The title of this blog is based on yet another writing assignment from Martha Beck’s Write Into Light on-line course.  In summary, we were to recall a time when we were at our worst, in an abyss.  Reflect on it and discover some learning about that time.

I had real difficulty with this assignment and  sat on it for two weeks before deciding to post it on my blog.  Having struggled with depression for many years, I started this blog because I wanted to focus on more positive aspects of life.  Descending into my own dark times, didn’t seem to be what I wanted to put out into the world.  This felt a bit too raw, personal, even though all of my stories are personal.

Even tackling the assignment as part of the course was difficult.  I didn’t want to go into a whiny long essay about my dark times so I ended up writing  this poem.

The Abyss

Brick by brick, I built my fortress

Disconnecting thought from feeling

Body from Mind

Brain was strong,

Body and Emotions were weak.

My descent was crafted on an either/or belief.

My future would be love, or success.

My brain could be trusted. My body could not.

I chose brain. Ignored body.


If the body whined in protest, Ben and Jerry comforted.

Merlot purged emotions.

The brain was fueled by work excitement,

Challenging projects to be conquered.

Life seemed good.


Early heart breaks filled an overflowing moat around the emerging fortress.

A sturdy bridge across the fortress cautiously let in a selected few.

The fortress foundation was built earlier on a deeper, forgotten understanding.

I willed the sun to come out.

As the moat dried, the bridge was an accessory, but still heavily guarded.


The need to succeed, to contribute in a tangible way, was the mortar that held the bricks in place.

An insatiable need strained the foundation,

While each brick added strength to my real world armor,

A stepping stone out of the abyss. I considered and


Suppose success included balanced body, mind, thought and emotions?

Dream jobs turned to drudgery.

I no longer wanted to live in a fortress.

My real world was only perception.

I allowed either/or to drain into the moat of emotions and feelings.


My heartbreaks and failures were bridges to wiser choices.

My armor served me well, but is less rigid.

Conscious movement, focused breath are my body’s comfort food.

Ben and Jerry are on hiatus.

Tears come as needed, without urging from Merlot.


Now, I tune into all of me.

Life is really good.


  1. Margaret Helsabeck June 6, 2018 at 4:13 pm Reply

    Denyse, that is beautiful. You are inspiring and amazing. I love the poem.

    • Denyse Le Fever June 6, 2018 at 5:06 pm Reply

      Margaret – Thank you so much!

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