sometimes artificial light makes me want to vomit. sometimes when i look too close at those off-white yellow-tinged bulbs, i feel the joy i still cling to from when i was a child melt away into a puddle of ink at my feet. it gets worse when i stand in front of a mirror, a more terrifying confrontation with reality than death itself. so i turn off the lights, let myself bathe in the comfort of not being required to perceive anything.

i spend a lot of time in the shower. sometimes i cry, sometimes i curl up and just lie there. but always, i sit down. always, i am searching for some sort of bandage. or cleanliness that the water alone cannot bring. sometimes i feel paralyzed, unable to stand back up, incapable of functioning properly. i’ve fallen asleep in the shower countless times while waiting to not feel empty anymore.

but you see, this is not the sort of sleep you rest within. it is the kind where you writhe in semi-unconsciousness, your heart heavy with fear, your eyes unable to open. you are holding hands with a demon you cannot see with your mind in any other state. this demon is not real. he is you, he is the things you have lived through, he is your nightmares. but he is not tangible. he is you, but you are not him.