Beginning of February, 2016
As usual, Chase had gotten together with Ryan and Darrell for their guy hang out night. They always aimed to do at least one night a week to have fun and goof around about things. It was their way of cutting loose from the stresses and work, and having their guy time.
Though sometimes amongst that time, serious topics would arise, bringing forth discussion. Last month after Chase’s deal on media day, they had spent some time talking about his feelings and reaction that day. It felt good on Chase’s front to talk about with them and get it out, even after the discussion with Dale and his teammates.
Though even with that discussion, there were thoughts that lingered. There was also the odd nightmare or so that he wanted to shake badly. It was through these stresses that he had started looking into options on how to move forward the best that he could. He knew that Daytona was going to throw a whirlwind at him in the first set of events happening exactly a year ago so he was determined to figure out a way to move forward.
“So what was that text that you sent me earlier about?” Ryan asks, jogging Chase’s memory. They had gotten done playing the first round of video games on the night and were in the midst of enjoying dinner together. This was normally when some of the more ‘serious’ topics started to come out on the night.
“What secrets are you keeping from me now?” Darrell accuses as Chase rolls his eyes. “Got a gir-”
“Bubba, I’m speaking of when I told you that he may be getting here late tonight.” Darrell then freezes, shaking his head understanding. They had agreed to meet at Ryan’s apartment that night and Chase had sent a text earlier in the night that he may run late due to an appointment. He wasn’t set on totally opening up about the details, but felt comfortable in doing so with his closest friends.
“I’m still having thoughts about what happened,” Chase starts, catching their attention immediately. “I have flashbacks, nightmares – there’s times that I get spooked out. Plus, we’re set to go back to Daytona and we know what happened last year. I can’t move forward with all this on my mind over and ove-”
“Why haven’t you said something then?” Ryan cuts him off, concern filling, as Chase takes a deep breath.
“I haven’t called or said something because we could talk about it all day but was that getting me anywhere? Sure, it was helping and comforting, but I wasn’t moving forward as I wanted to.” He then glances down at the table, recalling the discussion with Dale.
Following the media day incident, Chase had returned to see Dale a couple days later, bringing up what happened. He then asked for some advice, in seeing how Dale had gone through his fair share of experiences due to Mariella and Randy, as well.
“So, what is your plan of attack?” Darrell wonders, snapping Chase from his thoughts.
“With the advice of Dale, I have started to see a psychiatrist a couple times a week to talk through things and find ways to move forward,” Chase reveals as the pair of friends think it over. It wasn’t all that surprising to Ryan considering everything that Chase had been through. He had been wondering one of their late nights together if he should’ve suggested it.
“How has that been going?” Ryan asks as a small smile forms on Chase’s face.
“It’s been tough, but it’s helping slowly. I can tell that it’s helping. We’ve talked about my nightmare and ways that I could help those. In trying some of the strategies that were discussed, they’ve been getting better. It’s just working on the flashbacks and everything else now.” The friends couldn’t help but smile in seeing the improvement in their friend and signs that he was starting to move forward.
“That’s great to hear,” Darrell offers from his perspective. “I’m glad that you’ve found something that works.”
“Hopefully the trend continues and we get to a point where it doesn’t bug you,” Ryan adds as Chase smiles. He could only hope for the same thing as he moved forward. “But the big question now is – are you ready for Daytona?”
“I don’t know, honestly,” Chase offers. “I know that I can drive. I know that I am ready to be in the Sprint Cup Series. I just don’t know how everything else will affect me. I guess there’s only one way to find out.”
“Well, no matter what happens – we’re both here for you to come see if you need us. But I have a feeling that we may be celebrating before the end of the weekend.” Chase couldn’t help but smile as he hoped for the same thing.