Casey takes a long breath in front of his computer screen, the camera on him. Jacob sits across the room, giving a thumbs up. He tries his best to block out the fact that he's there before he chickens out. His face is flushed, eyes puffy and swollen from rubbing at them. Not a single part of Casey wants to be seen so frail, but every part of him knows he has to. He allows himself another moment, then turns on the camera, an instinctive wince at the teary-eyed reflection before him, disgustingly fragile, so hopeless-looking he wants to retract, recede back into hiding and leave his criticized statement as is.
“Hello,” he finally speaks, clearing his throat, though the tightness in his chest remains unshakable. “Um… This is… not really an ideal situation, and totally not the way I wanna face you guys, all like -- sniffly and crying and overall gross, but I’ve kinda already screwed up all my other chances, so I guess here we are. I know no one was really happy with the statement I already made, because it didn’t really say anything I don’t always say. The fact of the matter is, I just had no idea WHAT to say.”
Casey looks away from the camera, his eyebrows knit together. Jacob motions his hand to urge him further. “I haven’t been eating or sleeping… basically at all, really. I can’t… bring myself to do anything.” He wipes at his eye, taking another deep breath. Still no relief, just the added symptom of a hammering heart. “There’s some days where I feel kinda okay, like at the studio or at the shop or whatever, then I go home and just something comes over me. I honestly just kept hoping it would let up and things would get better, but instead, it’s spiraled out of control into this big thing and it feels impossible right now for me to reel it in. I try and keep up with the usual stuff, with the posts, and all that but then it just gets worse.”
The last time he posted anything normal, the only response was that he was covering things up -- that he was deflecting. “To come on every single day to this just massive pile of ‘you’re not doing this right’, ‘you’re a piece of sh*t ‘cause of this or that’, it’s hard for me, but I get it. It’s really hard for me to come right out and say, hey, something is really wrong with me, I really need help. I’ve just never done that, I’ve never really had to do it, and I don’t like doing it because I don’t want people looking down on me or feeling sorry for me or anything. I hate for people to see me when I’m down, but that’s… hiding out until it passes is clearly not really working out right now.” Casey scoffs a small laugh, rolling his eyes. The knot in his throat aches more the longer he tries to speak over it -- the longer he tries to control an oncoming explosion.
“And I had this sh*t all planned out and ready, and now that I’m like… ready to go, I’m totally just wrecking it, I’m sorry, I know I sound frustrating just rambling on. I’m really sorry for everything you guys have had to see. I’m sorry to disappoint all of you, this isn’t the image I want to project for myself, or the band. I have high expectations of myself. I push myself pretty hard to act like I’m okay when I’m not, and even harder to hide myself away from everyone. I don’t like for people to have to worry or help me, I like to take on everything alone, because that’s just how I’ve always known to do it. And in that, I’ve found myself feeling pretty alone emotionally, like -- I know that sounds obvious, like of course you’re alone, you pushed everyone out, but it’s lonely for me because I just don’t feel like anyone but me can help me. But then, what happens when even I can’t help me, you know?”
Casey lowers his head. He’s given up trying to catch tears before they fall, instead letting them trickle freely down his cheek, off his chin. “I don’t really know where I was going with that. Um…” He sucks a breath through his nose. “So last time I went on the little rehab adventure, it was because I was addicted to Benzodiazepines. And I guess… my dumb perfectionist self, I just thought once I got out of there, it was okay. I felt okay, I didn’t really wanna do them anymore, and so we were good, moving on. We started tour -- basically, it was right after that, so you let the stress kicked in, and the partying started, and that kinda just… kicked it back up, and so now there’s a lot of probably funny, probably embarrassing videos of me stumbling around like an idiot on tour. I thought it could be just like a ‘I’m on vacation, letting loose and then I’ll stop’ but I see now that’s pretty outrageous. So, I will be checking in for the second time, and that means we’ll have to post-pone a few things, including the Break Sessions. It kills me to say that, because that’s totally giving up on my sense of normalcy, but right now, I can’t commit to it. This means a few things are gonna have to move around, so I hope you guys will hang with us while we figure it out.”
Casey stares out the window for a few moments in silence, his teeth grit together. “Like I said, I’m very sorry to you guys for all the weirdness. I’m sorry to my band, I know this horribly inconvenient for them, so please give them some love too because they’ve had to put up with this bullsh*t longer than anyone. And most importantly, I’m sorry to my daughter, who one-hundred percent deserves better. I can’t even fathom what this must look like to her, I know I’m like… the worst for that especially.”
He rakes his fingers through his hair, clearing his throat, lip quivering, hands trembling as every part of him desperately tries to remain composed. “We’ll be keeping you guys posted on new dates for everything. I’d like to say the new EP is still very much on track, but I understand those who are rolling their eyes at me right now for saying that. I hope… if anything, this gives some people a better explanation of what’s been going on with me.”
With a long sigh, Casey finally reaches over to his keyboard, finger hovering over the button to turn off the camera. “I’m gonna wrap this up, so… I appreciate all those who, without me having done this, have still supported me and sent well-wishes. I hope those that were disappointed and upset can forgive me, or at least understand. And lastly, I hope to see you all at my best very soon.”
The camera shuts off. Casey finally lets out every ounce of air he’s been holding in, but he doesn’t feel any better. His chest feels just as tight as before. His heart races at the prospect of his entire inner-workings being on display for anyone who cares to see them.
“You feel better?” Jacob asks from the corner of the room. He wouldn’t have invited anyone normally, but he figured if the whole world could watch it, he might as well have someone to unravel too. It’s the final symbol of his falling apart.
Casey has his elbow leaned on the desk, his head rested in his hand. “Not in the slightest, no.”