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Josie, 29 years old, recently got back from her first deployment

I heard once that Winston Churchill called his depression “The Black Dog”. I think it’s more like a heavy black cloud that settles all around you. It feels like a lead weight on your shoulders and you can’t see through it. All you can see it blackness. I didn’t know what it was until a few months ago...


Mick, 41 years old, currently MEC3 on sick leave from ADF, 20 years in the infantry

Most of my life I thought people with mental problems were wimps or fakers who needed a good kick up the arse. I’m a soldier, that’s what I’m good at. Over the years I got promoted to warrant officer, had a lot of younger blokes looking up to me, expecting me to be a strong leader.  And I was. I was bloody good. Until about a year ago...

Other substance use

Dan, 35, was in infantry for 15 years until he was medically discharged in 2010

I never thought I’d be one of those guys with a drug problem.  I used to be really fit, used to be at the top of my game at work. Then I got injured in a training accident – stuffed up my back jumping out of a chopper – and all the crap hit me at once. The army were good at first. They got me the best treatment, a couple of operations and loads of physio. But it gradually dawned on me that I wasn’t ever going to be fit enough to go back to my unit or to deploy...

Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)

Joe, 47 years old, 20 years in the ADF, deployments to Bougainville, the Solomons, and East Timor

The fact is, I’ve always been a worrier, ever since I was a kid. I’d worry about my family and my Mum and Dad (they used to fight a bit). I worried about whether there’d be enough money for me to finish school. I worried about my health – every time I had an ache or pain I was sure I was going to die. I worried about school work, parties, friends...

Social anxiety disorder

Jack, 28 years old, 10 years in the RAAF as an electronics technician

I reckon I was OK until high school. It was there that I started to get really anxious if I had to do a presentation to the class. I’d worry about it for days and the night before I couldn't sleep. When it came to the presentation, I’d be sweating, blushing, my mouth would go dry… it was like torture...

Panic and agoraphobia

Sue, 30 years old, recently left the RAN after ten years of active service

I remember my first panic attack like it was yesterday. I guess I’d always been an anxious type, but this was like nothing I’d ever experienced. I was at a football game about six years ago, big crowd, St Kilda getting hammered by the Pies. I think I was a bit edgy – I’ve never liked being hemmed in, stuck somewhere I couldn’t get out of easily...


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