Sometimes we choose to put on a false front. We pretend to be someone we aren't. We've all done it at one time or another, I'd suppose.
But then there are other times. Times when you just aren't yourself and it's not because you chose it.
I remember when my grandma was in the hospital the final time. She was one of the sweetest women I've ever met, but they put her on some medication that totally altered her personality. She was angry and mean; it was not good. Luckily, they figured it out pretty quickly and changed her meds. She was able to be her angelic self for a while before she passed away. I'm grateful we got to remember her that way.
I've spent a lot of time wondering about the real me. Who am I really?
For so many years I let others decide what I wanted. I let others define who I was. I still hear so many of those tapes in my head when I choose something for myself that I know would not be approved of.
When I let others tell me what to do and who to be I do not believe I was myself. I believe I was an impersonator. Pretending to be what they wanted.
The real me was buried inside all along.
I have found her in the last few years. I have spent a lot of time trying to discern between the tapes in my head and the desires of my heart. I believe I'm closer than I ever have been to knowing who I really am.
But then an interesting thing happened. As part of the ongoing Russian roulette that my health has become, I tried a new medication. Xanax.
A few positives. Several negatives. Not a good fit overall. But an important lesson.
You see, it altered me. I wasn't the true me. It made me aggressive, yelling at my family for stupid little things. That was bad enough. But the true alteration was more subtle and I didn't realize it until I got off the medication.
It quieted my mind.
I always thought that would be a good thing. My brain is always working, always pondering, usually processing many ideas at once. It's difficult for me to sleep because I can't shut my brain down. It gets really annoying sometimes because I have difficulty focusing on a single task.
I thought I hated it. Until it went away.
Things were quiet. There was only one thing at a time. Nothing of much importance. Nothing that inspired emotion or deep thought. Everything was shallow, washed out, muted.
I couldn't process. I couldn't analyze. I couldn't think deeply. I couldn't feel. I couldn't write.
In short, I wasn't me.
As it turns out, I like thinking deeply. I like seeing a bird and pondering its thoughts and its place in the universe. I like wondering about others' motivations, about their psyches. I like struggling through a difficult emotional problem. I like deconstructing my past to understand my today.
Even with the noise that has resumed in my head, I am glad I chose to get off the meds. They served an important purpose and I may need them again someday. But right now they just aren't worth the cost. I'm not willing to sacrifice myself -- not when I've just figured out who that is.