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What my pain feels like

Editors note: Anne, our Nottingham Local Group Leader suffered a bout of painsomnia recently, which led to this rather marvellous artwork. She shared it with the group, and we thought it deserved a much wider audience, so with Anne's kind permission we present, pain - pictured! We are tempted to use it as the basis for a new game, 'Pin what ails thee on the wonky!'

I couldn't sleep a few nights ago because my knees were hurting, and I thought "it's like they're made of rusty steel", and an image started to grow in my mind of all the different things that my body feels like. So, I drew it. This is by no means everything that goes on in my body, but I thought it might help me, and others, convey what it is like to have issues that no one can see. I often look "happy and healthy", helping other people, working as an artist and dog trainer, and "running" around after dogs, but there is so much more going on. It's exhausting trying to keep a broken body together, until I can get home at night and collapse. There is power in being able to name things. It no longer becomes "my knee hurts", it becomes "my knee feels like rusted steel". Then I can think what to do about it. What helps rusted steel? WD40. Ok, so then I can imagine putting some WD40 on my rusty knee and it gradually becoming looser and easier to move without pain. Feels like pins in my head. Imagine slowly taking each pin out and releasing the pain and tension that they were storing.

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