Some of you may have noticed I'd not posted to my blog between June and November. It would have been only fair if someone had assumed I've been Missing In Action!
Well the reason is pretty simple.
I as diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder earlier this year. One of the symptoms is a lack of interest in things that use to give you pleasure, (my hobby being a casualty).
I enlisted in 1982 as a 17yr old and was allocated to the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery. Moved through the enlisted ranks rather quickly being a Sergeant within six years and being posted to what was at the time the Army's only Medium Artillery Battery (103rd MDM BTY) equipped with 5.5inch Guns and then M198 155mm Gun Howitzers. Soon after I was posted to our only Airborne Battery, 'A' FD Battery (PARA).
BELOW: Exercise Far Canopy or Diamond Dollar in the late 80s. I can't remember which.
ABOVE: As a young Sergeant awaiting a jump with my mates.
My 'tolerance' levels had been shot to pieces and I wasn't suffering fools in the slightest.
Ultimately my unit doctor intervened and I was admitted to the repat hospital at Epping for 6 weeks and then placed on a 12 week outpatient PTSD program. In itself this was not an easy feat for me and was initially impossible to accept. I was a man who had only ever had approx three or four months off for sick leave over a 31 year career, and most of that was convalescing after knee surgeries. Being away from my place of work and those who depended upon me for such an extensive time was one of the hardest parts. I felt 'jack' at times and I refused to accept there was anything wrong with me and that it was all in my head. I was having my own personal struggle about it. Yet as much as I felt bad about not being at work, the thought of returning made me sick to the pit of my stomach. Luckily, I've had excellent support from my Commanding Officer and unit in general. Most critically I've had fantastic loving support from my wife and children. I'm a long way from better, but I'm getting there.
BELOW: Coming home from Afghanistan late 2011.