Tap. Tap Tap Tap. Tap Tap.
The rubber end of a #2 pencil bounces off my desk in a random rhythm. Thoughts are cloudy, where is my focus? I make a sound, something that I can grasp on to, something to reset the clarity. So I tap, tap, tap, tap tap tap tap tap tap….
Nothing. Concentration doesn’t come. What am I doing? What do I need to accomplish today? Yes, tasks. I can make a list and then prioritize.
My ears fill with the sound of paper rustling as I flip through the pages of my spiral notebook, landing on a clean sheet. Exhaling all of the air in my lungs, I try to push past the haze so that I may compile a list.
What’s on the other pages? Would they shed light on anything I currently needed to think about? Paper pages rustle again, but there are no notes worth keeping. They are a distraction. Distractions need to go.
Riiiiiiiiiiip. Riiip. Rip. Rip. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip.
Uncomfortable shivers tear down my spine, and I try not to cringe at the sound of paper tearing out of my spiral notebook. I rip the final few pages out, and then I am greeted with a fresh start! No more distractions. A clean slate is sure to set me straight.
The smooth wood of the pencil slips between my fingers and I press the pencil to the blank page. I set off to write when I notice little wisps of paper stuck inside of the spiral. No. They absolutely cannot stay there. They must come out. Must. No ifs, ands, or buts. They’re a distraction, and distractions need to go.
Ziiiiip. Zip. Zip. Riiiiiip. Ziiiiiiiip. Clunk clunk. Rip. Rip. Ziiiip. Zip. Crumple. Crumple.
The sound of paper hitting the plastic inside of the trashcan signals that I am now distraction free.
… and yet nothing comes to mind.
So, I tap. Tap, tap tap tap, tap, tap, tap tap tap… tap, tap, tap tap tap…
Click click clickity click click click clickity clickity click clickity…
Tap tap tap… tap, tap, tap tap tap….
Tic, tock, tic, tock…
Sniff. Sniff. Cough.
Sounds. Everywhere. Surrounding me from every direction.
I cannot escape them, and I am at their mercy. Please God, silence. Let there be silence.
Silence doesn’t come. The noise presses upon the fog and pushes me down, and I panic. Tears form in my eyes, stinging my skin with shame as I struggle for control. Control, I have none. The sounds control me and trigger the anxiety.
RUN! Get away! OUT! FLEE!
No! Don’t! Breathe, exhale, count to ten. FIGHT!
Panic! Someone’s looking at me. I go still. Everything is blank. I have but only a moment.
I smile politely, rise from my chair and walk calmly to the bathroom. The door shuts, I turn off the light and find my way to the far back corner. I cry hard as my body and mind shut down amidst the panic. The countdown begins.
Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven. Six. Five. Four. Three. Two. One.
And then there’s nothing.
I feel nothing. I hear nothing. I see nothing.
I’m blank, clean, fresh… waiting for the reset. Waiting for max functionality.
In five, four, three…