When the Bough Breaks

When the Bough Breaks

A Poem by Poetic License

I stood at the edge of myself, 
I took a single look back over my shoulder, 
I reassured those I loved most, 
Then, even while looking at them, I stepped off. 
I kept falling, a quiet purgatory, 
Watching the ledge grow smaller, 
Seeing those I held most dear, 
Peering over, staring, reaching, receding. 
There are times you have to embrace the fall. 
I stood at the pinnacle of pain, 
I swam in grief and confusion, 
I drowned in a riptide of distrust and anger, 
I crashed to the bottom and stayed. 
It is the landing that broke me, 
A thousand shards of doubt about myself, 
Slivers of questionable intent and character, 
Fine dust of lost time and never-was. 
I had clung to the bough as long as I could, 
My immortal spirit never considering, 
An inevitable weakening of the branch, 
That I could fall before catching myself. 
Yet here I lay, shattered pieces everywhere, 
Some sharp as razors, others ground blunt, 
As I survey the damage, I know one thing, 
I can glue the pieces, but I will be different, again. 
It’s strange to find yourself at the bottom of the well of yourself, 
The place where only you can go and only you can leave, 
The place everyone thinks they want to know, 
But somehow stop at the well cover thinking that’s the end. 
No, there is something deeper, 
You have to fall to get there, 
It is black, cold, empty and sound proof, 
This, my friend, is who you are in the dark. 
These are the critical moments, 
There are no cheerleaders, no supporters, 
There are no saboteurs, no terrorists, 
Just you with yourself by yourself. 
Do you stay in the quiet nothingness? 
Do you embrace the sterile safety of sanctuary? 
Do you hold fast to the bottom? 
Do you forsake topside for peace and calm? 
This is a place free of judgment and advice. 
This is a place free of abuse and violence. 
This is a place free of raised voices and harsh words. 
This is a place free of the taint of life. 
This place is a void. 
It is deep and it is dark. 
It is the mind’s answer to protection, 
It is the final ctrl-alt-delete of a biological keyboard. 
The server acknowledges your request and is refusing to fulfill it. 
She’s gone, long gone and you can’t reach her, 
She’s far away from any road and you can’t get to her, 
She’s pulled in tight and you can’t touch her, 
She has gone. 
I take my respite within my own darkness, 
I willingly give over to the protection of my own self, 
I take my respite far away, where I am well and truly safe. 
I have gone. 
Like black canvas of night gives way to daybreak in slow blinks, 
Cracking its eyes until just a deeper purple colors the horizon, 
Blinking again, opening a little wider, a deep, dark blue, 
Blinking again, a double blink, now eyes wide open. 
It is time to begin again. 
With deep breath I set about restoring my broken pieces, 
No, I am never the same after the gone, 
Little pieces are always left behind in the abyss. 
With what is left, I mend and I rise, 
Without grace or speed, but I rise just the same, 
Confused and dazed, a bit scared and cautious, 
And different. 
The home screen blinks back to life. 

© 2017 Poetic License

Author's Note

Poetic License
Having recently suffered a complete "nervous breakdown," I find myself returning to this piece I wrote nearly a year ago. It was the closest I could come to explaining what it is like to fall into catatonia during PTSD triggers. When I read it now, it chills me and reminds me every day I stand on this side of that "gone" place, is another day to my credit. Today, I needed this reminder.

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An immensely intense write......

Your description of your fall and rebirthing ascent leaves no stone unturned as to the depth of that abyss. The great irony is that dark abyss, the place where no light dwells, where the mind recedes into its own state of catatonic bliss, is strangely both a dangerous place to linger in but also one which gives off a sense of safety and calmness.

I guess the most important thing to take from such a traumatic experience is that what was once broken can always be repaired. And with this write your courage and tenacity is revealed for all to see.

Keep on writing. There is no greater therapy than the outpourings of the written word. Best wishes to you on your ascent back to the light. The strength in your words tells me that you will make it. For the Phoenix always rises.

Intense, brutally honest and courageous work.

Posted 1 Year Ago

I had two but they were not irrecoverable thankfully - although at the time it seemed like the world had spun so fast that my mind had whizzed off into space and forgot to take my body.
If they are not the kind that finish us, for good then they do indeed make us stronger - more self-aware and experienced enough to help others. This will help others, too P.L.

Posted 1 Year Ago

Clever way to share such a personal time in your life
well done

Posted 1 Year Ago

my dad suffered a nervous breakdown...the pieces are so scattered...hard to find them, much less put them back together.

this is so good...

really like "i am never the same after the gone"---
haunting line.


Posted 1 Year Ago

I was completely lost in this, an amazing description of your experience. Even without the explanation, it felt like clawing at the brink of a completely deconstructed self. Thank you for sharing and I'm pleased you made it back to tell the tale.

Posted 1 Year Ago

Catastrophically haunted.

Personal and Great Read


Posted 1 Year Ago

Wow, this is. . . intense, it had me choking back a tear of empathy for the struggle.

Posted 1 Year Ago

An amazing piece of writing - and so much of it that was so familiar to me....it was a bit like reading about my own feelings....I know the well, know the darkness...

Posted 1 Year Ago

The detail here is immense. I can't really say anything that would top what you've shared only to say you've described a hell that no one wants to experience.

This gives the reader a taste of what you've gone through and it's scary as hell.

Great writing.

Posted 1 Year Ago

Poetic License

1 Year Ago

Thanks for that. It is rather horrific and I can't readily recommend it to anyone. I am pleased th.. read more

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9 Reviews
Added on November 3, 2017
Last Updated on November 3, 2017
Tags: depression, PTSD, breakdown, mental illness


Poetic License
Poetic License

St. Louis, MO

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. - Hemingway Fyrene ond fæhðe fela missera, singale sæce, sibbe ne wolde wið manna hwone m&ae.. more..


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