I was born on tax day in 1982 at 7:17am. I was my mother's most difficult birth. She almost bled to death bringing me into the world. I was always different, she told me. More sensitive, more emotional, less affectionate, so much more dramatic. My temper tantrums were severe. At age 4, I ripped my curtains down in my bedroom in a rage. My parents took me to some kind of doctor when I was young who noted I had psychriatic problems which I never found out about until much later. I lived my childhood in a fog, almost in a dream-like state, almost feeling numb about most things. I never knew true happiness. I remember telling friends at age 7 that I didn't know how to smile, that I never learned, as if that was something we had to learn. I felt I was simply not good at it. There were happy moments. Being with my grandma, my mom's mom for a week when I was 5. Making my first best friend, Hannah Hafter whom I shared everything with including our obsessions about cats. I remember Halloween always being fun and the year I dressed as princess, going to Osborne Baptist Church and winning "Prettiest Costume".
I learned to diet at the age of 12 and that it was important to be skinny and pretty. I often felt numbed but I felt my self-worth in my beauty. As long, as I was pretty, I believed all my peers would love me and boys would accept me. This was while I matured into an adolescent. But I was wrong. I was shy. I saw this that as a fault. I dreamed about being friends with the popular girls but I guess they couldn't figure me out because I never talked.
When I was 13 in the 8th grade, a new boy started going to our school. Every girl had the hots for him. He had long dark hair and blue eyes. I was determined to make him my boyfriend. Somehow it really came true. I was in heaven. For the first time in my life, I felt special and as much cared about by a boy as a 13 year old girl could be. But, by the summer, that would all be over, Gabriel was his name and he broke it off with me before 9th grade and we would soon become strangers and go in our opposite directions. Little did I know I would never be part of the popular crowd and it would haunt me for years. I soon found a new crowd, I'd like to call them the rebels of the school, nowadays, they'd be called emo but we didn't have that term back then. Skaters, punks, or alternative babes was more like it. The leader was a girl named Betsy and her boyfriend was a guy who was a human replica of Gavin Rossdale, the lead singer of my favorite band Bush who I worshipped and was obsessed with. I knew that I couldn't touch Betsy's man but I would soon become her best friend.
People always told me I had a classic exotic beauty and that's where I placed all my self-worth. I was still living in a dream-like state feeling half alive until I met one of the sexiest guys in my life I thought I'd ever met before. He had the popular "buzz cut" of the age like the 311 guys. His name was Tommy Bright. He was 2 years older and a smoker. I was only 15. He introduced me to cigerattes and marijuana. I felt alive and more happy than ever, so in love. Life or either Tommy was intoxicating me. The first times were the best. I was hooked. But our romance only lasted 4 months, he dumped me for another girl who would put out since I wouldn't.
By 16, my family was hosting our last foreign exchange student, a girl. Since I was 12, we had lived with 3 boy foreign exchange students, so maybe that's why I felt a little numb or even lost in those younger years. My mother was very much consumed by them, so raising myself mentally kind of became part of it. I knew she had her mind on alot while I was 12, 13, 14 and so on, I had to be independent and take care of myself. But by the time we got our last exchange student, I had developed a cocky selfish demeanor. Her name was Joana Salgado and was from Lisbon, Portugal. She was very sweet to me but I felt she could see right through me when I think back now and see how shallow I was. She always preferred my mom over me. Even some of my friends did. My unhappiness started to slide back into my life. Joana looked more like a woman, though she was only 17. She got all the attention and I was left in the dark.
I soon met Mickey my junior year after Joana left. She taught me a lot while she was here. She taught me to lose the big jeans and dress like a lady. It was love at first sight with Mickey for the both of us. But I still I had an uneasiness in my soul or an emptiness. My heart was still fragile from the break-up from Tommy which made Mickey and Tommy enemies for all of eternity. When I think of Mickey now, it hurts me the most, because it was I who broke it off with him after 2 years of dating. Now Tommy and Mickey are both married, but we aren't there yet.
So, my whole life a dark cloud has been over my head and I was usually unaware of it. I was often angry. But my happiest and worst year was 2000. I graduated from high school with Mickey supporting me all the way. I went to the Prom with him feeling like the rich and the famous. My gold and black gown was the talk of the night and my picture was published in 2 newspapers. Then I was going to my dream college. It excited me so much, I could hardly stand it or think. I was my skinniest, most beautiful ever in my eyes and apparently in everyone else's eyes, too. I constantly butted heads with my mom back then, she was trying to tell me beauty wasn't everything but I ignored her. That's where my stock was and I knew it.
When school started, I slept with a few sexy guys and broke it off with Mickey immediately and didn't even shed a tear until much much later. I partied like crazy and I was dating a guy from Boston until I realized close to Thanksgiving, I was failing all my classes because I simply wasn't attending them, that I was no longer sleeping at night and it had been 3 nights. I returned back to my hometown, Eden, N.C. for Thanksgiving and the worst was about to happen to me and I didn't even know it yet. With lack of sleep, I was rambling on like a banshee. At first my family thought I was just overly excited or filled with joy but as Thanksgiving drew near, I was getting worse and losing touch with reality. I started thinking I could read minds and communicate with God and therefore predict the future. Finally, on Thanksgiving, my dad knowing all too well that my psychiatric issues from my childhood had never left, took me to an ER for an evaluation to be treated by a stream of mood stabilizers, anti-psychotics and other drugs to calm me down. They did numerous blood tests and found marijuana in my blood stream and told my parents. I was so out of control, they put me in a mental ward. I was so lost, insane, and after a week, thinking I was Jesus Christ reincarnated, they let me out of the hospital, giving me the diagnosis of Bipolar I. They gave me some pills, I remember Depakote being one of them. I went back to school, with my pills after this. Afterawhile, I felt sane and back to my old self, I stopped taking the pills because they made me feel like a zombie and were making me fat.
I felt surreal after this, another relaspe on the way as the doctors called it because I stopped the medicine. I remember music was everything to me. It made my moods feel better and more extreme and took me on "trips". These "trips" would completely capture and suit everything that was going on in my life.
The saddest time in my life when I look back is Christmas 2000. I was back in the mental ward. This time I was depressed instead of estastic. But that's what Bipolar was, I was learning. Two extremes, happy & sad. It felt better to be sad or angry but I was beginning to be terrified of being happy because it led to insanity everytime. After Christmas 2000, my parents took me out of UNCG, my dream college. All that's left now is some pictures of happier days and many friends I will never see again.
The year 2001 was a whirlwind for my mind. I was in and out of hospitals the whole time up until the fall. I hated my shrinks and therapists. I hated myself because I WAS Bipolar in my head. My family didn't know much about it but my dad. His job was working with such people, so he was more sympatheic towards me than the others. My mom did a lot of research trying to grasp what was wrong with her daughter, but I was more bitter than ever. Everytime she mentioned the word bipolar, I got this horrible sick feeling in my gut knowing it was me, that I was like a monster and I yelled at her, and screamed every absurdity at her I could manage to get out. I felt cursed and blamed God. I know I always hurt my mom the most because she dugged deeper to find the answers. She loved me the most. Aaron, my younger brother, was still a child and was petrified of me and I guess my older brother was too but he like playing mean tricks on me and playing with my head when I was sick.
My parents wanted what was best for me, so they enrolled me in RCC, a community college the fall of 2001. I hated myself, the medicine made me fatter and my face looked as round as a little butterball. I looked pale and washed out. Depression had taken over my body and my eyes told it all. The new school was more damage than good. I missed my friends from Greensboro and nobody at RCC would talk to me. I made one friend and right before Halloween she bought me a pint of vodka, my favorite liquor. It was all I ever thought about to end the pain and my crippled lifestyle. I drank it all, half a bottle of rubbing alcohol, and took two bottle of sleeping pills. The rest is history. My angel mom found me. She later said there was a little voice inside her head telling her to check on me that night. They barely brought me back, the doctor's said. I was only 19. But for years, thoughts of suicide would haunt me. But this was some kind of wake-up call for me. I thought life is short, I need to get married and have a family and settle down.
So, I met my son's father Alex in November of 2001. By August 5, 2002, we were married in Pigeon Forge, T.N. Logan was conceived in October 2002. I found out on November 1st, 2002 that I was pregnant. Alex and I were drifting apart, our marriage was on rocks, we were both immature and selfish. He may have been a bit more selfish than me because the story goes like this. He was discharged from the Airforce because he was complaining of panic attacks shortly after he found out I was pregnant. He even tried to talk me into getting an abortion. But those days are so foggy now. Shortly after his discharge, he told me to go home to my mom & dad and he would go home to his dad and have all of our belongings shipped to him. He would be in Florida and I would be back in Eden, N.C. Well, to make a long story short, that young man I married got on a plane to Germany a week before Logan's birth never to see me or his baby son ever again. Alex is completely out of both of our lives now.
It has been 7 years since then. We were finally divorced in January of 2006. I paid for all of it out of my disability checks and since my mom & dad had paid for the entire wedding, they forewarned me that if I ever got married again, I would have to pay for it myself. Now, I don't blame them at all for saying that. Infact, my parents have been the most gracious people on earth in my life that I will ever know.
I am now 28 years old. For 10 years my life has been like a roller coaster. I now know that for 8 of them I never sought for help because I thought that my problem with bipolar was everyone else's fault but mine. But something changed in my life in the last 2 years. At my weakest, I lost my gramma. That was the hardest point in my life and lost my rites of my son. I knew things were at their worst, when I left home to live in a group home. It was a nightmare. But when I came back and got my own place like I always wanted in 2009, I knew I better straighten up.
I had survived over 20 or more overdoses, slit wrists and the worst a slit throat. Death was my fantasy, my seduction, my love. It was all I thought about for 8 years straight, the worst after Alex left me. But something woke me up after I survived slitting my throat in the group home in January 2009. Maybe God, maybe my guardian angel, maybe Gramma. I don't know, but the desire to die left me and I made a pact with God that I would never do it again no matter how bad things got. The desire hasn't resurfaced in over a year. Now I'm back in school, majoring in Veterinary Medical Technology, taking each day one step at a time. I'm going to better my life and not destroy it. The anger has left, too. I try to be positive and strong for my son and myself. I am not my past. I am that which has emerged from the fire.
True Story, by, Tiffany Cox 2010