Holding onto an Absent Friend

Dr Sertaç Sehlikoğlu
2 min readJun 22, 2021


Photo by Daniel Curran on Unsplash

Sensory processing takes time for me.

It takes time before I realise that I am cold, hot, or in pain.. or that something is pinching me or even hurting me...

And I have come to realise that what I experience is in fact a condition with a name.

I have learned this at the age of 40.

At the age of 40, looking back to my past relationships, including friendships and companionships, and how I have established and preserved them, I have come to realise that I hold on for too long until I realise how much it hurts me.

I hold on to them when it is hurting and it breaks my soul in the end.

I picture this, in my head, like having a strong grip with two hands, onto what I have nourished. The grip is strong and I don’t feel pain for an unnecessarily long time.

I keep holding while pain is in progress...

First, the fingers get numb and I keep holding.

It then affects the hands, I ask questions. I ask them directly.

People however are never direct.

Let me go I say and they tell me to stay. So I do.

But the pain is growing and I now start feeling it. They shake me off which starts hurting the arms too. Fingers are still numb and the hands are still in pain.

I ask them to let me go but they never admit and it takes time for me to process it all.

I hold on for way too long.

I only stop holding when it is a full-fetched catastrophe. With the arms broken. That I have nothing left to hold onto.

I didn’t get the signals in time I tell myself.

And the absent friends regret the way they treated me, often years later.

Yet, when the regret comes, I no longer have the arms to open.

Because I held on to the absent friends for way too long.



Dr Sertaç Sehlikoğlu

Social Anthropologist, University College London. Tr: Ortadoğu, arzu, öznelik ve mahremiyet konularında iki kitabı ve onlarca makalesi bulunmaktadır