This is my origin story.
This is how little teenage Pandora first discovered her super powers and learned to control them.
(jk – I still can’t control them!)
While I wasn’t officially diagnosed as bipolar until I was 23ish, its worst symptoms were at their most intense during my formative and quite delicate teenage years.
Some teens have issues with hormones and figuring out who they are.
I had issues with: hormones and figuring out who I was AND seeing demons and becoming part of a holy army AND trying to be a good little Christian, nevermind – actually a rebellious pagan witch AND liking both boys AND GIRLS.
Coming out as bisexual was a mess. Coming out as anything not-Christian was a nightmare. And the undiagnosed and untreated bipolarism-induced hallucinations weren’t exactly great for my ability to use logic.
So, please allow me to tell you about my adventures fighting demons and being part of a holy army before God disappeared and I became a mighty and powerful witch.
Itty bitty small child Pandora saw things in the fire and a shadowy dragon at night. Said dragon was golem-esque in that it was comprised of all of the stuffed animals on the shelf.
Lonely child Pandora had imaginary friends – except that they were real.
Tweenage Pandora first heard the calls of God. He said that she was to be trained to fight in a special army to fight, with special powers and a mighty swords, against the powers of darkness.
Teenage Pandora saw the demons (of course, now I know that sleep paralysis and hallucinations were what had really been going on all of those years). Teenage Pandora fought the darkness nightly – strong, and afraid, but determined. She had frequent discussions with God about what to do. He told her things. She was special. She was powerful. And then, one night, God was gone. Just, gone. It was a special kind of emptiness in her room that night, the emptiness of clear abandonment. She was 14. The demons still came. She still fought – but now she fought with her own innate powers: with witchcraft and willpower. She protected herself, knowing that she couldn’t rely on anyone else to protect her.
I separate myself from this story because, when I look back at that dark saga, I barely recognize myself. I can see the events as they happened, but there is so much that happened that wasn’t me. It was my illness. It was my trauma. It isn’t a pair of shoes I have any desire of walking in again.
To clarify, I don’t feel ashamed of myself or my craziness. But, seeking help, finding the right doctor (a long and agonizing process in itself), and getting on the right medication (a process that it luckily only took 2 tries to get right for me) is by far the best thing I have ever done for myself. I can now find the me inside my crazy shell of bipolarism.
At 15 I came out, having heard the myth that honesty is the best policy. And, to loosely paraphrase a great half-giant, half-human wizard, I really ought not to have done that. Bad move, baaad move.
So, as a young crazy queer witch, I was facing the cruel world of demons, broken hearts, academia, and a general world-wide hatred for the gays. I didn’t even get a chance to watch Buffy until I was already an adult!
It’s a wonder that I even survived. Seriously. With all of the stress I was under, I almost gave up. But, I always knew that I had to keep fighting – that it would get better someday.
And, it has. For all that the struggle is real, the world is becoming a better place. I got rid of my previously enculturated stigma on what I lovingly refer to as my crazy pills. I did, in fact, reach adulthood – and all the freedoms that encompasses – such as wine and cats.
Tweet me @PandoraCray!