Tom’s story: Not coping post-discharge

Hi, my name is Tom and I have been out of the army for just over 18 months. I’d have to say that it’s been the worst time of my life.

I saw some bad things in Afghanistan. I saw people die, even a mate, but being with my unit felt good.

After I got out of the army life felt different. I felt different.

I lost contact with my mates, I found it hard to hold down a job and even my wife was getting pretty frustrated with me.

I couldn’t talk to anyone because I didn’t think they’d understand how I felt. I kept getting nightmares and I used to drink to get to sleep.

After a while my wife left me and at that point I hit rock bottom. I thought it would be easier for everyone if I wasn’t around anymore.

A mate from my unit came to see me. He told me I looked terrible and I needed to go and see someone. He took me to see this guy who’d been in the army but was now a psych. He knew what it was all about.

The psych reminded me about what I’d learnt in the army – about resilience and how to react in stressful situations – he also taught me new ways to cope with how I was feeling.

I’m now seeing my kids, my wife, and even some of my mates from my old unit. They all understand and they are going to help me get through it.

I am doing much better now. Life is looking up and me and my mates from my unit know we all have to look out for each other.

NOTE: This is a fictional case study using paid actors