I pinched the title of this post from a song by James Blunt. I do not know right now the gist of his lyric about the title certainly suits this post.
I made a comment about victims being referred to as innocent victims and I find this really annoying, if not offensive. As if there is such a thing as a deserving victim! Do we really think that some victims of terrorist bombs are guilty victims? That some of those killed in an earthquake or some other natural disaster are guilty victims?
Once again this rather sad and sick thinking that we have about ourselves and our fellows can be found rooted in the Bible which tends to lead one to believe that most misfortune is the result of sin. Therefore if you are good nothing bad will happen to you. Therefore if something bad does happen to, you you are bad. And people believe this because it makes them feel better. Even if they do not consciously realise that this is what they believe, most of us do believe the lie that if we are good nothing bad will happen to us.
It is with similar disgust that I hear announcements that a particular person has lost their brave battle with cancer. I have a friend who is in remission and a few others who have died. When one has cancer one has no choice but to deal with it! The implication of all this is that if one dies from cancer one just did not do enough to prevent it, did not battle bravely enough. And it can make cancer victims feel like they cannot show their emotions.
For people with diseases like my own, the same claptrap is often spoken. I have a choice. I can either take to my bed or my armchair and stay there or I can make the best of the ability I still have. It has fuck all to do with bravery. It is a choice. I have no choice as regards my disease, nothing I do will get rid of it. The times when I have appeared stoic and brave I have just been a stubborn idiot! Like for example when I refused medication. I cannot believe that I suffered so much before I gave in. Mind you to be fair to myself much of this refusal to take drugs was down to fear. I had been taught to think things about drugs. That they were dangerous and that only weak people took them. This of course was in reference only to painkilling drugs and mood altering drugs. Today I take the drugs and I do not have a problem. I understand that taking the drugs has nothing at all to do with my status as a man or with my strength or lack of it! I also have not become addicted as many clever clogs believe because I use the drugs for the correct reason. I recently went 3 days without taking any morphine because I had a bug. I was completely without any symptoms of withdrawal. Up until that point there had still been residual doubt and fear regarding taking this medication. now I can quite confidently tell all these armchair experts to fuck off!
What I do accept as bravery on my part and on the part of other people who have survived similar, is that I faced my Demons head on. In many ways this was not a choice because my life was so pain filled that I had to do something. However, I still had to face that which terrified me and feel that which I was convinced would destroy me. It was no exaggeration. It still amazes me that I survived.
For me, bravery is about doing or facing that which we are afraid of. In that respect I am a brave person because I continually do the things which frighten me. And I’m talking about the type of fear that makes your guts feel loose, your hands shake, and your heart pound in your ears. I face this type of fear very frequently. This is mainly to do with other people, especially crowds. Dog shows are always a battle for me.
I know that this is the last word that people would associate with me but I am in reality a shy person. I have just learned to act as if I am not.
I know that I am not alone and the one thing that I would suggest that I have in common with my closest friends is that we share this bravery between us. We all have the same basic fear and we face it head on each day. I think only other survivors of abuse will understand what I am talking about. No matter what words one chooses to use to describe the emotions and the feelings unless one actually experiences it for oneself, and no other can really know.