The bottoms of my feet hurt.

My ankles are stiff and painful.

The blanket on my lap hurts my skin.

The inside of my body creeks and groans with little lightning rods of discomfort. Not always pain, exactly, but like little reminders that every individual cell exists. As if I could forget.

When I stand, both knees ache.

I feel my hip bones and they never feel correctly positioned. Just slightly off and slightly uncomfortable.

My arms feel heavy and depressed.

My elbows feel like my triceps are trying to detach themselves.

The skin around my fingernails is sore.

My shoulders…in between my shoulders…feels as though each shoulder blade is attached by hooks to the muscles between them and the tug of war is real. The ripping sensation, both from the “hooks” and from what feels like muscle being torn from my spine is continuous, regardless of position. This is not the kind of pain you feel with injury. It is not severe, just constant, like trying to slowly peel off a band-aid but never completely separating it from your skin.

The pain at the base of my neck starts out sharp and then gradually feels more like mild whiplash.

My jaw hurts. It feels tired. It feels like work to close my mouth, but leaving it open hurts, too.

The inside of my mouth feels chewed up and raw because it is.

My nose feels fine, but my eyes feel strained, dry, itchy, sensitive.

My ears itch and hurt and feel “full.” If I could shove a pipe cleaner all the way in there and just scratch and “open up” my tubes or whatever…that might be heaven.

And then there is my head.

My head with the dull pain at the base of my skull and the thumping in my temples that never completely dissipates…

My head with the pressure behind my eyes and relentless tension in my forehead…

My head with the aches that make me see things and smell things. And sometimes take away my sight. And sometimes make my face go numb. And always make me nauseous but almost never make me throw up…

My head with the scalp that itches and cracks and flakes and peels and bleeds and is a source of unrivaled compulsion to scratch and pick. I want in equal parts to shave it completely and to set it on fire…

My head with the uninterrupted worry and over-analysis and indecision and guilt…the guilt…

It is exhausting to be this aware of every feeling – physically and emotionally.

But I could take all of this and I could do it without complaint, truly, if I could sleep.

If I could sleep, the pain would diminish. I know this.

The worrying would decrease. I know this, too.

If I could sleep, at least I would have some relief.

3:14 am. I don’t know how long I can do this. It’s been years already…





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