Melt Down (Flash Fiction)


Have you ever had a melt down?

I mean a 100% complete loss of yourself, driving pain through your body; your chest so numb you can’t feel a damn thing, and your hands and legs shaking to such a magnitude that holding anything and standing unaided is next to impossible? I’m talking core wipe-out mentally, emotionally. You disappear from yourself and the outside, and just sink down, down, down until you are nothing but a molten mass of pure nothing.

It’s an interior nuclear melt down. No way to stop it: it’s a complete collapse of self, the inability to cope with anything more. You can’t escape from it as it mushroom clouds’ inside of you, unsettling your senses and blowing horror winds of despair through your system. The mind blanks, or fixates on one thing, illogical scatterings that bewail the loss of what kept you together.

You are gone now. You’ve melted away. What’s left depends on the severity of the melt down. There is no “half life” at this point. There is “no life”, no caring, no understanding of how to get out of the crater that surrounds the husk.

Words are meaningless, and all the good intentions of friends and family and professionals are jammed into a single space that is defeated by the inner “I can’t handle this anymore.” They watch and talk, they might hover and howl their own frustrations, or speak slowly and softly and tenderly, and it’s all the same. Noise. Noise that really needs to just be silenced.

You pull the covers over you, hiding in a self wrapped cocoon. Day and night have little to no meaning; you prowl the darkness while other sleep, turning on C-Span to bore you to sleep. You open a book or magazine, hoping the drivel on the pages tires your eyes enough to close.

Then come the drugs to “even you out,” and you find oblivion in sleep at times you know you should be awake. Everything passes you by: the job goes, the friends are  back to their lives, the daily calls are now weekly (if), and the family is besides themselves. They check out, one by one, unintentionally, but your melt down has radiated them, and their internal melt down happens.

You try to check out in the bath tub, hearing it doesn’t hurt. It does, for a bit, but the warm water is soothing, and the anti-anxiety meds and the anti-depressants take you to another place. The water is red kool-aid and you haven’t cared about anything, or anyone, or any bit about yourself. There was no self to care about.

Melt down.

Waking up in the hospital, there are stares and tears and questions. You don’t answer. You look away. They’ve swaddled your wrists and tied you down, strapped and IV’d. “It’s for your own good,” comes over the walking loud speakers that surround you, but one by one they all go away, taking their bull horns of sympathy miasma with them. It’s all noise, and the click-clicking of the machines blend into the night nurses morally bankrupt laughing, and the codes and charting checks and the waking up to see if you’ve slept…

The special ward is next.

Have you ever melted down? Have you seen your core at it’s basest level?

I have. It’s not pretty. It’s not nice. It isn’t wholesome or fun or loving or anything you’d want.

That’s why I’m here, locked up. For now.

Wait. Wait for it.



Please understand that what appears here on Tale Spinning is always a work of FICTION.

I will sometimes write in First Person (as above).

It does not mean I have done anything suicidal, I have never been locked up, I’ve never killed anyone, never been a woman, etc.

I May write about those things (and have), but…that is the end of it.

How do I know/write things that make people believe I’m just writing a journal?:

First: I’d have to say “good realistic writing” (I’ve heard that enough from others, so..)

Second: I have a LARGE referencing pool,  being a pop culture junkie all my life (TV, Movies, Books, etc)

Third: I do research more times than not.

So…I’ll post this again and again (a few more times) when I write in First Person.

Thanks for reading.


22 responses »

  1. Brought back real memories. I fell into the PIT in a different way , but you described being there pretty well, empty world, voices that don’t quite reach you,just blackness that you can’t and sometimes don’t want to get out of. Locked away in a hospital to keep you safe, and to help you, but the doctor’s rope is about five feet too short for you to reach even if you want to try. It finally comes to a point where you do want to get out of the PIT and then someome or something helps you focus and helps you towards healing.
    Sorry hope I haven’t ruined your story but I couldn’t help testifying to it’s reality in my life.


  2. So I get the melt-down Stuart. And in fact I had a friend that unfortunately had a similar melt-down. But I also must tell you that when I started to read it — I remember my ‘melt-down’ mentally, physically and emotionally was when my dad died (not to the point of hospitalization). I was there for his last moments and I never knew it would hit me so hard. I don’t remember the long plane ride back home. I didn’t remember weeks afterward, only that I would look up at the white clouds and wonder. Wonder why? It saddens me even today (10 years later).

    I have to say Stuart you have a strong talent for writing, it is griping, emotional and meaningful, but in different ways (probably) to each of us. Thank you for sharing your gift!


    • Lynn…I don’t know what to say. First, sorry for your loss; I would expect, when I get “heavy”, that it always is up to everyone’s interpretation/personal reference points.

      Thank you for all the kind words on my writing. It’s truly appreciated.


    • Thanks Roy. I intended to make this a four part story, but I am reconsidering it now. Too many people have “melted down” about it (concerned for me). Shame. I felt this was strong writing on my part. Oh well… thanks for sending it out.


  3. 🙂 Well written, although it IS fiction. The mark of an excellent writer is one who can get into other people’s heads and tell their stories, even if they aren’t yours. It’s great that this could be mistaken for an actual memoir; however, I suppose you might need to remind readers on occasion that it is a fiction blog!


  4. I have as a single mom, and that is is in my past now..but I will not ever forget. The doctors were wonderful.


  5. How in the world did you learn my story…this is my journey, where I was , what happened to me. I love the way you have written this, you are a wonder.


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