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  • Writer's pictureKarl Walker-Finch

The power of words

It’s been a very difficult few weeks for me since I learned of the untimely loss of a good friend. Mentally it’s been challenging but the physical impact of it all really surprised me.

I guess it shouldn’t have, given I’ve talked openly in my book about the impact that high levels of stress have on me but it was undoubtedly a potent reminder of why I work so hard to try to keep my mind and body operating at a productive level of stress.

I think I’ve been operating on a persistently elevated level of stress for a couple of years now (no prizes for guessing why) but then the unexpected had just tipped me over the edge.

The sudden and premature nature of what happened, which I’m not going to go into here, put me in a state of shock. As the reality started to sink in I had all manner of thoughts in my mind. Could I have done something to help? Should I have gone to see him? Even in writing this blog now I’m worried that maybe I shouldn’t be doing this.

Not for the first time, I find myself in the midst of self-flagellation with the knowledge that other people have it worse than me, those who were closer to him than I was and how utterly incomprehensibly painful it must be right now for his immediate family.

The cacophony inside my head made it very difficult to think or focus on anything else and ultimately it manifested physically in the stomach cramps that stop me from doing anything else until they pass, which can be fifteen minutes to several hours later.

The overwhelming realisation through this last few weeks however is once again the power of talking. I’m blessed with a small number of close friends as well as a wonderful family who I can turn to in these times. 

Truth be told, I have no idea how this talking malarky works because talking about it didn’t change any of the facts of the situation, but it helped me immeasurably. I had so many feelings ricocheting round inside my mind and it’s as if verbalising these thoughts to a confidant, knowing I could speak and be heard, stopped the reverberations in my head, releasing the pressure valve, allowing me to grieve and process the situation.

It doesn’t change what’s happened.

It doesn’t make it hurt less.

It doesn’t even help me understand it.

It just helps. 

Just talking, without censorship. That’s it.

I’m so lucky to have people around me who I can talk to. For those in the dental industry who don’t, I once again point to Confidental (0333 987 5158), for those outside dentistry, Samaritans (116 123).

As you can imagine, I’ve not found this easy to write, but again it’s done in the hope that just maybe, it might help someone, somewhere.

Talking is free.

Listening is free.

I cannot thank enough those people I reached out to to talk things through for being there for me, for just listening. I cannot tell you how much you’ve helped me.

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