Road to Recovery – Episode 07

Written by M.

** While writing this article I realized that for some reason I have trouble writing down HIS name. I’m not sure whether I’m protecting myself or him for some twisted reason. Anyway I’m done with it, he deserves no protection and especially not from me. So I did a little editing and where there used to be HE or HIM, now stands his name. I refuse to live in fear, I refuse to let Michael Joosten (yes, that’s his name) control my life. He doesn’t deserve that, I will not give him that pleasure. And most importantly, I deserve better than that!**

So I’ve told you how this one guy changed my life, you know, in the bad kind of way. I told you how I was making myself going to places where I knew Michael would be, in the hope that it would stop the fear and the panic attacks. Time to give you an update.

Making myself face Michael, putting myself in the ‘dangerzone’ isn’t easy and it takes a lot of strength every single time. It was easier in the summer, since I’m a big summer person, I’m just in a happier place. Vitamin D really helps me. What also helped was that Michael works at our only beach club. If I wanted to lie in the sun, without lying on my balcony, be around people, I went there. Strengthened by friends joining me and the warmth of the sun, I could face my fears. And whenever I saw Michael walking towards me, I would grab my friends hand, squeeze it and hold my breath. Not letting go until he passed by me. And he sure saw me, his eyes pinned on me, his expression getting darker. Or at least that’s how it seems to me. But we hadn’t had the best summer, so the times I could make myself face Michael can be count at one hand. And those rare summer days are long gone, so hadn’t seen him in a long time. Until last week when I was suddenly faces with him.

I was having a fun night out at my brother’s bar along with a friend. Not a really busy night, but a there was a great group of people and a good atmosphere. Then another group enters and as I look at them I recognize Michael’s friends. And then I see Michael, standing outside, talking to the bouncer. And for a moment, my world stops, realizing that he’s about to come in and something tells me that he will stay here for the rest of the night. My heart starts to race and I know that I have two options; having the mother of all panic attacks or try to find something to hold on to and get through this.

Then one of Michael’s friends comes up to me, a friend that I have known for a couple of years now and always been a good guy, despite his choice of friends. He comes up to me and asks me how I’m doing. When I respond, not great, he asks me why? So I tell him straight up “because Michael is standing right outside”. Which was pretty much the reason for him coming up to me, to warn me, knowing I have had several panic attacks because of Michael. He gives me a worried look and asks if there’s anything he can do for me and all I can think of is “just keep Michael away from me”.

As Michael enters the bar, my heart’s still racing, temperature is rising and I feel the panic taking over. I look around to see who I have with me, to help me, keeping me grounded. I see my friend, my brother, though he doesn’t see my panicked eyes, my brother’s co-owner of the bar. I should feel safe, but when it comes to Michael, I never feel safe and I doubt I ever will. But refuse to lose my dignity and have a panic attack in front of him. So I decide, right then and there that I won’t. Instead of getting a panic attack, I grab my drink, hold it tight and drink. After about the third Gin Tonic the panic and fear calm down a little and I’m able to relax, just a little, but I’ll take it. It sure isn’t the healthy way, but at that point I was merely trying to survive. It held me up, so I continued this strategy. Until I was drunk, very drunk, something I really regretted the next day. But it got me through the night without a panic attack, without breaking down in tears, or well, at least not so he could see. When they started closing and I was the only one left, the co-owner of the bar sat me down and said how proud he was about me making it through the night. That’s when I broke, but it was ok, at least Michael didn’t see me. We had a good talk and he wants for me to be able to move on. He will now look into getting us together to talk it out, so I could stop being afraid.

The next day I was sick as hell, one horror of a hangover, like I said it wasn’t the healthiest coping mechanism. I did get a few other praises for being strong enough to make it through. So I take my victories where I can, distractions when I need them and continue one day at a time, one step at a time. It’s a hellish ride, but I keep hoping for a good outcome.

So far for now, till next time.
Have love,

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