Divorce, Alcohol and Rough Patches – Overcoming Adversities – IC040

[Trigger warning: this episode discusses topics related to mental health, depression, self-harm, alcohol abuse, and suicide.]

Humans first, Dentists second. We will all have personal rough patches during our career – but how does this impact our work and our patients?

A Protruserati shares his experiences of a toxic marriage, self harm and alcohol dependence – I am so grateful he anonymously shared his valuable insights and lessons for dentists seeking to prioritise their mental well-being.

Watch IC040 on Youtube

Throughout the episode we touch on coping strategies, emphasising the value of exercise and physical activity for mental well-being. We also explore the guest speaker’s path to recovery from alcohol abuse, including their positive experience with the Allen Carr course, which aimed to change their perception of alcohol. We delve into their experiences with counselling and highlight the importance of being in the right mindset for therapy to be effective. In addition to this we touch on the HeartMath technique, a powerful self-regulation approach that our guest found beneficial in managing emotions and achieving a sense of calm. Below you can find links to these resources, including the ConfiDental helpline – an accessible and confidential listening service designed specifically for dental professionals.

Access premium clinical videos by Jaz and gain CPD for Podcast episodes via the Protrusive.app

Need to Read it? Check out the Full Episode Transcript below!

Highlights of the episode:

04:22 Our guest’s story
12:32 HeartMath
14:59 Poker face
18:33 Going to work mentally unwell
21:00 Leaving toxic environments
27:38 Advice for those struggling
31:34 Reaching out

If you liked this episode, you should check out Toxic Work Cultures in Dentistry – Time for a Change?

Click below for full episode transcript:

Dr. Anonymous: I didn't enjoy going to work. I think, I always thought, I wasn't very well slept and I didn't have the energy and I had to put it on, and it was a lot of effort. So, yeah, I think it was, it was difficult for me. I didn't want to go to work.

Jaz’s Introduction:
Do you remember practicing dentistry when you had a cold or you weren’t feeling well? Well, you must remember how difficult that was, right? Because dentistry is such a stressful thing. We’re dealing with people’s emotions all day long. We’re dealing with intricate procedures in small places, so when you’re not feeling your best. Man, that adds even more to an already stressful profession.

There are various times in our careers that we will enter a rough patch. Now, before I give you examples of this, I want to give a warning for this episode that this episode does contain a lot of triggers that might upset some listeners. We tackled some very dark themes in this podcast episode. My guest, who is a dental professional, discusses episodes of self-harm, divorce, excessive alcohol intake.

And these are the kind of themes that we’ll be discussing under the broader umbrella of difficult, rough patches that we may face as professionals. And the reason why you made this episode today is to help anyone who’s listening who may be. Going through a rough patch and of course will.

It’s inevitable. We will all go through rough patches. We’ll all have an argument one day. We won’t be feeling our best every day. I don’t feel my best every day, despite what you guys might think, right? I have bad patches. Everyone has bad patches. This is life and we need the resilience to navigate through those bad patches.

A lot of talk nowadays, more and more, which is brilliant about mental health, looking after your mental health. So I’m hoping this episode will help someone, will inspire someone. If it helps just one person, it is worth it. Because of the nature of this episode, the audio episode will be on Spotify and Apple and Google Podcasts.

The video version will be only available on the premium version of the app, so that’s protrusive.app on the website or on the iOS and Android store, because I didn’t want this stuff to go on YouTube because of how sensitive things are that we discuss. If you’re new to the podcast, wow, you’ve picked a different one to join us, but something that’s so, so important, right?

For our wellbeing and so that we can serve our patients the best. Like when you are not feeling your best, whether that’s emotionally, physically, in any way, you are not serving your patients the best way. So that’s why I think this episode is important. I’m ever grateful to my anonymous guest who joined us today.

He revealed so much about himself and gave so much, or just to help someone else, just to help another dental professional who may be going through a rough patch. So let’s lend him our ears. And be sympathetic not only to this colleague that we had on, but to anyone in our profession going through a rough patch. Hello, Protruserati. I’m Jaz Gulati and I’ll catch you in the outro.

Hello, Protruserati. Today I’m joined by a really good soul, someone who’s volunteered their time to help you guys because this is a very sensitive topic we’re talking about today. This episode is for anyone who has ever faced adversity or will face adversity.

And this could be anything. This could be extreme stress, this could be depression, this could be miscarriage. That’s a very stressful thing. This could be something that, anything that basically means that your frame of mind may be altered, and then maybe when you’re seeing patients and you’ve lost your mojo, and this could happen to all of us in our careers at some points, right?

So it’s about this kind of what lessons we can learn from a colleague who’s joined us today, who went through a difficult patch himself basically and very kindly will share his story. So Anonymous Dentist, thanks for making time for this.

Obviously your voice, this is not your real voice, the voice we’ve edited it, manipulated it in a significant way so you’re not identifiable, but just where do you want to start with the story that you’re going to share today with us?

[Dr. Anonymous]
Oh, thanks. Thanks for having me, Jaz. Yeah, I think it’s a difficult one. It’s one of those things that most of us, at some point in our life we experience and the difficult experiences that do make us stronger in a way. So when you look back on, it’s a hard time your life. But when you come out the other end, you come out stronger. So it’s anyone who has, who is going through anything difficult, just know that it’s better when you come out of it.

So what happened to you?

[Dr. Anonymous] For me, I think it was, I was in a pretty bad relationship and I think when you have a long, bad relationship, it takes two people to make it fail. And I was one part of that but for me it was pretty bad. I felt in very, very dark places, on and on.

And I remember at the time I was working long hours, at the hospital, looking after patients in A&E to a pretty bad episode of self-harm, where I ended up in A&E myself in one of the bays, next to the, before I used to look after that kinda thing.

This is while you were in maxillofacial.

[Dr. Anonymous]

So basically what you’re trying to say is you had an episode of self harm yourself.

[Dr. Anonymous]

Whilst you were also under that role basically?

[Dr. Anonymous]
Yeah, so I think basically I did maxfax for about three years and it’s already a stressful job. You’ve got a stressful relationship at home and then sometimes arguments and things can escalate.

So this was at home after a long shift. And I got in warm and I had an argument with my partner and things got out of hand and I basically self-harmed and it was pretty bad. I couldn’t walk for eight weeks. I was in a boot, in a wheelchair, in a cru tch. And eventually I got out.

And the worst part of it is that this happened in the beginning of the second year of that relationship. And I carried on in that relationship or another six years after that. So it was a very dark time in my life.

Does that mean you were off? I mean, I’m so sorry to hear that and what you went through, but wow. I mean, I’m just absorbing all that. That’s a big take. Again, we didn’t talk about the exactly your story. So this is all new to me as well. So firstly, I’m so sorry. But then did you have to like, take some time off work? How are work? Did you tell work what happened and how did they support you?

One thing I want to know is when someone, you work for a trust that you work, for example, and you tell your trust this happened, and I’ll assume that you did tell them what happened or maybe not. You can tell me. Were they supportive? That’s what I want to know the most.

[Dr. Anonymous]
Yeah, I think it varies on the trust and on your consultant.And I had a really, really good relationship with the oral surgeon and even the maxfax consultant in that trust. So I think initially I was worried about what to tell them because my main worry is this a significant mental health issue where they’re obliged to report in GDC or not. And so I wasn’t sure what to tell them, but I had a really, really good relationship with the oral surgeon, and I just told him what happened.

Actually first I did lie to him and then he’s like, ‘why don’t you hop off and let’s get some fresh air?’ And I was like, ‘I can’t, I’m in a boot.’ And he’s like, ‘no, don’t worry. I’ll, I’ll bring a wheelchair’. So he called wheelchair. And he took me out of the hospital to get some fresh air. It was really good.

And we were talking and yeah, I kinda broke down with him and I was honest and he was very, very supportive. And one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

Yeah, it sounds like it already, it sounds like this oral surgeon. He suspected something and he wanted to take you in a safe place to discuss that and that is something to be said about the character of this person, right.

[Dr. Anonymous]
It is, it is. Honestly, it is amazing. I think he’s one of those people that I know when we run on clinic and we get a referral for TMJ issues, he’ll run an hour late with a patient. Cause he wants to know like their whole background history about any stress. And he’s such a natural at getting stories outta people or people who they not to be stressed for things like that. And they’ll tell you, they’re telling their life history and everything. He’s a very good soul.


[Dr. Anonymous]
And, he still works in that place. So-

So thanks to him, thanks to this individual. You managed to get some support, like you had a couple months off and there was like no, like blame culture or No like you didn’t, obviously it’s tragic what you’re going through at the time, but I’m hoping they were supporting you get through that rough patch.

[Dr. Anonymous]
They did, absolutely. And I didn’t take the full two months off. So I think I took, I was in hospital for four days under the plastic surgeons, and then I got home and I took another week off after that and they told me to take the four, eight weeks off, but I was like, I can’t.I need to come back to work. So I went back to work in a wheelchair. The best part about it is I got one of the disabled parking spots right outside the hospital.

Silver linings always silver linings.

[Dr. Anonymous]
Yeah. And so I did clinics, cause I could do that on a wheelchair and sitting down and stuff. And, I did a lot of admin stuff. I held a bleep. And then after the wheelchair I think I was in the wheelchair for another two weeks. And then I managed to get on crutches. And then with crutches, I went about doing everything I could. I went to A&E and all the rest of it. So it was yeah.

Was that the first, like, time in your relationship? Was that the first time? If you don’t want me asking, was that first time you relationship that things had escalated this bad or other moments? Not necessarily in terms of outcome, in terms of self harm, but in terms of how you felt and whatnot, and how it might have might affect your mood and your ability to be your best when you go into work, you know? Was that the first time?

[Dr. Anonymous]
No. No. I mean, I think with things like this it’s usually towards the end of a really long string of smaller episodes, and then this is like a major event. So, yeah, it does start with small issues and it does get bigger and bigger. Yeah. It’s lots of arguments, lots of, we never quite obviously physical into physical type, but it was emotionally very, very draining. And it does take a toll on your mental health.

Did you get any help as a couple? Well, I mean, I’m hoping you’re going to tell me that this is the direction you went in terms of therapy, counseling, that kind of stuff. Is that something that you explored?

[Dr. Anonymous]
So after this event, after the self-harm, we did and I don’t think it helped. I think most people need to be on board for it to work. That’s the first thing. The second thing is when you go to a counselor and you talk about the issues in relationship, there is a fine line where you talking about the problems. And not being looked at as tried to bring the counselor over, the therapist over to your point of view.

So, say things for them to agree with you and think that’s, exactly. And I think that’s the problem that we had in counseling where, one of us didn’t think counselors or therapist could help. And then when we did go and we’re talking about the issues that are bringing us there, you get the blame of thinking, you’re just saying the most awful things to try and win over the counselor and make me look like the bad person. So we tried, I think about four or five sessions that, it wasn’t really for us.

But what if someone listening to this right now is going through a similar thing in a relationship? And would you at least suggest that they give it a go cause it didn’t work for you, but maybe-

[Dr. Anonymous]

Do you think it’s worth giving a go, right?

[Dr. Anonymous]
Yeah, absolutely. And I think if not, definitely try everything you can. And if the couples doesn’t work for you, then make sure you get some help for yourselves. At the very least, at least you’re looking after yourself, then.

Well, tell us that how far into this journey that you went through, did you eventually get individual help for yourself?

[Dr. Anonymous]
So I did at the end, so this was year two. The relationship continued for another six years after that. We were in a relationship for seven years in total, and then once it all officially ended, then I got some help and yeah. I went to Malta, they had this juice, juice fast retreat thing going on over there.

So I just went to that. And over there, there was a yoga instructor and he is just amazing. Like I didn’t realize I was having help, but me and him would go for walks and yoga and stuff. And then at the end of it, he told me that he’s an instructor in something called HeartMath-ing. I can go through that later on if you want.

Yeah, just tell us what it is. You sparked our interest now.

[Dr. Anonymous]
Yeah. So HeartMath, it just blew my mind, basically. It’s a very, so we did yoga. That’s one thing that helps. And then HeartMath is a breathing exercise. Now I know everybody goes on about breathing exercises and how they work and how it affects your mental health.

You don’t really know because you hear about them, you read about them. But I think it’s until you see the effects and the benefits that you realize how important it is. So the way he did it with me is, he goes onto his login for HeartMath and then he has an ear probe that connects to your phone or your laptop or something, monitor your heartbeat.

So he just connected it to me and we started talking about just random things. For five minutes we’re just having a chat and we were moving from topic to topic, talking about films or books or sports activities, just random things. And then after the five minutes, he said, why don’t we just do some breathing exercise for five minutes?

And he said, breathing through your heart, imagine there’s a hole in your heart and you’re breathing in through that, breathe in for five seconds, and then breathe out through the same hole in your heart, just send love to everybody out there in the world to people that you like, to people that you don’t like and breathe out for seven seconds and we’ll do that continuously.

And yeah, just think about the breathing in and the breathing out. And that’s it. We did that for another five seconds and then we looked at the heart rate on the monitor and the results were amazing. The first five minutes were just so chaotic. Your heart rate is just fluctuating up and down and there’s no rhythm. And you look at the last five minutes there’s just this constant level, no heart rate.

And yeah, there’s a whole spectrum and it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing. And for anybody out there who’s interested, just go Instagram and type meyouyoga, and you’ll find him. He’s an Italian guy called Sal Puma, and he’s one of the mentors on HeartMath. He’s just, it’s amazing.

I mean, the advice there basically is that, whatever difficult time you may going through, and sometimes it is self-help and looking after yourself. So important. Now, that can come in many forms and you are a case study. You’re like at n=1 like this, work for you.

And so, and then we like recommendations, right? We go by people, you know, trust and stuff. And so after hearing what you went through and how you try to overcome it, and then listening to that, that might inspire someone to be like, you know what, I’m going to look after myself a little bit more and try a therapy, that sounds amazing to me.

Now to get back to more about how we can help people who may be in a rough patch. If you look back at your time now and the journey and the ups and downs and stuff, do you wish that you would’ve seeked help sooner? Because it looks like you waited till the end to seek help. Imagine someone has had an argument with their spouse this morning and they’re going to work now, they’re listening to this podcast episode.

They’ve had a argument with their spouse. They’re not in a good place. And I mean, you’ve been there, we’ve all been there to some degree, right? And you’re not in a good place and you can’t be your best. And sometimes you need to give everything to your patient.

When you are doing in even a Class II, Class II’s are not easy. They’re tricky, right? They’re fiddly. They need a lot of tension, dedication to get a lovely contact point. So how can you give your best to that individual who’s put their trust in you when you are not in the right frame of mind?

So, what kind of, how would you feel and how did it affect your work in that regard in terms of your enjoyment and fulfillment from work? And then do you wish you would’ve got help sooner? So it’s a two part question.

[Dr. Anonymous]
Yeah. So I think with this sort of situation, there’s two aspects to it so one is I think I was also having quite a bit of alcohol at the time and I think that has its own problems and you’ve also got the mental issues.

And I think it’s a bit like the way I felt was what, I don’t know how to describe it. Maybe, I don’t know, in university or you go shopping and you have like, seven Tesco bags in each hand, and they’re really, really heavy. And you walk back to your apartment, 10 minutes and your fingers are really sore and you put bags down and you feel that sense of relief that you’re just like, oh.

And I see, like, it becomes like a chronic situation where you feel like you’re carrying something on your shoulder and it becomes normal for you, and you don’t realize it’s there anymore, but it’s always there. Or like a really tight pair of shoes that you’re wearing. They’re really uncomfortable, but eventually you get used to it, but you don’t realize it until you take the pair of shoes out.

Then you realize that you’ve been carrying this for a while. And I think that’s the first stress. And the second stress is the lack of sleep. I think when you’re having drinks or you’re in a bad relationship, you’re not sleeping well, it is difficult and you just bring your A game whenever you get, and you know, you just try your best. You’re not a hundred percent. You don’t realize it at the time. But when you go to work, nobody can tell. These are people who, people like this are very outgoing and social, and everybody around you thinks that, oh, he’s such a fun-loving guy. He’s such a great guy.

So, you’re saying basically that you had a really good poker face. You’re at work, you’re receptionist. They couldn’t tell these internal struggles that you’re going through.

[Dr. Anonymous]
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

And that itself is a burden that is difficult, you know?

[Dr. Anonymous]

It’s like you’re living, I guess false life is a term we could use. You’re living you’re living a lie in the way that you can’t express yourself at work. And you are at work so many hours a day, but you’re trying to distract yourself. You’re trying to be your normal self, you’re trying to be you’re happy-go-lucky person that you are rather than it’s stuck in this difficult time you’re trying to get out of that, but that itself plays a burden on you. But I guess you have to put that face on to give your best to your profession. Is that how you felt? Maybe?

[Dr. Anonymous]
Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. And I mean, who knows about, you’re right about patient care and stuff. I think it’s difficult to look at it retrospectively and see that if you could have done a better job, but when you’re out at the other end and you feel the way you do and you go to work and you know that you’ve got real energy and passion, then you realize that there is something more than you can give.

Was dentistry for you like you know what? I need to get out of home. I need to get out of this, and I’d rather go to work and I love dentistry. Or were you like, you know what? I feel crap. Like you know when you got a cold and you have to like a really nasty cold and you have to go into work with a nasty cold, and it’s just not pleasant.

You’re trying to get through the day and it’s just it is what it is. Where did you lie in that mindset of going to work?

[Dr. Anonymous]
I was in the second group. I was definitely in the second. I didn’t enjoy going to work. I think, I thought I wasn’t very well slept and I didn’t have the energy and I had to put it on, and it was a lot of effort. So, yeah, I think it was difficult for me. I didn’t want to go to work.

I mean, dentistry’s so, so stressful already, right? Where that is and the most stressful. The best bits about a job is a people person. It’s a people job basically. You’re seeing people all the time, you’re building connections, trust, that kind of stuff.

That’s the best part, but it’s also the most taxing part that you have to deal with emotions. You have to consent people, you have to make decisions, decision making, both in your treatment plan and what the patient will accept and actually decision making in a micro level, like which wedge to select, to which matrix band, to which type of prep, constant decision making.

So it’s a very taxing profession that itself was adding stress and burden to you and I know obviously those of you listening, watching, you don’t know who I’m speaking to, but this individual, is kind of like me. We’re course junkies. We like to learn and stuff. And so how did you cope with juggling, trying to be the best that you can at your work and learning more and managing this issue that you had internal at home and stuff? Did you take more holidays? Did you try and take more breaks? I mean, how did you cope?

[Dr. Anonymous]
I think the courses were amazing. I think that definitely helps. You’re right, I did go lot different courses. I did a lot of learning, I did lot of shadowing, and those were the best days of the whole year. I think, so that definitely helps. Sport is definitely something that does help as well.

So any form of exercise and movement brings you in a good place. And I think whenever you go for a run or something, you hate the idea of it before, but when you finish it, you do realize that you’re full of energy stuff. So, that is good. But otherwise it is difficult. It’s there.

There’s no easy way out of it. I think the only thing to learn is that it’s better to not be in a relationship than to be in a bad one. It was one of those things that was difficult. Those seven years were the most difficult years of my life. It was difficult to juggle.

I spoke to Sandy who came on. He talked about a toxic workplace and how eventually he said he had to draw the line. He had to leave that work and find a new associate position. And he’s thriving now. He’s loving it. Without giving much away about you. I see you now and we had a conversation on the phone and you are really, you’re back to yourself now.

You’re back to your happy go lucky, smiling self. And you’re in a good place now. But getting there can be tricky. And so what was the final trigger, if you like, or final thing that made you make a very bold and brave mutual decision? I hope in terms of, okay, we need to end it now so that we can heal because you decided, it sounds like what you’re saying is that, from what I’m reading between the lines, you’re kind of saying that. You left it too late. You wish you’d left much earlier. But it’s a bit like when you’ve been at practice for 10 years and now it’s becoming toxic.

But because your patients will know, your receptionist know, to have to leave a job and find a new associate position, for example, I’m just drawing comparison. It’s a tough decision to make. Like, you know what I’m handing my notice in? It’s a big deal for a lot of people, your kids might be at local school. It’s the fear of the unknown. What were you thinking when you finally sort of decided that this was it?

[Dr. Anonymous]
So, yeah, I’ll tell you exactly what it was. Because I remember that very, very clearly. I think, so I’ll tell you a little bit about my relationship with alcohol and then it’ll lead on quite well to this. So I’m somebody who started drinking quite late in life and when I was at university, I probably only have a drink three or four times a year.

And it was the same in vt, practice, nights out or Christmas time or something like that. When I got into a relationship and I think you talked about this before about lifestyle creep and you get a bit more money and you start to afford things a bit better and then you’ve got company to enjoy it with, and you start to drink a bit.

So then you drink maybe twice a month and you start to drink once a week and then you drink twice a week and it goes on, and then you’re having a glass of wine every night and you think it’s normal glass of wine that’s fine every night with your food. And then you have a couple of glasses a night, you know?

Then, so I was at a stage where I’m having about two glasses of wine every night after work. And I listened to a podcast by Brad Thornton. He’s a dentist. I don’t know if you know him.

Yes. Yeah, of course. Yeah. Brad, shout out to Brad.

[Dr. Anonymous]
Yeah. And he interviewed somebody who unfortunately has now passed away, but he interviewed somebody who had a pretty difficult relationship with alcohol himself.

And he was one to two bottles of spirit a day, every day. And he eventually tried to commit suicide. And it was a pretty, pretty harrowing podcast, when you listen to it. And the thing that hit me is that he said in his podcast that he didn’t just start drinking one to two spirit, bottles of spirits a day

straight away, five years before that, it was two glasses of wine at night. And I’m like, I’m having two glasses of wine a night. I’m five years away from attempted suicide, you know? And I was like, okay, something has to change over here. And, it also reminds me of another analogy you said in one your podcast about the frog in boiling water, right?

When the water is cold, it gets a bit warmer and warmer and before you realize it, reassuring in boiling water and you saw get out anymore. So I think that was point, which I was like, okay, I think this needs to end. The things that roll you back are you’re in your early thirties, you don’t have a chance of getting another relationship inside your family and it’s all very scary, but then you realize it’s better than the alternative, which is and things will just escalate and get worse.

So that’s the point at which I was like, I think this needs to end. And I joined Quit Drinking Course by Allen Carr. It was called, The Easy Way Course, and I think a lot of some celebrities have been on it for either smoking or for alcohol. And it was amazing. It was really, really good. It was really, really good.

And I think basically, drinking provides you with some benefit. Firstly. Secondly, I think the main thing that’ll make somebody stop or not stop, sorry, is that they think that it’s very, very difficult to stop and do you like it’s impossible. Or I’d have to go through delirium treatments for three weeks and spread it out in a room or something like that.

Whereas I think in this course, it’s just a one day course. You do realize that it’s not that difficult because everything that you know about alcohol is an illusion, and it’s wrong. And I think as soon as you see it, it’s like, have you seen some of those pictures where they tell you to look at something and you can’t see it and you’re staring at the picture and they’re like, you can see the word in that jumbled up spheres of black and white over there, but you can’t see it.

And then they tell you to squint your eyes and move dark and then all of a sudden you can see it. And then once you see it, you can’t unsee it. You can’t look at that picture again and and not see it. And it’s a bit like that.

And I think it’s a bit like finding MB2. When you first find MB2 okay, then you can’t stop finding it. I want to make it dental in some way.

[Dr. Anonymous]
Oh, exactly. So, yeah, I think that’s it. So one of the illusions we talk about it taste, and when you think about alcohol, high end people talk about how this nutty ale tastes so good, or cheeky sutan or I don’t know, peat and brine and all these different flavors and coke and things like that. But actually it’s all, it’s all the marketing.

Think about the first time you ever tried alcohol. I know for me it was horrendous. It tasted disgusting. I couldn’t even swallow it. And I think that’s how-

You have to pretend. It’s like beer. You have to pretend to like beer long enough until you actually like it.

[Dr. Anonymous]
Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. And the first time you, I know the first time I tried it, it was disgusting, but there’s always somebody there to tell you, don’t worry, it’s an acquired taste.

And over time you’ll learn to like it. And that’s it. But the reality is that, you need a lack of taste to be able to tolerate it. and that’s how it’s o over time your taste buds just forget how bad it is. And the reality is a poison a half, half a of alcohol neat will kill you.

And I think, back in the day when we were hunter gatherers, that’s how we knew our taste buds knew what to take and what not taken, alcohol is one of those things. If we did try it back then, we would’ve probably just started out and not had it again. So they talk about a lot of different illusions on the course, and I think once you start to see it for what it is, the flavors all come from sugar of some sort. And that’s what really keeps it going.

That’s very useful perspective on anyone. Alcoholism is a serious thing that we need to spread a good message about in terms of overcoming it. So if I was to say to you with after everything you’ve been through, and like for those of you who don’t know, the colleague I’m speaking to today, fantastic dentist, really proactive, like, you could tell this dentist proactive because they sought to go on this Allen Carr course, they sought to go on this retreat.

You have to be in, we actually met on a course once, so I won’t say which course it was, whatever. But you’re a very proactive dentist. But even you found it very difficult to end a toxic relationship. Early enough and that’s, it’s a testament to how difficult and how tough these things are.

So whether someone is going through depression or any other bad moment in their life, tough patch. Rough patch. Okay. What are the top 2, 3, 4, 5, and as many bits of advice if you have, if I just give them microphone and say, listen, any of my colleagues who were in a bad place consider doing the following.

What kind of advice can we leave the Protruserati with to, no matter what they’re going through right now, how can we help them get their mojo back so that they can serve their family, serve their patients well, and live life to the fullest?

[Dr. Anonymous]
I think the first thing is just realize where you are in life. Cause I think, just look at your relationship with any sort of drug, whether it’s smoking, alcohol, food, and just see if it’s a healthy relationship or not. And I think if you don’t realize that it’s not a healthy relationship. Then you carry on in that situation for quite some time.

Secondly, I think if you do realize that you’re not having a healthy relationship with something like alcohol, don’t think that you’re alone and don’t be embarrassed about it. When I went on this quit drinking course with Allen Car, it was full of high achievers and our brain when we think about an alcoholic, we think about somebody on the road, homeless person, with a can of beer.

But actually I think there’s a lot of high achievers, doctors, lawyers, dentists for sure, who are very, very successful, who have a bad relationship with alcohol. So if you think you have one, don’t be embarrassed about it because there are a lot of other people in the same boat as you.

You just go and get help. And there’s many ways of stopping drinking. This is the one that I use. Thirdly, I didn’t use ConfiDental, but I’ve heard lots of good things about it. So, when the mental dental group started and I saw what they were doing, fantastic stuff.

So at the very least, if you need some help, you can go through that route. And then I would strongly suggest to go on a retreat somewhere. So, sometimes you go on a holiday and you come back and you got to go to work the day exhausted. And you just, you feel like you need a holiday from your holiday. I think maybe once or twice a year if you can just go on a holiday where you’re not having food and drink and all the rest of it.

Just spend maybe four or five days at a retreat where you have some yoga, some very healthy food. Or in this case it was juice. And, honestly, the energy you get out it, you think that, oh, you’re only having full glasses of juice per day. You must be starving, you’re full, full of energy. And you come back and I was ready to start the next chapter of my life.

And, when you have that good energy, you spread that good energy and you get that good energy back. And I went from a position to your thinking that this is it. I’m not going to have a family ever. And within one year I was engaged, within two years, I’m in a very very happy place and we’re hoping to start a family, soon.

Yeah, so I think once you’ve got some good energy to give out there, and the third thing is always help somebody in some way. And that gives you immense mojo but also juju and also you feel so good. It’s just very, very good energy. The alcohol course I went on they said that the 12th step if you were to go to AA I don’t know, but if you were to go AA, apparently the 12th step is to try and help somebody else get out of the crap. And yeah, it’s just very, very helpful to yourself and your soul, when you help somebody else.

Amazing. Now, I mean, thank you so much for sharing not only your story. I know we’re going to keep everything anonymous, but still, like, I really appreciate you sharing some tough times because, I once recorded with, a colleague and she talked about adversity in New Zealand.

You might have listened to that episode. And she was absolutely brilliant. And I had a dentist message me saying that everything that she was saying about how she felt and how distress that she felt work, she was one of the podcast listeners one of the Protruserati, she was driving and she started flooding in tears.

And she had to literally, like, I think she said, she had to like park her car somewhere, or it might have been on the motorway. She had to go in the sideline basically. But like I’m sure that even if this helps one person. And it’ll help more if it just helps one person that we’ve done something today.

And if we’re in a good place now, then remember that nothing ever is promised. We will always face adversity in life. Life will always come with challenges and some of the lessons and themes that you’ve covered today for us in terms of looking after yourself, getting help, going on in some sort of retreat or something. Even the HeartMath you said?

[Dr. Anonymous]
Yep. HeartMath.

Something to consider and how can you help yourself? It’s a bit like when you are on an airplane, they always say, do your seatbelt first before you do someone else’s. Do your life mask first, air mask, whatever, before you do someone else’s.

It’s that you have to look, if you look after yourself, then only then can you serve your family, can you serve your children, can you serve your patients. And so that’s really important. So if any lesson is today, if you found these themes hard hitting, do you feel affected by these, then please don’t.

The worst thing you do is just be like, okay, click on the next episode. Reach out to someone or some organization. It could be ConfiDental, it could be a retreat, it could be someone to help you through a tough time that’s relevant to you. I think that’d be the most important action you could take.

[Dr. Anonymous]
Absolutely, a hundred percent. How they say in dentistry, always invest in yourself. Clinically, you always talk about how you go on courses, invest in yourself clinically, but mentally as well. Absolutely. 100%. Take the time twice a year and do something that’s going to give, put you in a good mental state.

Jaz’s Outro:
Amazing. Well, there we have it guys, because inevitably we’ll all go through a rough patch, and I hope this episode will help you. It might find you at a time where you are not in a rough patch, but hopefully listening to someone else’s story will just make you aware of colleagues around us that may seem that everything’s going okay, but under the surface there are cracks.

And if you notice those cracks, please send them this episode, or send them to ConfiDental or send them to any of the resources that our colleague shared with us today. And so what I’m going to do is I’m putting the show notes that HeartMath, that Allen Car course for helping him overcome the alcohol addiction and any other resources I can find to help anyone going through a rough patch in their lives.

If this episode was meaningful, if it helped you in any way, I would love for you to leave a review on wherever you listen to your podcast. And I appreciate you listening all the way to the end. I know it was a tough conversation at times because the themes covered, but we can’t just shy away from these themes, it can’t just all be composite veneers the whole time, right?

We need to discuss these real-world themes. So, thank you so much once again for listening to Protrusive and I’ll catch you in the next one. Once again, thank you to the guest that came on, who gave up his time and shared his vulnerable story. I respect you so, so much my friend.

Hosted by
Jaz Gulati

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