Mathew: My son Daniel

My son Daniel is 23 years old. He joined the defence forces at 18 and trained as a medic.

I worry that I might have pushed him into joining as I was a Vietnam Vet and had regularly told him that serving in the military developed good skills that he would use throughout life.

Daniel’s unit was posted to Afghanistan and he dealt with the results of injuries caused by IEDs to civilians and even one of his mates. Even though the training had talked about such injuries nothing prepared him for what he had to deal with.

When working as a medic didn’t work for Daniel anymore he decided to get out of the army. He went on a real bender for a week after getting out – we were really worried about him.

It took him a while to find a job but he finally got work as a nightclub security guard but the hours were really bad. Things spiralled after that. Daniel had cut himself off from all his good friends and he wouldn’t talk to us. He couldn’t even hold down a job and so he had to come back home to live with us.

One day Daniel had been drinking heavily and bugged out -left in his car – muttering something about going out bush. He said that there was only one thing he could control anymore and that was his life.

When I found him, he had crashed his car into a tree but luckily was not hurt too badly.

Our GP was great. He helped us and connected us with Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling (formerly VVCS).  We now take Daniel to his psych appointments and we have told him that we aren’t going anywhere, we are always there for him.

He has started studying and has a part time job. Life is better now for Daniel and I know that he is going to be ok.

NOTE: This is a fictional case study using paid actors