A Little Bit of Skating and a Whole Lot of Fear

A Little Bit of Skating and a Whole Lot of Fear
At the beginning of month 5, my dad was really at his wit's end about my condition and there had been countless fights between us. I was grateful to have a place to stay, but I couldn't help but be resentful at the way I was yelled at on a rather consistent basis. The worst part was I could barely talk, so I had no way of verbally defending myself. I felt like a wounded, lost puppy with his heart in shambles all the time. After one particurlarly nasty argument, my dad called my mom to see if I could stay with her for a week so we could have a break from each other. Thankfully she agreed. It would be a much needed "vacation."
As I arrived at her house, I instantly felt a tiny sense of relief because at least I knew I wouldn't be screamed at or belittled for a week. I of course brought my prized possessions (my guitar and my skateboard) and my goal was to head up to the skatepark down the street in the morning time while no one was there. I still couldn't handle being around anyone, so I had to make sure I woke up early to try and beat any kind of crowd.
As a writer, I get frustrated because there really is no way to describe the amount of courage it used to take me for me to just leave my house and skate one block over to the park. It was fucking HORRIFYING! I just prayed to GOD that nobody I knew would come up and see me in such bad shape. It was oh so humiliating to run into people this way. I remember vividly running into my ex fiance' at the treatment center while I was still tapering. I couldn't even look her in the eye. Luckily, she had been through withdrawals herself a few years back so she had some empathy, but it was still a dehumanizing experience.
Anyway, I would slip on my headphones, turn them up all the way up to try to take my mind off the fear, make sure there were no people around, and skateboard for dear life to the skatepark. Once I got there, it felt good to be on old stomping grounds and to be able to get into a good rhtyhm of tricks on the ramps and rails. However, I was floored with sadness because past memories of skating with old friends flooded my mind, and I just couldn't believe my life had turned out this way. Nobody deserves this kind of inhumane torture I was experiencing. But I only had a week to enjoy the skatepark before I had to go back to my dad's house, so I wanted to make the most of it.
I was right in the middle of doing some tricks on the mini ramp when I heard someone yell out the words I feared and dreaded so much: "Oh shit! Justin! What's up man? Long time no see!" I looked up and saw an old skating buddy. I can't remember his name, but it was an autistic kid I used to skate with back in the day, and I always used to enjoy his company. I knew he wasn't very keen on picking up social ques, so hopefully he wouldn't notice what a disaster I was.
"Oh whats up man, yeah it has been a long time. It's good to see you." I responded shakily, trying my best to muster the old confident tone of voice I used to project effortlessly. It was hard to look him in the eyes because I didn't want him to see how my big my pupils were from the chemical anxiety. I felt like a looked like a monster. I did my best to focus on my skate tricks and not give into panic. As a group of kids pulled up to the park, I began to feel like this would be easier said than done. I couldn't believe how AFRAID I was! I mean it didn't make any sense! These were just little harmless kids who wanted to watch me skate and here I was shaking in my boots as if one of them was going to grow fangs and eat me. Once I landed the tricks I set out to land, I quickly told my friend goodbye and skated back to my house as fast as I could. On my way there, a garbage truck pulled up beside me, and the noise the engine nearly made my heart jump out of my chest. The world was closing in on me and I desperately needed to make it back to my mom's house.
Once I made it inside I sprawled onto the couch and cried. I couldn't believe that THIS is what I had become! How was I supposed to LIVE like this!??? After a long hard sob I did the only thing I knew how to do anymore and that was pull out my guitar. The movement of my fingers almost matched the relentless movement of my distraught thoughts and it continued to serve as an outlet for my restlessness and pain. My mom came home from work and I was relieved to see her, although I had no desire to be social or make small talk.
My cell phone rang and I saw that it was my dad on the other end. I didn't want to pick up, but he kept on ringing so I figured it must be important.
"Hey Justin, I think I got you a job working with your cousin Darwin!"
The words opened up a flood of terror to my bones.  Apparently my cousin owned his own crabbing business and wanted me to work for him on his boat.  Now ususally the news of a new job opportunity when one doesn't have a job, makes for a happy occasion. However, this was just the opposite. How in the hell was I supposed to keep a job and carry out tasks for another human being when I was a walking talking panic attack.  Learning guitar and facing down my downs by myself was one thing, but going out into the world as an agoraphobic mess was nothing short of a disaster.  How was I supposed to be able to process information and follow instructions when my brain felt like it was being ripped apart in a thousand different directions and constantly bleeding?
I tried to explain to my dad how unbearable it is to be around people when you can't properly defend yourself with words or make jokes or do anything remotely close to resembling human nature.   I had already lost one job in this  withdrawal process and I wasn't sure if I could handle the humiliation of losing another.
According to my dad though, it was either take the job or move out. Of course I had nowhere else to go so I had to accept the offer. I logged onto Facebook and posted the "good news."  Ever since I had checked into rehab, I was transparent about everything I was going through with my friends on social media, which turned out to be an undescribably amazing decision because my friends were SO supportive. I can't help but tear up a little when I think back on it. I wouldn't hesitate to describe my symptoms of "hornets flying around in my head" and "living in sheer terror"  and would write about it often for the world to see.  I had people who I had never personally met before reach out to me via messenger and let me know that they were rooting for me and that I wasn't alone.
This meant the WORLD to me because I had always been severely ashamed of my anxiety issues in the past. I tried to keep them hidden from the world by any means necessary out of fear that people would judge me and deem me a weak person.
So to say I was 'relieved" when this wasn't the case is an understatement. Like I said, peopIe I had never met before would explain to me how they suffered from depression and were fighting the same fight.  It filled me with such gratitude that they would send me their sentiments and compassions. That old saying "You never know what someone else is going through, so always be kind" has much MUCH deeper meaning and relevance in my life now because of this experience. For that, I suppose I should also be grateful.