The alarm clock rings.
I drool. I roll.
The dog opens an eyelid.
I haven’t moved yet.
The dog opens another.
His head lifts.
I am breathing.
The dog rises on his haunches – quietly – all the while waiting for me to stir.
The song changes on the clock radio.
… and slowly, slowly he rises to his legs and creeps out of the room.
The black dog roams free in the house.
Eventually, much later I wake.
I look at the clock.
And then I see the empty patch on the floor …
and I know that something worse seems to be afoot. I haven’t just slept through an alarm this morning.
The dog is at large in the house.
I fall back on the bed and close my eyes in dread.
I pull the covers up over my head and try to snuggle back down to sleep.
I’m not the same person that I was last time I found myself like this.
Now I have to go and clean up this mess.
The mess. Can I face the mess?
Sooner or later I have to. I’m really just putting it off lying here in dread and imagining.
He’s only been loose a little while. How bad can it be?
Bad. It’s been bad quickly before.
Come on. This is getting us nowhere – time to move.
So eventually. Eventually. Eventually – I do.
I was right.
He’s been everywhere.
But unlike before, I can catch him and rein him in reasonably quickly.
Sure, this leaves me tired. But not defeated.
There are muddy prints where the dog has been – but all they are are the traces of his lies upon my consciousness. I can clean those.
Tonight the dog is back on his leash.
Tonight is evidence of what gains I have made with the help of my psychologist in learning to be conscious of my thoughts, emotions, my actions and how my body is responding to situations and to be deliberate in how I respond to this. Tonight I remember how these things used to crush me. How encouragement was drowned out by self-derision.
Today my dog got off the lead. Today I caught him again.
Yes, it made a mess of my morning.
Yes, it upset me.
But today, I could hear encouragement when it was offered by someone supportive.
Today Mindfulness skills allowed me to feel and experience the emotions of the moment and yet use the CBT strategies that I have learned to right my perspective and reorient my day so that I could finish it feeling like I had accomplished something useful.
Today, the dog has finished his day at heel.