“Softness is not weakness. It takes courage to stay delicate in a world this cruel.” T.C.
So, softness is not weakness. Staying delicate takes courage. I am not sure who said that originally but I am crediting it to Tommy Chong. During this series on “What PTSD Has Taught Me” I have done lots of reflecting on the past. Taking a look back at trauma is difficult. All of the events that contributed to my PTSD are still in my memory banks. They will never go away. I am, however able to look at them in the proper perspective. It is my hope that people who are suffering from PTSD will be able to see that they are survivors! I heard that for years. In the midst of having active PTSD, it is very difficult to believe that you are a survivor, but it is true. Hang in there and you will see. Never give up.
One of the effects of and common behaviors of people suffering from trauma is to be hard, tough, ruthless, always vigilant, always hyper alert for danger and ready to kick some ass if necessary. All of these behaviors are normal responses to trauma. Who, in their right mind would not want to protect themselves after experiencing life-altering trauma?
When I was young I was a happy go lucky kid from southern California. I was funny, friendly and looked at life as being full of great opportunities and adventure. However, after my traumatic events, I changed. I turned into a hyper-vigilant and paranoid man. My love of life had been replaced by anger, fear, and distrust. I self-medicated with alcohol, pot, cocaine, speed, LSD, and opiates. Man, I loved the poppy! I was so angry at myself that I couldn’t stop stuffing substances in a trauma shaped hole that I just became sicker. I did the best drugs man could make and yet I only got tempory relief from the demons in my head. As Bono said, I was “stuck in a moment.” Allow me to say I am not for one second down on people who are using substances to try to ease their pain. Again, who could blame them? I also believe (as science is showing us) that some substances, such as cannabis, help people who suffer from PTSD very much.
I have always been to some extent “soft.” What I mean by that is that is for my entire life I have been at heart a lover and not a fighter. I have always desired to resolve issues by talking and not fighting. I never looked at skills I learned in the army as necessarily good things just necessary. I cry a lot. It is easy to move my emotions. I have never started a fight. Getting revenge never sat well with me. I have always been sympathetic to people and empathetic when possible.
I said all of that to say this: those so-called “soft” parts of me are the REAL me. I could have very easily ended the continual abuse I suffered by turning into a violent beast. It is true. My humanity stopped me from doing that. I refused to act like an animal. I was “soft” and now I glad I am!!!!
Keep fighting whatever the lie is that is torturing you! Keep looking for people that will help you. Nurture your “softness” it is what makes you human.