It begins with butterflies in my stomach. Pesky, annoying, fluttery buggers.
Then the familiar feeling of panic.
I sleep, fitfully, woken every so often by palpitations.
The Black Dog is sniffing around me.
My chest weighs heavy as if a block of cement is sitting where my heart and lungs should be.
I can’t breathe.
I look at my ‘to do’ list and my chest tightens further.
I reach for the cookies…1,2,3 and more.
The Black Dog yaps in my ear:
“Cancel your lunch date”
“Who needs friends?”
“Why don’t you have a day on the couch?”
I eat another cookie.
Then I hear a tiny voice.
“Go. Get your stuff and go”.
I quickly get in the car.
Within ten minutes the smell of chlorine has wrapped itself around me.
I’m gliding through the water.
Counting my breaths 1,2,3,1,2,3.
Counting my laps 10,20,30,40.
For an hour the chatter in my head stops.
The Black Dog is banished to the sidelines.
I return to the house. The ‘to do’ list is still there.
I make a start.
What do you do when the Black Dog comes?