A Return to Skateboarding

A couple of years ago I went down a huge mental breakdown. I lost parts of my identity. I lost parts of my life, and I nearly took my life. I didn’t really know what to do or where to go. I just floundered around while around me a whirlwind of chaos flowed.

I eventually returned to my home town and started to rebuild my life. I still had no idea what to do with my life or how I was going to rebuild it. I still struggled amnesia and putting things together coherently and logically.

My therapist recommended I try skateboarding again as my identity seemed tied up there and the ensuing years when I had it forbidden to me seemed to bring out my depression.

I thought what the hell, it might just be like riding a bike. Given that I have never stopped riding a bike and still worked in the bike trade I might have needed a better analogy.

So, I started to skate again. It was hard.

I decided to skate transition as that is what I always skated before. I don’t think I’ve ever even landed a kickflip on flat. All I cared about before was carving and slashing my way around bowls.

I could still hit certain grinds and certain lines, the muscle memory is deeper than my amnesia could cancel out. The problem was dropping in. Dropping in slowly became a huge battle with anxiety for myself. Honestly, I could fear the sense of dread building up, and I could feel myself tremble, even on the smallest of transitions.

It became a battle, made worse by that fact I can drop in. I don’t even remember learning to drop in, but I don’t think I went through the whole issue of fear I was going through now. I stopped going to the skatepark.

Then 10 months ago I decided maybe I don’t have to skate bowls. Perhaps I could learn to skate in new ways and use this as a pathway to building a new me. Again it was a struggle, it was a fight as here I am getting near 40 and for all intents and purposes learning to skate again. I sucked.

I am partly putting this down to getting overweight, I tended to comfort eat a lot. It seems to have slightly skewed my balance. Then there was also the point that I had never really learnt to skate flatground or street when I was young. It never seemed to fit in my punk as fuck lifestyle view at that point.

Again I withdrew, I became too self-conscious and everything became a battle. I hid away and started to follow old negative habits. I knew I had to break the chain. I decided to try some long distance cycling again.

The problem is I get on the bike and set a tempo, once I have set a tempo my head starts to ponder. The pondering then starts to really eat at me and slowly I start to drive myself crazy. The best thing about skateboarding was that it drew my whole concentration. I couldn’t just go out and phone it in.

I realized I needed to skate again. It was going to help me beat my anxieties and stop me from hiding and just making my depression even worse.

I’ve gone out, and I have concentrated on manuals and have now started to take them along and down things I never thought I would. The endorphins rushing through my head and body left me tingling and excited.

I learned how to slappy, there is so much joy to be found in doing slappies. Even a horrible Willy grind can make your day. Now I want to learn various tricks I never did when growing up.

The problem is I mob my kickflips, I know it is an issue and I know it is going to be a fight to remedy my battle, but it is better than sitting in the house avoiding the world.


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