23 January, 2017
According to BT, ‘it’s good to talk’. And we all know just how ‘true’ this is. The benefits seem self-evident. There’s nothing like a good rant to let off steam. Talking is a great way to share the trials and tribulations of life. This of course includes facing and discussing problems. There is also plenty of evidence about the effectiveness of ‘talking therapies’. The NHS uses them to treat everything from stress and anxiety to addiction and phobias.
All this sounds great, but what about those occasions when you can’t face talking? Every so often, I’m simply too tired to be bothered. After all, talking is usually an active pursuit. You have to listen, think, speak, respond and so on. Sometimes I fear that the points I want to make are so complex that they might get lost in the journey from my brain to my mouth. It’s no fun when someone gets the wrong end of the stick. Like everyone, there are also subjects and moments in my life which are just too painful to talk about, let alone hear as spoken words.
People frequently lambast social media claiming, amongst other things, that it destroys conversation and encourages irresponsible communication. There seems little to dispute here. The proof is in modern parlance. To the children of the 21st Century, a ‘troll’ no longer refers to a monster in fairy tales that hides under bridges and preys on unwary goats. But, if you’re like me, then you might also wonder why so many people turn to social media when they need help, want to get something off their chest or have a story to tell.
It’s only when you pause to think, that reasons start to emerge. To begin with, the relationship between participants is different. The author chooses the topic of conversation and the reader decides whether to engage. Although the author might receive questions, it’s up to them if they answer. It’s empowering in other ways too. Things that are difficult or embarrassing to talk about can be carefully articulated. There is rarely a need to rush. The very act of writing can be cathartic. This is perhaps especially the case when it enables you to reflect openly on a difficult experience or stressful time, without the emotional investment that is often required doing this face-to-face, with people that you know well. Also, depending on where the writer shares their work, it’s possible to connect with far more people than you ever could through talking. This is possibly why Colostomy UK’s closed Facebook group is so popular. People can use it to ask for advice or to share an experience, confident in the knowledge that their readers are likely to be both sympathetic and well-informed about the subject matter.
But Facebook and Twitter doesn’t always fit the bill. There are occasions when you need a little more space to express yourself and are not necessarily looking for the immediacy that these mediums offer. This is why we’ve decided to start a blog on our website. We are hoping to use it to share stories and discuss issues that are topical or likely to be of interest to ostomates. We also plan to host guest bloggers. So, if on reading this you feel that you have something that you’d like to say, then please get in touch!
Richard works for Colostomy UK as a Writer and Researcher