Day 17: If bipolar was a real thing or being, what would it look, sound and behave like?
I’ve never really been very good at these ‘visualize your illness’ exercises. Not because I’m not creative, but because I fail to see what good it can do. A mental illness isn’t a real, living and breathing thing, nor is it something that can be picked up on a CT scan or ultrasound. It is invisible. It cannot be seen. Only felt. So what is the point of visualizing your illness as a creature or being; it’s not going to help, it’s not going to change a damn thing.
But. In the spirit of answering the prompts in this challenge to the best of my ability, let’s see what I can come up with.
Would bipolar be a monster? All slime and fangs and grotesque, dribbling orifices? Would it be a chirpy little woodland-esque creature? All fur, blinking eyes with a cute squeaky voice? Or would it be something from the realm of mythology? A hybrid animal with the body of a lion and the head of a hawk?
Bipolar would not be any of these things.
Bipolar would be a shape-shifter.
In depression mode bipolar would be a burrowing creature; all hardened scales, tough claws and unblinking, blind eyes. Imagine a mole the size of a wombat. A creature destined to spend its days deep beneath the earth, living a solitary, lonely life. A life so unremarkable that no-one has even thought to name the creature. It just exists. Seen fleetingly when it rises to the surface to forage for bugs to eat or grass to nibble on.
But in manic mode bipolar would be something else entirely; a humanoid with the physique of a supermodel, all hardened abs, rippling biceps and a long, flowing mane of hair. It’s flesh would be impenetrable. It’s skin immune to anything man-made, including the mythical silver bullet of werewolf slaying fame. It would be a creature of tremendous intelligence, highly manipulative and driven by a firm, unwavering belief in its own superiority. Never before has a creature existed as perfect as this. Physically, mentally and emotionally it is unlike anything that has ever existed. Unique.
But when it least expects it, it can change back to the burrowing, nameless creature that is rarely, if ever, noticed. It’s life once again devoid of point; endlessly burrowing through the earth in its quest to remain as unseen and irrelevant as it believes, deep down, that it is.
Such is the heady life of the bipolar creature; nothingness and solitude one day, perfection and partying the next.