We love to classify things, organising the world into neat little boxes.
But then along comes the mule.
There were the zoologists, secure in the knowledge that they’d classified horses and donkeys as separate species, then they turned their backs just for a minute and – what do you know – a male donkey gets jiggy with a female horse and around a year later out pops an in-betweeny, a mule.
I’ve obviously led a sheltered life, as while researching this, I learnt that the opposite, er, coming together of a female donkey and a male horse (you are keeping up, aren’t you?) may lead to a rarer offspring known as a hinny.
The thing is, our neat little classification systems often break down, and insisting that everything has a box and that everything is in its box may lead us astray at times.
I thought of this during a fascinating conversation with people who supposedly have the same bipolar disorder as me.
Although our experiences had much in common, there were whole chunks that were very different from each other.
When you face your own challenges with mood, it’s tempting to believe that someone else who’s gone through similar times will know exactly how you feel.
But very likely they won’t, and can’t.
It’s why it’s so important to use your best efforts to make sense of your own feelings. Others can definitely help, but when it comes to true understanding, there’s only one real expert.