My eyes open, gummily, and it starts. I can almost hear the starter pistol - it's aimed directly at my face and they shoot blanks, but they sure are loud. I wish they'd be more considerate. The noise rallies the panic. Everything goes tight, and I fear some kind of implosion. I turn my head, searching cool spots on the pillow, but I can't find one. My face is hot, chasing the cool away.
I remember when I woke up feeling refreshed. Barely. It was years and years ago. Now, I wake up feeling like I wrestled a gorilla. My neck is tight. My back is fucked. My jaw aches like I've gone round after round with my hands down. I am always tired.
Plugged into it now, I try to think about the fake people I need to work on and how I need to drown out the pounding in my chest.
Sometimes, there are days and weeks and months like this. I am lucky that I have secret weapons. They are wise and they know how to speak to me. Not all of them. Some of them just have small, soft hands that rest on my face while tiny lips kiss my shoulder and tell me to feel better.
And sometimes I do.