My skin hurts. Every sound is too loud. Every touch, every vibration in the air shakes my core. The world is too bright, each beam of light piercing my brain.

A ball of bad energy twists and squirms in my chest. Can’t sit still. Moving is bad.

People talk. It hurts.

People talk. I’m angry.

Burning, seething, the energy consumes. I want to scream. I want to thrash out.

But I stop.

Words don’t come out.

My body, like lead, holds its place. The effort to move far greater than the desire to do so.

People talk. I want to respond. The burning energy in my core grows stronger. Each word fueling the flames.

People talk. I want to explain what is happening. I want to apologize for suddenly shutting off. I want to lash out. No words come.

My body shakes and rocks.

My limbs try their best to lash and thrash. I stop them. Hold them tight. Don’t let go.

My head tries to smash. Tries to beat a rhythm of skull against wall. Tighten. Tense up. Don’t let it move.

Screams build up. Try to force their way out my mouth. Must stay quiet. Must not release.

Tears begin to stream from burning eyes. Sobs wrack my body, uncontrollable, unavoidable, all-consuming, ugly sobs.

Must find cover. Dive beneath the piled blankets. Find the place that is soft and warm and quiet  and safe.

The lights dim.

The room grows quiet.

Calm.

I sink into myself.

Fingers flick. Feet tap. Tongue clicks. Body rocks.

Tears lessen their torrential stream. Sobs fade to whimpers.

Calm begins to permeate.

I sink into myself.

I retreat from the pain of the world. The pain of too much, too loud, too bright, too harsh.

My skin soothes. Sounds return to usual volume. The lights look nice.

I peek out into the world. Testing to see if it is safe to return.

I emerge.

Empty. Drained. Worn. Calm.