Wednesday, 27 May 2009
A mental health expert believes up to 10 per cent of war veterans are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the condition is leading to cardiovascular disease.
Associate Professor Mal Hopwood from Austin Health in Melbourne has addressed the Congress of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists in Adelaide.
Professor Hopwood says the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has made improvements in treating PTSD, but more needs to be done.
"One of the current areas of concern is the gap some people experience between leaving the ADF and then receiving mental health care as an entitled veteran," he said.
"Sometimes that gap can take several years and clearly that's not ideal in terms of getting early intervention for mental health problems."
Sunday, 17 May 2009
Ask any old soldier and he will tell you the importance of concentration when on the drill square, changing step on the march can find you floundering at the wrath of a red faced drill sergeant if your mind is elsewhere. Getting it together again as quickly as possible is vital for your dignity.
My path of spiralling madness and anger has brought me to rest at a place of peace and tranquillity, from where I can look back at my twisted approach to thishigher ground. I see a man adrift running like a rat in a maze, cart wheeling through streets of a Midland town asking strangers for his answer. I hear a hundred empty glasses slammed on a hundred sodden bar tops, see the head in hand agony of a drowning man, the fuming anger the spittle gathering and flying in surprised faces. The predictable foot fall from bar to bar the blurring of days and time the inevitable decent into a raging madness.
Unlike the voice that screams at you on the drill square and puts you back in place there is no voice out here. There are if you are lucky the words of those who have not yet deserted you, which almost inevitably you will ignore. There are the memories of what you were before all this, which tug and wake you in the night but are forgotten with the new day and the renewed anger at being still alive.
Then,if you survive all this there is the emptiness you feel when you see the wasted time and the damage you have wreaked on those around you.
Slowly, try to wash the rant from your mind let the fury pass through you and melt away, you will build nothing with your anger. You will not move one step with that heavy load. Smile at it like an old enemy,no longer a threat but passing you by on a busy street. Become something else, something born from an experience that you refuse to waste. Snap back into a pace that you set, rejoin the march but whistle your own tune from now on.
After all this you have earned your peace, your path will stretch before you to the horizon, and you will look back upon all that delivered you here, and not regret one day because everything you did brought you to this place.