It sort of boggles my mind that getting 36 free hours can have such a restorative effect on my psyche.
Of course it's not just that I got a little time off, it's also that I got to see my family (blood and otherwise) and see that Life Is Still Good outside my hexagram of stress. It's easy to lose oneself in the whirl of Important Things, projects and deadlines and commitments and responsibilities. It's easy to bite off more than you can chew; what happens then? Choking, usually.
The feeling of choking is a kind of panic, a freakout. Even if all that's happening is you've got a popcorn kernel down the wrong pipe, the lower reptilian brain will reach up and start strangling higher consciousness. Under pressure to survive, to breathe, everything else falls away. Welcome back to the base level of Maslow's Pyramid of Human Needs. This is why people who are drowning often drag would-be rescuers along with them. This is why waterboarding is an effective form of torture.
This same phenomena is operative at higher orders of consciousness as well. Intense and seemingly overwhelming pressure can come from peer-acceptance, from a loved one, or even from one's normally wholesome source of spiritual light and guidance. Luckily, the further you get away from bare physical survival purposes, the more likely this pressure can be dealt with via a quick bit of social or mental judo. Abusive relationships can be escaped or even mended, truly loved ones communicated with, etc.
Even better, if you're getting all fouled up at the highest levels -- which is to say confused or upset about purpose and meaning, as I have been -- resolution is just a matter of perception, perspective, organization, reclaiming the dignity of your own experience. Not that this is ever easy, mind, but it's more within my power than overcoming a physical lack of oxygen, or the like.