Have you ever wondered why people do the sometimes seemingly stupid things they do? I am sure we all have.
Honestly, I think the majority of people are clueless as to the why themselves. I look at people sometimes and think to myself, “wow, you have no idea how much of a mess you really are”. And coming from me that is not a shallow observation. I am a mess in a lot of aspects, but then again, I think we all are in some ways.
What sets us apart from the herd is the awareness of it.
For a long time, I expended great effort hiding my imperfections from the world until one day I realized by doing so I was hindering myself from the creative insanity that I was blessed with.
I began opening up more and more about the wars going on in my head, until I began to feel comfortable going out into the world uncloaked.
I no longer needed the mask of sanity I had worn for so many years, because I have finally reached a point where I just didn’t care anymore about keeping up appearances.
Which I apparently did very well considering several of my closest friends had no idea I even battled with depression, let alone that I was bi-polar. I was diagnosed with mild cases of both, in addition to social anxiety when I was in college.
By my 3rd year, my anxiety had gotten so bad that I couldn’t even answer a question in class with out turning bright red & fumbling over my words until I was almost in tears.
My boyfriend at the time knew how I felt about therapy, so he never pushed it on me. Instead, he did his best to be supportive and ensure we had a steady supply of self-medication on hand. Mostly for me, but I am sure it helped him to keep his cool when dealing with Tiffany’s seemingly un-provoked moments of mania.
Smoking weed mellowed me out and alcohol numbed the pain, but eventually neither of those helped and I knew it was time to talk to someone. By that time, I had switched my major to Psychology and it didn’t take a genius to realize that there was something majorly wrong.
Obviously, the depression wasn’t a surprise to me as I had dealt with that for as far back as I can remember. The worst was in high school after my mom disappeared and shortly after I went through the common right of passage for any teenager, losing my first love.
All I remember from that time is feeling alone. No matter where I was or who I was with, it was always like I was more of an observer than an active participant in my own life. I hated myself, my life and at one point tried to make it all go away.
That is not something many people know and a weakness I was ashamed to admit I almost gave into.
As you all know, my grandfather and I were extremely close. You see, it was he who saved me.
There I was, laying in my bed, about to down the rest of a bottle of painkillers I stole from my grandmother and something told him to come upstairs and check on me. If he hadn’t, I may not be here today.
The other time I seriously considered leaving this world was in Seattle.
It was after I had been sexually assaulted in my apartment, something else very few people know about me.
At the time, it was the only way I could see to end the pain that had became my existence. If it had not been for the one person who was present that night, I again may not be here today.
When I opened the door to my bedroom, I had full intention of running a bath and making my exit, but something made me walk to the living room instead.
My friend, sleeping soundly on the couch awoke to an ever spiraling Tiffany sitting on the floor next to him. I had tapped on his shoulder, waited for him to awake and with tears rolling down my face I asked if he would hold me. Just for a moment, I wanted to feel like I wasn’t alone in this world.
Without question, he opened his arms and in a welcoming embrace, he held me through the night. I owe him my life. When everyone else brushed me aside, he was there to help me pick up the pieces and put my life back together.
I love that man in ways no one will understand.
Talk about a true friend and one that sadly I never truly appreciated back then. I think part of it was that I didn’t want to be reminded of that time in my life, the time I almost gave up, and so unknowingly I pushed him away as a way of burying the past.
Looking back, I think I was frightened by our friendship. For someone who tried to hide her true self from the world, the fact that someone knew me so deeply terrified me.
There was only one other person with whom I shared such a connection with and even he never knew the gravity of the emotional issues I struggled with, but I had been in love with him since I was 18 years old, so baring all could have meant losing him and that was simply not a chance I was willing to take. And therefore, there was always this % of myself I kept hidden, even from him.
I realize now that I was going about all of this in the completely wrong manner. The more you try to please the world by fitting in the box labeled normal, the more you lose yourself.
My depression wasn’t really something I talked about openly because I thought of it as a disability, but it’s not.
A friend of mine described it quiet well. He explained, after the darkness, everything seems to shine brighter. It is where we draw our creativity and in many cases our strength to manage our way through the next manic episode.
Spiraling out as we call it is like riding out a wave. If you fight it, you are working against the natural course of nature and may end up stuck beneath the undertow.
Where we are doomed to repeat the cycle over and over again until one day it breaks us.
Brave are the ones who are not afraid to admit that they have been weak. To be weak is to be human and it is what allows us to grow.
By masking ourselves from those around us, we are doing a great disservice to ourselves and halting the potential be extraordinary.
For we are the dangerously creative, our madness a gift and the world our canvas.
“Wear your tragedies as armor, not shackles.” – Anonymous