Monday, 20 April 2009

A Friend in Need...

Isn't it amazing, you take a week off with cold damp weather and feel diabolical with a heavy cold and today, the first day back at work, it's 17 degrees, not a cloud in the sky and I feel on top of the world! I've taken my lad back to University in Nottingham tonight and got back around 10.30 pm and tomorrow I'm driving off to the depths of sunny Lancashire, to Preston on the other side of the Penines on business for a meeting to start at 10.00 am. It's a good job I love driving, something I've been used to and find it quite relaxing.

"People say I wasted my money. I say 90 percent went on women, fast cars and booze. The rest I wasted."
George Best, Footballer.

I have had a long chat with a very good friend today on the phone. Earlier in the day she hinted she wasn't feeling too grand and I texted her later and told her I was thinking about her, hoped that she was okay and that she should take care. She did the right thing and rang and we had a long conversation of mainly me listening and passing the odd opinion now and then because she likes to hear what others think. It is clear that she has had some knocks in her life and they have started to affect her more recently than ever before.

There's a lot of slushy guff around the Internet today particularly about friendship and some of it is too sugary to be palatable sometimes, but either way, there is a fundamental truth in the fact that friendships are hugely important whether we have friends or not.

I hope that I was a good listener for her and that she got out what she wanted to say. Even though she felt her confidence was being dented, something she has worked so hard to maintain in her adult life, she has had the courage to recognise that it was being detrimental to her health and general well being at home and at work but most importantly, she is doing something about it. She is going to see a couple of people to discuss how she is feeling about things and how the situation is affecting her.

This is a mentally strong woman, intelligent and motivated. I mention this to illustrate that a dent in confidence can happen to anyone, (it's happened to me in the past.) It's hard to admit that something is affecting you, curbing your natural abilities, making you feel potentially ill. It only takes a phone call to a friend, a chat over coffee, quality time spent just saying how you feel (the circumstances are irrelevant) and it's the first step to recovery. Sometimes it is impossible to confide in a loved one or a partner even if it doesn't involve them because it can be so difficult to open up your heart and soul and the worry of being a burden can be, in itself a worry.

My plea to you is if you are having some difficulties, use friends where you can. Use professionals if you don't have a friend you can trust, but whatever you do, do something. Make a difference to your own life and those who are touched by your presence who need you to be your 'normal' self.

It's hard for roughy-toughies and people of sound and solid constitution to admit there's a problem, because they think everyone else will think they've gone soft or they can't cope. You don't have to let the world know if you don't want to, but tell someone - an individual who can at least point you in the right direction - my friend did and her courage will see her through I have no doubt.

I've been watching some old footage on YouTube of Spike Milligan, one of my all time favourite writers and entertainers and isn't it ironic that he suffered from debilitating mental illnesses at various times in his life, blurring the gap between genius and madness. He wrote one of the funniest books I have ever read and which I go to sometimes for a giggle, 'The Bible According to Spike Milligan' (Penguin Books) and here's the opening paragraph:

And God said, 'Let there be light'; and there was light, but the Electricity Board said he would have to wait until Thursday to be connected. And God saw the light and it was good; He saw the quarterly bill and that was not good.

Chat soon



  1. Your friend is very lucky to have you.
    Sadly in the last few weeks I have realised that I don't have many friends if any at all....luckily I have 'virtual' friends!

  2. Hi Magnumlady.

    I know how you feel and of course you have to define 'friends' - someone who lives in your pocket and is a bit part of your routine or someone who simply says hello and passes the time of day? I think in truth we all have fewer friends that we share any quality time with that we would like to believe until we actually sit down and try to list them - I guess that we all have more acquaintences than friends - we share that commonality.

    'Virtual' friends can be friends indeed; because of the anonymity of the Internet we tend to open up more because the confidentiality is almost assured and there will ususally be no lasting embarassment. Using gut feelings can normally weed out the weirdos.

    Honesty through such virtual friends is more likely too I imagine and sometimes that is what we need as long as it is tempered with kindness and support. I bet you have opened up a new world with your Internet exploits and I know you get a lot from it - long may you enjoy!


  3. Thank you so much for your lovely words.
    I'm 'gobsmacked' by the warmth I've been shown by my 'virtual' friends. There really are some amazing people out included.
    Take care,