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Why I No Longer Keep My Chronic Illness Struggles to Myself

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When my pain is at its worst, I can’t remain silent. When the fire and the ache wrap around each finger, each toe, each wrist, each foot, each elbow, each knee, and each rib, I need to be able to talk about it.

Pain has me in its grip, squeezing until I must speak its name. If I didn’t talk about it, you’d never know. My face is calm, my stride steady.

I can even smile or laugh while I tell you my body is a monolith of ceaseless pain. I am one second away from screaming. One second away from hurling a glass to the wall to make visible the shattering beneath my skin.

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