My first point I’d like to bring up is the one about brotherhood, the bonds formed whilst serving, whilst suffering PTSD and leaving the forever job I’d planned, I became a civilian in a mining job.
Of course, pair shaped it went… Who has experienced that? Okay sorry don’t want to shut down the server, as the scramble for yes is being typed and ‘Enter’ pressed.
With the number of suicides climbing from PTSD and the appalling state that veterans find themselves in, I wanted to share a story with a different ending. Hope it’s enough to grab your attention, worth the read.
After the collapse of a world, perfectly fine serviceman exposed to the things that the majority of volunteers get to see, the battle within me began.
A big pay-out landed in my bank. After a few days I got out of bed and started buying toys, spoiling anyone who was within 10 metres of me. Again the decision making of an idiot ended the dream pretty fast.After loosing family, hope, reality, of course the only thing to look forward to was a fortnightly disability pension, I sat and suffered for three years.
Didn’t matter what I did, but wrong and right were being offered and yep, wrong was just the perfect choice, needed a reason to continue being sad.
With rare contact with any servicemen or women and when it came, the thought so distant, conversation was like pulling teeth.
Jump forward a couple years, thousands of mistakes and the odd suicide attempt, during the last Xmas break I was contacted by a person from one of the many groups of veterans helping veterans.
At first it was “oh yeah let’s chat” as no one else was talking to me, no family, no one. Then the first advocate I met didn’t turn out, we didn’t get along, so I chatted some more and I was introduced to let’s call him “Squizzy”.
Now he sat me down, chatted and said this and that, but unlike before, promised me nothing, said he would try, do what he could, then he said “I got your back”.
Few days later things began happening and I started having to look for fault in this guy, how could he be mister perfect? Say something and actually do it! How dare you? …..,
Well Mr Squizzy kept doing this. I found myself having conversations about this guy and saying “this guy is my brother, he is looking out for me”. Then when we spoke I’d say, “hey thanks mate, you’re a warrior, you know that”?
It dawned on me that not too far from this time I’d start to realise that him and a couple of his mates, who had also shown they had my back, started having this affect on me. A positive one. I kept trying to find fault, ‘knew’ it was there, just had to find it.
Hell I’m never wrong and won’t be about this.
Turns out brother is someone who has your back!
Soldiers probably laughing now thinking ‘what the’?
But it’s dawned on me lately that time serving is great, it’s exciting, it’s full-on, it takes lives, it does all sorts of good and bad things, but you wore Australia on your shoulder, we all did.
Well I did in two services.
But, brothers and sisters, serving is your training ground. Because, when you come out, you get lost, or struggle and become one in a crowd of civilians.
Climb onto social media, where things are always said to be this and that negatively.
But, find some group you can belong to. Trust me, there’s one for every ship, unit, squadron, mustering. So you fit into a few, i promise. Say hi, because you want to know why and what you did it all for.
Well it’s for when you get out and you find nothing excites you no more. It’s for reconnecting with your shipmates, your buddies, people you don’t know – and they say, “welcome brother”!
Finally my service life made sense.
For years I wandered around feeling lost and out of place.
Now I try and they are looming for me. No matter how hard or what’s happened, your ‘family’ is this big, wide-spread community of ex-servicemen and women who not only welcome you, but show you exactly how bloody great it was to wear a uniform. Because brothers and sisters are bonded in uniforms of our ADF.
And PTSD can take any one person.
But I challenge anyone to take on the Australian Defence Force! Whether you’re the soldier in the dirt or the writer on the ship, or OK, the RAAFie in the air con (lol) – that Australia badge means so much.
But it is everything when you’re a veteran! Trust me!
Serving members don’t rush it – it’s great when you’re ‘in’.
But, fear nothing getting out because your family stands, not in a single lines, but hundreds deep, where, hopefully, you won’t be missed, looking for no reason but to say welcome to the after-club!
I’d say its as good, maybe even a little nicer!
Overwatch – you’re a veteran helping veteran, vigil, still on duty!
BZ, there’re other groups I bet could be spoken of highly, but my experience is with Overwatch!
Thank you veterans. And thanks everyone for your service. The civilians who jump in and get involved, you know we loose numbers and hearts sink. But let’s celebrate for a moment, because, without you all – without us all – those numbers will be far greater!
My name is Liam, Navy and Air Force, and now amongst the best family anyone could ask for – that group called veterans. We don’t always get looked after by governments etc, but, brothers and sisters, we are never alone.
If you, or someone you are with, is in immediate danger – telephone 000
Other good sources of help are…
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- Veterans Line: 1800 011 046
- Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
- Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
Written by a veteran with a beautiful family – Liam Croxon