A Strange Friend Indeed!

23 Jul 2019
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I think everyone should have a friend like Raz.

Well, perhaps not everyone. Not everyone would be prepared to put up with his eccentricities, but I think many of us would appreciate someone who challenges us, almost daily, to reach, to strive, to give more than we think we can and to achieve what we never would have considered for ourselves; someone who shifts us outside our comfort zone into strange territory.

We had a strange and silly conversation last year; a competition to see who could come up with the most "twelves". Twelve Days of Christmas, Twelve Dancing Princesses, Twelve Disciples and so on. Out of this, came my challenge: I was to write a series of twelve short stories, one for each month of the year. I took on for myself – or perhaps the stories dictated it to me - the themes of death and rebirth; endings and beginnings. Each story is exactly a thousand words, meaning the writing is succinct and tight and it's some of the best work I've ever done.

He's got me writing poetry again; he's got me reading Middle-Welsh Arthurian legends as I try to solve a certain puzzle; he's got me designing and drawing and painting. I even dressed up as the octopus witch Ursula from the Little Mermaid and filmed myself singing along to the song "Poor Unfortunate Souls!" Now, that bit of video footage will never be shown to a public audience!

Sometimes it's frustrating. Sometimes I tear my hair out and yell at him. "Why can't you be like normal people? Why can't we have a normal friendship?"

And the answer to that is, even if there were such a thing as "normal", Raz could not fit in that box, and I would not love him as I do if he did. Raz is not "normal". But then, neither am I – and neither are you.

People are just – people. We can categorise ourselves into Introverts and extroverts, hunters or gatherers, an ESTJ on the Myers Briggs scale, or a Type 9 on the Enneagram; but with each categorisation we merely further confirm our uniqueness.

You are here, reading this, probably because you self-identify as having depression, or bipolar disorder. But you are unique in the way you exhibit that depression or bipolar disorder – and unique in ways far beyond that.

We all want our "tribe", the people who are "just like us", the people we can identify with, who share the same interests and values, but we cannot expect the people in our tribe to be our identical twins.

Sometimes it is good to look beyond our immediate horizons and engage with the strangers out there. There are people out there we might view as very strange indeed; we might be nervous or even fear them, but they are just - people.

A stranger might not be a friend you have not yet met, but they might just, maybe, perhaps, become a very strange friend indeed.

Mary

A Moodscope member.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

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Comments

Ruth

July 24, 2019, 6:25 a.m.

I shared a picture of a minion on facebook with the words, "Someone just called me normal. I have never been so insulted in my entire life". I am never normal. I am just me. XX

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Lex

July 24, 2019, 7:23 a.m.

Wonderful, Ruth! Two insults get me: 1) normal or 'just like everybody else', and 2) 'you haven't changed at all!' Here's to being us, and to entertaining strangers! xx

Valerie

July 24, 2019, 12:02 p.m.

Someone once described me to another as "very respectable".She thought it would be helpful,but I was soo hurt.

Katie

July 24, 2019, 2 p.m.

Crikey Valerie! Someone recently described me to someone else as intense. I didn't like that either! Xx

The Gardener

July 24, 2019, 3:43 p.m.

Being called 'bourgoise' by Workers Revolutionary Party students at Uni got me. Best, being described in an article as 'Une cinquaintaine distinguee' been my objective ever since, over 3 decades later. 'Swallowed the dictionary' don't know how to take! xx

Katie

July 24, 2019, 6:41 p.m.

Swallowed the dictionary, I think that's flattering! I work in a primary school and am always praising children for their 'beautiful vocabulary'! Because I'm so relieved to hear some variety. Distinguée, very nice!

Katie

July 24, 2019, 6:44 p.m.

Lex, I get the opposite from a friend: 'you're like a completely different person'. This since I recovered from a mh breakdown. She means to be nice, but I feel she is casting aspersions!

Mary Wednesday

July 24, 2019, 10:07 p.m.

I love all of these!

Katie

July 24, 2019, 7:17 a.m.

Agree, being strange is good, as is having strange friends! Xxxx

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Lex

July 24, 2019, 7:23 a.m.

Hi Katie... perhaps being strange attracts strange friends? lol xxxx

Katie

July 24, 2019, 11:25 a.m.

I expect so Lex!

Mary Wednesday

July 24, 2019, 10:08 p.m.

Well, I LOVE my strange friends

Lex

July 24, 2019, 7:22 a.m.

Some strangers are angels... and some angels wear heavy disguises!

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Mary Wednesday

July 24, 2019, 10:08 p.m.

True, dat!

The Gardener

July 24, 2019, 7:36 a.m.

Odd thing - today I had a post to a blog I wrote on 10/08/18 - from Tester' just saying 'Testing'. Anybody else met such a thing? Caroline seems to have successfully dealt with a spate of 'weird' posts.

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Caroline Ashcroft Moodscope

July 24, 2019, 7:52 a.m.

Hi TG, the guys that are producing the app are 'testing' messages so please ignore them! Carolinex

Orangeblossom

July 24, 2019, 7:47 a.m.

Hi Mary, many thanks for this stimulating & energising blog. I have some unique friends. I also realise that I come across better on-line than in person to Person Contact. But maybe that is an exaggeration?

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Jul

July 24, 2019, 8:44 a.m.

I feel the same Orangeblossom. I don't think it's an exaggeration at all, but an interesting observation which could be the subject of a blog?! Jul xx

Mary Wednesday

July 24, 2019, 10:10 p.m.

We shall have to meet, OB. Then we shall see. I reckon you will be just fine!

Orangeblossom

July 24, 2019, 7:49 a.m.

A friend who has known me for years, describes me as her little terrier friend. She is nearly 6’ tall & I’m just about 5’.

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Katie

July 24, 2019, 11:21 a.m.

This made me laugh out loud! I have been described as a battle axe (not terribly flattering!) and a blue stocking (fine by me) but usually it's 'eccentric', which is probably true. I kind of think I'm normal and other people are weird!

The Gardener

July 24, 2019, 3:45 p.m.

Heard a quote somewhere, Katie 'All the world's daft except thee and me, and thee's a bit wanting'. Anybody else hear the like of this?

Katie

July 24, 2019, 5:46 p.m.

I love that Gardener! Perfect! Xxxx

Mary Wednesday

July 24, 2019, 10:11 p.m.

Gardener - I love that.

Liz

July 24, 2019, 9:07 a.m.

Hi Mary... two compliments I had which relate to this.... a chap I used to work with said "you're one of the weird"... at the time I took objection to this and said so. Now I completely understand it. This chap used to come into work after having cycled with the tighest, whitest shorts you could ever seen. He was told off for that. I saw him at the local singles club (a long while ago before when I was single) and he was dancing wildly, curls going everywhere... he looked like some sort of mad Shakespearian character and I felt some kind of attraction for him... I went past him and said something like "aren't you exhausted yet" and he said "try me" - I didn't.... everyone was giving him a wide berth. They used to put on a free spread for lunch at this place and I went up to him and said "didn't I see you at the singles club last Friday"... "sssshhh" he replied. People were terrified of him but I could see something of myself in him. We never went out romantically but did have a few lunches together so there was a kindred spirit-ship. Then years later I met my best friend... whose children call me "Mad Liz"... there is a Liz that phones up for my best friend and she is "Normal Liz". How grateful am I for this moniker!! Love to you and thank you for your delightful blog and your wonderfully wacky friend who continues to challenge you and brings out the best in your writing and is life enhancing. He sounds like a radiator... not a drain! x

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Mary Wednesday

July 25, 2019, 4:01 a.m.

What a great story, Liz! And, yes - Raz is never a drain: he's too stimulating!

Demonica

July 24, 2019, 11:11 a.m.

Ha ha, I read your blog with interest. I did not read this purely because I have any mental health issues you suggested but because the head line sounded interesting. People are strange in general, don't think you or I are perfectly normal because we're not. Who is normal ha ha, I know I'm not and Im not a people person. I'm often asked to go and help our local community gardeners I always decline as I'm not a people person. I don't mind one to one but not groups, I've always been a loner in life, a sit on the fence kinda girl, but strangely enough I always come across the outgoing type of people, so you may find me strange as I'm not like you or them. Over the years leading up to my 50th birthday I've been alone and hate been amongst others, I can deal with people on short term basis. Ive been told I'm to independent, well I try to be at least, I ask nor want for nothing. I've had points in my life where I to was out going but found I'm better alone as it causes less drama and complications. From a distance I find people interesting. I like to read people and people watch. It's safer at a distance then been to close to others. Many may think I'm strange as I hate today's technology, it's getting far to enhanced, we throw things away when it could be re used for something else, we spend far to much time on this Web we have created, people spend to much time playing games and not socialising, to much time on fb and forums like this. I hate emails, phones, gadgets, no wonder why we have mental health issues and other health conditions, if people just put their gadgets down and did something else instead we wouldn't have these issues. I don't post often as I have other things to fill my time with, yes it takes me time to do them but I try to do what I can. Just because I'm disabled doesn't mean that your world ends here. If you don't try you haven't given in. So yer I'm strange and I don't care if I do appear strange to you or to others, my life does not evolve around modern technology, nor will it be. People find others strange as we are not like them or others we know. Take care and happy other strange meetings.

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Maggie May

July 24, 2019, 12:06 p.m.

Hi Demonica, I too suffer technology rather than embrace it and agree about the social implications for the generations knowing nothing else. Babies given tablets to keep them good whilst parents eat dinner without communication with their child!! I don’t think you are strange but I do think that shutting yourself away is a waste - I do not know how disabled you are or what experiences you have had that make you want to . You are keeping your friendship and experiences from people who could benefit and in turn make your life more fulfilling. I agreed with most of what you said and am not dissimilar to you but have found a way through. I hope this doesn’t sound trite or condescending - it’s not meant as such .

Jul

July 24, 2019, 2:28 p.m.

Demonica. Stay well. You have worked out a strategy for your survival in a very tech, face fits world and I admire you for that. It would be good to hear more from you when you choose to "put pen to paper". Jul xx

Mary Wednesday

July 25, 2019, 4:04 a.m.

It is fascinating to hear from you, Demonica. Like Jul, I hope we will hear more from you!

The Gardener

July 24, 2019, 3:49 p.m.

'Tester' caused a mini panic. I have lots of cold calls, one, I pick up the phone, silence, the phone replaced after exactly 11 seconds. This happened at 11.30 last night - any calls at that time of night cause panic. I had 9 testers in 'Spam'.

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Katie

July 24, 2019, 6:45 p.m.

Tester could use less alarming words!

The Gardener

July 24, 2019, 3:55 p.m.

Our friends have been wide-ranging, few were approved of by my ma-in-law. Should have been sorry for her really, her choice of the 'acceptable' was so narrow. When some of our wilder friends got married their wives saw us as 'disreputable'. One friend's father was a political agitator - his uncle a general,daughter's married heirs. Poor Andrew begged a bed in our cottage, hire of morning suit and reception at the Hurlingham Club too much. Thanks Mary.

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Molly

July 24, 2019, 11:49 p.m.

I’m in a terrible place, can anyone help

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Nicco

July 25, 2019, 1:07 a.m.

Sorry, Molly, only jist found this. Are you awake & online? I'm here for you.x

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Nicco

July 25, 2019, 8:15 a.m.

Molly, are you ok? I've been in a difficult place for the last few days, too. Maybe we could both hold hands & each of us go through our respective difficulties together? I'm thinking of you & sending strengthening vibes across the ether, & also a gentle hug x Nicco x

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Molly

July 25, 2019, 6:48 p.m.

Thank you Nicco, I must have made about 20 calls in the last two days and got no help. No resources they said short staffed. Eventually they sent an ambulance but I couldn’t bear the wait at the hospital so I’m back home. I’m not doing too good but I’m determined to be strong because there is no proper help out there. The frustration just makes me more unwell. Sending hugs and love xx

Nicco

July 27, 2019, 6:11 a.m.

Its awful when you reach out for professional help but nobody seems to want to know - it makes one feel even more desperate. I do hope the help you need comes soon. x

Marquesite

July 26, 2019, 1:29 p.m.

'The Greatest Showman' film celebrates modern day DIVERSITY, and this is a fabulous achievement for our community together. All citizens should strive for best-practice improvement of history that put-down words like "strange" are in fact derogatory. Similar words negatively used could be "mental"/ "spastic"/ "weird" etc. What is strange to one is interesting to another, positive. Yes people are just people. There is even a marketed graphic design brand "Emily the Strange" out there that makes success-fullness out of strangeness! I love graphic design like Miffi or Bing characters etc, it brings me joy. However this is what is ideal for society to uphold. ...I think with emotions in romantic relationships if I was a Nurse to help Moodscope members, digressing, "CONTAINMENT" of personal emotions might serve useful when we all want to make sly/ snidely remarks/ jibes to one another, I don't know whether this will help or I too should always practice 'containment' of your feelings. Everybody always has feelings don't they, = hard-work!! COMPOSURE? Like drawing a square box on your feelings that sometimes has their place but sometimes to stop. (A semi-muzzle?! : D The key to life is always BALANCE.) Making people pay the price. The not-known Raz seperate/ boundary, comes across disloyal, shaming, in need of several lie downs in Life of Pi, attention-seeking, thinking he is more important than he actually is, eccentric and with a crazy obsession to religion ie: whacky -taking spiritualism too far maybe for a reaction/ rise? Best to ignore strategy, but if you two (Mary and Raz) are "strange friends" well that is wonderful, = enjoy the stars and stripes fun of it. Number 13 is unlucky so I avoid that, too odd numbers. : ) I feel ashamed for speaking this paragraph. I think you have a charming husband = much better, but the animals puppetry of 'Life of Pi' recently on at our theatre, the story does interest me! x x Strangely, I do not like The Greatest Showman film but I have watched a clip of your Ursula suggestion from The Little Mermaid film and I have enjoyed 'joie de vivre' many thanks by it - I smiled. The main thing I want to tell you all about is non of this mumbo-jumbo but the WHITE BUTTERFLY! The white butterfly is my current new best-friend. It is not strange just good company. It is a true story from nature, not human. The past couple of days my eyes keep watching a dancing white butterfly in the air and I really get joy from it. Because my heart is filled pleasantly with MARY for a while, this dancing travelling flight everywhere. I can forget about Raz's confusing antagonizing twists between "KARLEE and CARLA" from Corination Street stories. I can leave that mess behind and enjoy a moment of bliss with Que. I call it Que after the song by Doris Day. Sera sarah. Go Mary Ursula! X

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