Breathe in. Breathe out.

I don’t feel as many jitters today. But it wasn’t an easy start for the day for me.

On the way back home from the clinic today, I freaked out twice. The first time was when a car nearly ran a stop sign on our right side. The second time was when we were close to home and the car nearly backed into us. I was relieved when the trip was over. The road sucks.

I did get home to this, though:

It’s rare for me to get snail mail but an old friend (I know her online as Riven) from way back in the anime message board days (I know!) sent me a card and a letter. It immediately lifted my spirits.

Riven was one of the people (there were quite a few of you; thank you for that) that suggested Headspace. It’s a meditation app and it definitely helped me relax a little. And I cannot thank the friends that have checked in with me from time to time. Everybody has busy schedules but I’m so glad they took the time to even send me a text, tweet, DM, FB message, etc. Their support means everything to me.

I also called a hotline another friend from the anime community suggested. It was good for me to talk it out and the woman on the hotline was very good to me as well. Coupled with the physical therapy, I’m currently feeling the least tense since the accident. The sports that are going on (WNBA Playoffs, bad NFL Thursday night game, MLB regular season homestretch) have also served as a great distraction.

But once again, I don’t look forward to going on the road tomorrow. Still, I’ll call this day a win.

Now I need a looooong winning streak like that Major League Baseball team from Cleveland.

I haven’t gone a day without feeling stiff. Without feeling tense. Without feeling anxious.

It’s like I’m eternally nervous.

It probably didn’t help that I tried to keep up with the news on social media today. I still fear about being targeted. The whole Jemele Hill issue has made me very irritated. I just wanna yell at idiots today. And I’m not the yelling type, which basically tells all of you the issues that I’m having. It’s a stressful world. And it’s filled with a lot of stupid people.

Anyway, I’m trying to weigh my options. One friend suggested I should seek out a PTSD specialist. That could be very fruitful. Another suggested I should look into anti-anxiety medications.

I don’t do very well with medications. I try to avoid pills if I could.

Maybe those are quicker fixes to what I’m having. Or I could try to ride it out. But let me tell you all about this: it’s REALLY not a great feeling to be anxious all the time. I don’t like that I’m nervous out on the road.

The first friend earlier suggested that maybe a vacation (a change of scenery, really) is what I need. Hey, guess what? I hate flying, too. And this was BEFORE the episode. I am terrified of heights. The reason I drove to Oregon back when I moved in 2014 was because I didn’t want to fly. The way things are now, I feel like it’s a miracle I drove to Oregon (and THEN back in 2015).

I’m just a huge mess at the moment. It’s tough to see any light at the end of the tunnel when I can’t even find my way towards there.

My body continues to be really stiff.

In fact, it’s not really great when I’m not interacting with anybody. Trying to sleep last night was a huge chore. I found myself trying to catch my breath at one point. It was really stressful.

But yeah, not talking to anybody isn’t ideal. It’s tough to shake that tense feeling. And my heart continues to beat on a rapid pace.

Physical therapy today was what I needed, though. I was talking to the doctor earlier about my history with car accidents; the clinic I go to was the same I went to after that horrific car accident I had in October 14, 2004. The doctor joked that I practically live in the clinic and I answered back with, “Well, I take residence here every 13 years so I’ll be back in 2030 as well.”

Right now, I operate much better when I’m interacting with people. Probably not a huge group, though. Nevertheless, Nick and I hung out earlier in the evening for a little BS session. Again, activities like this for most people are normal; for me, it’s an extremely important part of my healing.

But I still don’t take well on the road. Try as I might, I still feel very anxious being on the road. I hope this lessens every day.

It’s not helping my blood pressure, either.

Thank goodness for elliptical runs, though. I can’t wait to feel strong again.

Patience is a must right now.

My neighbor, who I give rides to when I can to help out in errands, came over earlier in the morning.

NEIGHBOR: “Sorry about what happened to you.”
ME: “It’s okay.”
NEIGHBOR: “Anyway, you think you can give me a ride to…”
ME: “I just got in an accident. You know that, right? I’m not driving anywhere.”

Some people just don’t think, sometimes.

Sunday started out with a nice elliptical session. And thank goodness for sports. They distracted me for most of the day. I’ve been critical of the NFL as of late but I was glad to watch the first Sunday of the season. I also had alternative programming. The U.S. Open of Men’s Tennis was going on; Rafael Nadal won his 16th grand slam. And the WNBA Second Round was on as I watched the Washington Mystics and the Phoenix Mercury advance to the semifinals.

I feel like I can get back to The No-Look Pass pretty soon and start writing about the NBA again. I know some of you want some NBA content from me but, please, let me get through this ordeal before I can think about even doing anything else.

What I’m not ready for yet? Driving. Heck, I don’t even feel fully equipped to be on the road, period.

My friend picked me up so we can hang out for video games (because we’re 12), dinner, and sports/life talks. Just like in the old days, I’ll refer to him as Beerman. Anyway, Beerman told me that it’ll be okay as I sat in silence half the time. I closed my eyes for the most part during that three-mile trip. Isn’t that ridiculous? What’s so routine for 99 percent of the people is frightening to me. It’s just a three-mile trip. Beerman did his best by talking to me about Sunday’s sports.

We arrived at Nick‘s place (some of you may remember him as one of my co-podcasters from years ago). For the first time in a while, I felt relaxed. This was my first normal in what seemed like forever. I forgot about Tuesday’s events for that period. This was my good place.

Until we had to go to Wingstop for food. Again, the trip wasn’t very far but I was frozen once again. Obviously, the trip went well but this is what I have to deal with for the time being. After dinner, we chilled for about another hour before Beerman took me home.

I’m a guy who would rather drive than be a passenger. I apologized to Beerman for having him pick me up but he told me that it wasn’t a problem. He also told me not to force anything and to go by my own timetable and not anyone else’s. I felt relieved and thanked him.

I’m back to that tense feeling. But I know that being active (working out) helps me out. I’ll try to do it as much as I can without hurting my tricep, knee, and back further.

The road to my normal is difficult.

A few hours after Mom and I had that little tiff, I had a moment with her and I broke down. Mom was so confused on why I bawled. Then she told me what I already knew: she was just concerned about me.

I’ll say that it was a good cry. And afterwards, I was distracted for most of the day as my adorable nephew and nieces caused chaos as only they could.

I’m also overwhelmed by the fact that some people take their time to encourage me to get through this. They have no idea how much this means to me.

It encouraged me enough to not make Saturday a loss. I went back to schedule and did my arms exercises (bicep curls) and the elliptical. I’m looking into doing some yoga to help heal my back. While I am trying to get back into the swing of things, I also can’t be reckless with it. I can’t do any lifting or exercises that would compromise my back.

I’m also nursing a bad left knee and a bad right tricep. But I say that still doesn’t compare to my mental makeup.

After the family left, I felt tense again. Later on today, my friend is picking me up so we can hang out. This will be another test for me because I’m pretty afraid to be on the road. But those two friends know what I’m going through and they’ve been nothing but supportive.

The goal right now is to just get back to my normal. I want to feel relaxed. I want my heart to beat normally again. I want to be able to manage my physical pains (it would be great if I can feel 100 percent again but I’m not sure if that will ever happen). And I want to be able to be on the road, whether as a driver or a passenger, without being terrified.

One step at a time.