

And when the week is done,
we’ll go home to find time has been frozen;
everything will be as it was when we left,
but our short rest
will have given us the grit
to face tomorrow,
with a grin.

©Jane Paterson Basil



Today the rhyme eludes my mind
and autumn sunshine fails to cheer;
leaves glow gold but I am blind;
submerged in murky thoughts and fears.
Sweet birds sing tunes to humankind,
but traffic clatter fills my ears;
mild reason is so hard to find
through bleary fog of bottled tears.

I wash my face and blot my eyes
to lift the mist that shrouds my soul,
then sit and watch the world, and try
to find a worthwhile, winning goal.
The shimmering trees and whimsy sky
soon lead me from that deadened hole;
with fresh-sprung hope I question why
I loosed my grip on self control.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Going nowhere.

My morning began with a letter on the doormat.

For the last 16 months I’ve beem receiving ESA – Employment and Support Allowance, or sickness benefit – mainly because I suffer from Generalised Anxiety Disorder. Recently, due to family difficulties, my condition has reached epic proportions. I burst into tears in shops and in the street; I suffer seizures; I have days when I can’t leave my home. Sometimes I can’t cook meals and I survive on dried fruit, nuts, cereal, and yogurt. My condition is difficult and embarrassing, particularly as all the while I’m watching myself from the outside, and disapproving of my weakness.

This is the truth about the woman that is me; the woman people say is strong.

Going back to my story; anyone who’s on ESA gets sent assessment questionaires to fill in every so often, and is afterwards hauled up for a medical examination to find out whether they are still entitled to the benefit. I recently received one of these forms, to be returned by October 7th at the latest. I filled it in and posted it off at 9.30pm on the 20th of this month. The letter I received this morning was dated September 28th. It was from the Health Assessment Advisory Service; it said that they hadn’t received my questionaire, and requested that I fill it in and send it back as soon as possible.

I suspected it was some sort of a test – they get me to fill in a second form, and then compare the two; or maybe an attempt to drive me to suicide.

I got dressed and went straight to the local Jobcentre for advice. I had palpitations by the time I reached the entrance, and the moment I walked in I burst into tears and my legs began to cave in.

Well done Jane – a great entrance as usual.

The woman I saw was very kind. She said assessment forms go missing quite often, and she’d call the assessment centre to ask them to look for my form but that she couldn’t guarantee that they’d bother, gave me another form, and told me not to fill it in until I had spoken to someone from the Health Assessment place, who would phone me.

She then reassured me, mopped me up and sent me away after giving me her name, and saying I could ask to see her if I needed any more help.

I felt it would be best to immediately get a copy of the medical letter I had sent as evidence of my illnesss, in case I deteriorate to the extent that I’m unable to do it later, so I went to my GP’s surgery, where I initially managed not to cry. In my effort to be stoic, I came across as an angry person, and the receptionist thought I was in there to make some sort of trouble. I saw the sudden guarded, almost frightened, look on her face as she asked me if I was a patient at the surgery. Guess what I did in response.

You’ve got it. I burst into tears, and  blubbered repeated apologies while another receptionist guided me into a side room. She calmed me down, got the gist of what I wanted, spoke to my GP, came back and said he was bogged down with work, but he would call me later. As for the reason I was there, I had two options; she could ring the psychiatrist at the Riverside Centre and ask a letter to be posted to me, or I could go and pick it up. I realised that I should have gone to the psychiatrist instead of the surgery, and I told her I’d collect it. She advised me to ask Riverside to fill in the assessment questionaire for me.

She reassured me, mopped me up and sent me away.

I went to the Riverside Centre.

I burst into tears and buckled at the knees. A very nice woman took me into a side room. She printed off a copy of the letter. She gave it to me. With regret, she told me the centre was unable to fill in my questionaire as I was no longer registered with their services. She recommended that I ask the doctor to re-refer me there because I’m such a pathetic mess – though she put it far more kindly than that.

She reassured me, mopped me up and sent me away.

On the way home I got a call from a man with a lovely Welsh voice. He was from the Health Assessment Advisory Service. He explained that assessment questionaires are sent to a National office, and then have to be forwarded somewhere else – in this case Camarthen, in Wales. The letter I received was part of standard procedure. I could ignore it. I said there was no need to worry about me – I’d only briefly considered jumping off the bridge, or words to that effect. He responded in a gentle, reassuring way.

A while after I got home, my GP rang. I told him it had recommended that I ask to be referred back to Riverside. He asked me how I felt about that idea. I replied that I didn’t see the point, because the first time I’d been referred it was to a counsellor who said there was nothing she sould do for me, because I was one of the most self-aware people she’d ever seen, so counselling wouldn’t help me, and CBT wouldn’t help either, because I was already using all the tools that CBT teaches. The second time I was referred, it was to a psychiatrist who recommended a drug that did me more harm than good.

My GP agreed that it may be pointless to go back to Riverside, and suggested that every time I am in a stressful situation I take the beta-blockers he prescribed a few days ago, and see how it goes.

So -other than getting a letter, nothing much happened today.

The Daily Post #Test

©Jane Paterson Basil


over the years
I made believe
that the best way to heal
is to act like I’m well
to deceive myself
my family and friends
and now and again
my laughter felt real

it felt like progress
more than a lie
crushing my wish
to lay down and die

so it’s true it works
in a limited way
by helping me get
through difficult days

yet still at the root
at the core of my being
is a calcified canker
that hasn’t been healing

so I’ve ceased pretending
I’m doing well
and told my family
how I feel

they were there in the wings
and worried for me
now with their help
I’m sure to heal

The Daily Post #Pretend

This isn’t the time for careful, well-edited poetry…

©Jane Paterson Basil

The depth of down

all these years
through everything
sometimes I was bowed
but I always remained standing

don’t know how you do it, they said

but today I finally fell.
like there was no floor, no base

thought I knew how deep
down went, but no
it’s past fear, past panic
beneath agony and grief
so far, so, so far

my family was called
determined, they lifted me
to the surface

with their help
I’ll be well again
maybe soon

©Jane Paterson Basil

10 ways to get your son to leave.


1. Ask him to stay a bit longer.

2.  Give him all your cash.

3. Tell him that if he goes outside he’ll probably be devoured by a man-eating she devil who will take his money and his sanity.

4. Invite your brother over.

5. Tell him they’re giving away money at the bank, but they close in fifteen minutes.

6. Tell him the police are on their way.

7. Try to have a reasonable conversation about his future, or give him some useful advice.

8. Throw his wallet out of the window.

9. Set fire to your home.

10. Throw him out of the window.


See also: Ten ways to get your son to visit you.

NB. Free with this post! A bonus Way To Get Your Son To Visit You:

  • Borrow a phone off someone, call your number, and when he answers, tell him that if he doesn’t return your phone within fifteen minutes you’ll phone the police. Mean it.


©Jane Paterson Basil