Dystonia is a debilitating neurological condition that can affect any part of the body. I have cervical dystonia, however, many people, including children have multifocal dystonia, thus my motivation for promoting awareness. The following piece was written shortly after my diagnosis.

The dragon creeps, unseen, into the caves of Basal Ganglia, the uncharted region of my being. It licks its toxic claws, content to bide its time.

It toys with me, its prey, a warning signal it transmits. Aroused, I quiver, puzzled yes, but panicked? No!

The dragon stalks. It snarls. Claws entwine about my neck. I twitch and tremble, turn my head. Now, this twisting I can’t discount. I activate my defensive-tactic, touch. I sense a measure of relief and sigh.

‘Did the dragon attack without provocation? Did I cause its irritation?’

Questions tumble round and round.

‘I’ll disregard the dragon, and halt its demeaning deeds.’

Riled, the dragon writhes, claws extended, destruction its intent. It strikes. It tightens its grip around my neck. Startled, I’m squeezed, shaken and swivelled. I cannot look the dragon in the eye. It mocks me. I try my trick. I touch. I cower, alarmed by yet another ploy. Nerves are frayed.

‘I hate this hideous state. I’ve lost all restraint. I’m afraid of this horrid fiend?’

‘It won’t defeat me,’ I determine. ‘But, Oh! So potent is the dragon’s poison.’

I am seized again and again, and again.

‘Spasms. Ugh!’

My head turns. I touch. But my futile attempt to fool the dragon fails.

Others note and confront. ‘Recruit reinforcements, remove the dragon.’

‘No! I’ll survive. I’ll not surrender. It’ll slink away.’

But alas, the dragon refuses to retreat and I struggle on in vain until –

I scream, ‘I’m so broken. I’m so sad, and oft-times, I’m very mad.’

Apprehensive and ashamed, I clamber to the clinic.

‘MRI,’ the doc demands.

I lay upon bed in ungainly gown, head fixed, and by cylindrical tube contained – Alone! Bing-bing-bing. Thump-bump-thump. Rata-tat-tat. Tentative, I breathe in and out.

‘Mustn’t move.’

Time stands still – Released!

Doc confirms the dragon has, most certainly, crossed into my control-centre, and captured my cells. It contaminates my chemical-brew – constricting muscles, confusing cognition-data, and sapping strength.

‘Is there a contributing cause – past health issues, or an inherited gene?’ I cry.

‘No! The dragon is classified – A neurological movement disorder and is comrade to equally sinister creatures. It manifests as a postural tremor. No weapon can mortally wound the dragon, no single antagonist restrain it, though, for a short time, a shot of Botox might tranquilize it. It is not expected to retreat.’

Wounded and weary, I wave the white flag, and write an accord – Peace!

‘Acceptance! Muscles Behaving Badly, I now know – But I’m not alone.’

DYSTONIA is the dragon’s name. Yet, Dystonia does not define me. It is but a whit, not the whole. I assert attributes beside. I regulate my lifestyle to reduce the dragon’s stride. And, though my performance lacks perfection l plan to persevere. I obtain and offer assistance, and draw on my inner reserve – Faith!

This story is penned to promote awareness and applaud the analysts’ search. My hope – to celebrate – ‘Neuro-concepts have crushed the Dystonia dragon’s curse!’