Afghanistan veteran talks about getting help for PTSD and depression

My name is Lachlan Manning. I enlisted in the army in 2002. So I was discharged in 2012. I was diagnosed with PTSD in 2010. About six months after I
returned home from Afghanistan. I also had a lot of physical injuries. So I spent I think 12 to
18 months in rehab, having reconstructions,
things like that done. First time I really noticed
something was an issue, I was driving into work one morning and a Bushmaster drove
past and I just froze. I couldn’t move, I started hyperventilating. I didn’t pass out but it felt like I was going to pass out. I got really narrow vision and
couldn’t move for over an hour. That was when I knew something was
wrong straight away then. So I actually did get a
phone call from a mate first who had PTSD and he said to me, I’m really worried about you, I want you to go and talk to your GP. He’s the only person I
talked to about it at all prior to that. And I actually wasn’t going to do it, but he’d rung up and made
the appointment for me. So I was sorta forced into
going in and seeing the GP, and he took one look at me and said I do have to get a second opinion, but we believe you got
PTSD and depression. And it all sort of went downhill from there knowing it was the end
of my military career. I didn’t really want to leave, but that was something I really struggled with was knowing that diagnosis
was more than likely going to, end with my discharge from the Australian Defence Force. Well I can remember
leaving the appointment with medical restrictions that
the doctor had written out. I think the top thing on it said, “Not fit to handle firearms.” And having just recently
returned from Afghanistan, with Special Operations Task Group, that broke my heart reading that. Knowing that I wasn’t to be trusted with something that I’d
spent the last 10 years of my life training on. I didn’t
really tell any of my mates until I got my discharge
notice from the army, and I was really fearing that I’d be called weak or judged or not accepted. I really found the opposite. Everyone was really
caring and respectful. They’d wished I told them earlier just so they could’ve supported me better. So that’s why I really encourage people to put their and up and have a talk about it. It’s pretty hard to help your mate if you don’t know that they need help. So the clinical treatment programme is I think very necessary for acute PTSD. It really helped me at that time. I needed to get medication sorted. I needed to get my sleep sorted out, and I’d really stopped looking after myself. So I needed to start eating properly
again and exercising. Things like that. That process
probably took me about two years to get done. Sort of month in, month out of hospital, but once I got the meds right and got to a stage where I could look after myself again. So I found, the more I opened
up and talked about it, the better it’s been for me. Well, firstly you find out
you’re not the only one going through things like that. Secondly, I think it allows you to start aknowledging something that may be bothering you
and work through what it is that’s actually bothering you. So without opening those doors, it’s pretty bloody hard to treat PTSD. So while I was getting treatment for PTSD, I noticed there were a lot of
people far worse off than I was and their problems were far
greater than the problems I had to deal with. So I just thought if I can show them a thing or two, or they
can learn from my mistakes without having to walk
down that long hard road then that would only benefits my mates and hopefully get them
sorted out a bit quicker. I didn’t think I’d feel
like this again post army. I didn’t think I’d ever
genuinely be happy again and have mates like I had in the army, but throughout the Fly Programme,
working as a fly guide, having a family and a
beautiful little daughter, another one on the way. Yeah I couldn’t be happier that things have turned out this way. My advice to other people would be if you are going through problems, to pick up the phone and ring a mate or ring one of these agencies. Like I said,
if people don’t know that you’re struggling, they can’t help you.

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