Fiction photo photography portrait Prose


I tried my best. I really did. But things fall apart. My mother was bipolar and wouldn’t take her meds, so the highs were too high and too dangerous and then the lows were dark, prolonged and scary.

She fought going into the hospital, but it wasn’t safe-she wasn’t safe. We had no alternative. She’s been in there a week and won’t see me. I feel like I deserve that because I failed her, even though the rational part of my brain knows that there’s truly nothing else I could have done. You have to help others if they can’t help themselves, even if the price you pay is steep. I only hope she may forgive me when she stabilizes.

© 2023 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.

anxiety depression Fiction photo photography Prose

The Dirty Work

You can throw all of the pills down the drain. It makes for a moment of defiance, of clarity. But does it change the underlying cause? Do you have a plan beyond turning on the disposal and feeling a bit better about yourself?

Because now the hardest part comes in: talking about the dread and the shame. Dredging up all of the unwelcome and lingering thoughts pinging around your head all of the time. Fighting the feelings that threaten to torpedo your psyche.

© 2023 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.

essay mental health photo photography portrait

Your Voice

Lunatics, madmen, crazies. Pejoratives thrown around to denigrate people we think don’t deserve dignity or respect, much less a cursory attempt at understanding. I’ve known so many who have been slammed by these words and much worse, but they persevere through the insults and the misfiring neurons in their brains. They fight to live another day in a world where they’re unwelcome.

Why do we think that because we conform and behave in accordance with a vague standard of normalcy that anyone who deviates from that is broken? We ought to open our hearts, these miraculous pathways to love and understanding, to enable us to realize that the person hearing voices may just need to hear a welcoming one: ours.

© 2022 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved

Fiction photo photography portrait Prose


There is a crackling sound, over there, don’t you hear it? The cars scream by, but it’s still there. A consistent noise I can no longer run away from, then it fades out to silence with the dusk.

I have to know what it is. Why it follows me all day long

© 2022 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.

photo photography Prose

More Than Blue

Grandmother called it the blues
Because she didn’t want to give
It any more weight.
She thought she could contain it.
But it rolls down the generations,
Gathering dark energy all the while.
It got you at the umbilical, child, and
Now you’ve grown and it’s got you whole.
Every day a version downgrade from
The last. The last.

© 2022 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.


Long Way Back

Inside the endless night
I’m prisoner to the poisonous ways
Depression has to take root
And blackout your days.

Insidious and random,
The victims are too many to count.
Discovering at some dreadful point
This disorder, this jail, won’t let you out.

Giving in to the immense black hollow
Is easy and sometimes we do.
I’ll try to come back,
To be the person I once knew.

It’s such an long fight
When it’s burrowed so deep.
Your mind, the your soul.
What else can you keep?

I will feel worthless and I’ll stumble
And fall down the long flight of steps
That lead the way back
To the light that signals success.

I hope when I get there,
Because I have to believe that I will,
That you’ll be waiting,
In love with me still.

© 2022 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.



Must you admit the jet-black thoughts
And the dreadful anxiety to anyone?
Does it make anything better?

You don’t need to confess.
You own your toxic mélange
And if you bottle it up,
You think you get to choose to uncork it.

I know only this: It will come out.
Seeping through the fissures
Or exploding like a suppressed volcano.
Tell loved ones to stand clear,
If there are any left to damage.

© 2022 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.