The Harder Truth


I could not say it for the longest time

Fearing my life by acronym defined

Four little letters to neatly hold

The baggage I carry, so very old


I chose to not see the cost

In all the things so clearly lost

A heart held in a solitary cell

Where love was rare allowed to dwell


Self-medicated and always scared

Feeling like no one really cared

I let my life go by so fast

Still living with one foot in my past


I do not know why it is so hard to say

Does speaking its name beg it to stay

I do not know why it is difficult for me

To admit that I suffer from PTSD


Maybe it is the long-winded definition

That does not represent my condition

I do not have sadness or nightmarish things

Uncontrolled anger or scary mood swings


There are just some memories

That these old eyes still can see

And all that I really know

I am scared to hold on and scared to let go


23 Responses to “The Harder Truth”
  1. In any poem where I sense personal suffering, I feel unable to click on the “like” button – not wanting that action to in any way be perceived as liking the subject. PTSD is far more common than many know and can happen with any number of different traumatic stimuli. There are also levels of PTSD, and many are at levels which allow the sufferer to remain functional. I don’t think we get to choose which memories we “hold on to” – from my own experience, I have more vivid memories of negative moments and events than positive ones. For me, the only way to accept my part in them is to remind myself that I did the best I could with what I was equipped to know at that time. But I do believe that acknowledgement is necessary first so that one can move on to forgiveness of others and self – who were all doing the best they could with what they knew at the time….

  2. beth says:

    so well said and perfect questions asked. I think naming the beast and accepting that you had no control over things that have happened, lessens its power over you.

  3. Brad, beautifully and courageously written. I am tired of the stigma attached to PTSD. People can do a lot to improve their condition and help others if we could talk freely about. We need to accept that perfection does not exist. Heroes suffer. Overachieving is driving us nuts. We need a public conversation to address those topics. Thank you for your courage 🥰🌹❤️

  4. Francisco Bravo Cabrera says:

    PTSD is something very deep and very personal, a suit tailored to our own psyche and that few can understand. Training alone does not make one immune from it and only time begins to slowly wear out its sharp edges…

  5. Dr.Sujatha says:

    Don’t hold on to anything and don’t let go of anything too.I didn’t know if that made sense but believe me breathe,you did the best you can and you will continue doing it.We are all one,you are not alone to be defined by acronym.❤

  6. petespringerauthor says:

    It’d be hard to describe what most of us have never experienced. I’m betting that while the general public may think they understand PTSD, there probably is a general lack of ignorance that goes along with that supposed “knowledge.”

    • Brad Osborne says:

      I am still learning myself, as I have come to understand there are varying degrees. This, for me, was the first step in owning something that cannot define me. Thanks for all the support, Pete!

  7. Harley Reborn says:

    I owe you one giant hug that lingers just a tad too long 🖤❤️

  8. kristianw84 says:

    Just remember, PTSD does not control you. Your courage to admit it is admirable. I think some memories need to be remembered, it’s the way our brain processes things. I’m not going to pretend like I know what you’re going through, because I don’t. I’m familiar with PTSD. Many people in my life have it, but as you have mentioned, there’s varying degrees of it. I wish I had some sound advice for you. I know you have a pretty large support system, but if you ever need someone to talk to, please know I’m only a phone call away. If you need a shoulder, my arms are open. My heart is with you, my friend. ❤

  9. Well written. Admission is so much harder than it should be, but that step allows you to better discover how PTSD impacts you (physiologically, physically, emotionally, etc.) and your daily life and allows you to find ways to mitigate (some of) those impacts so it has less of a hold. Good luck on your journey of healing—you are not alone!

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