through the panic

Earlier this week at work, I put on my coat, grabbed my bag, and walked out the door.  And then I started to run.  I ran fast enough to make it to my car quickly, but not so fast as to call too much attention to myself.

“Skip-run, Michael.  Look joyful.  Or purposeful.  That’ll work,” I told myself.

Anxiety had been building in my brain for about an hour.

No reason.  At least none I could fathom.  Just a building sense of panic with no rationale.

Try as I might, I couldn’t fight it off.  I tried breathing exercises.  I tried closing my eyes and visualizing / meditating.  And I tried as much of an extra chill pill as I allow myself when surrounded by others.  Nothing worked.  And so, I ran.

I ran only because I had the freedom to do so.  No obligations for a couple hours.  So leave.

Without that freedom I would have put in my earphones, played some white noise and just entered data.  Hoping that the rote work would bring me through to the other side.  If not, at least I would get some work done while setting up a barrier to external stimuli.

But I had the freedom.  So I ran.  I got to my car and drove (safely).  Within a few minutes I was where I would run into no one I knew.  I found a side street, parked, turned up the heat.  Heat relaxes me sometimes.

Engine running, I just stared ahead.  I tried not to think.

Time passes.  Not sure how long.  Eventually, success.  Panic subsided.  Just a little anxious.  Continue the day.

Some days I hate Michael Dahl’s brain.