Lifestyle

Horrors of combat linger for returned Aussie soldier

Despite years of training for war, it still doesn't entirely prepare soldiers to watch their mates die and watch innocent people get killed.
Despite years of training for war, it still doesn't entirely prepare soldiers to watch their mates die and watch innocent people get killed. Australian Defence Force

WE SEE them as heroes; the bravest of them all.

The ones who fight for our country and bear witness to the most horrendous acts imaginable.

But sometimes, the things our soldiers see and do while fighting on the frontline are so horrific, even they need a helping hand when it comes to getting back to civilian life.

For one Warwick mother, watching her 21-year-old son return from Afghanistan, scarred from the events that were so explicitly played out in front of him, was heartbreaking.

"Physically he's fine, but it's the mental issues. I don't think anyone, except those who have done it, understands the things he saw and had to do," she said.

When he returned home in early December, she said she could tell her son wasn't the same as the boy who left her for Afghanistan six months prior.

"It's like that old saying, they leave for the army as a boy and return a man and that's exactly what has happened," she said.

"He's matured so much, but inside I can see he is still a kid and still just wants to be a 21-year-old."

She said the things her son saw while over there haunted his memory every day.

"He is a bit distant and is not coping with what he calls 'civilian life' - still talking in army terms," she said.

When soldiers return home from warfare, they are urged to take a week with a psychologist to de-brief and learn to cope with their emotions.

"My son said a lot of the boys didn't do it because they thought 'that psychologist on the other side of the desk does not know how I feel, he doesn't know what I have seen and he hasn't heard or been through what I have' and so they didn't go," she said.

"And that makes them angry that there is someone sitting there saying 'I know how you feel' when they don't."

While at war, soldiers form a brotherhood like no other and this Warwick mum said she knew that was getting her son through the tough times.

"The camaraderie between these boys is like an extended family but they can relate even more so than family because they have been through a lot more," she said.

"They're in contact almost every half hour and if one is feeling down they don't hesitate to call.

"They come from everywhere.

"They made a pact: 'we'll stick together no matter what time of day, or night, we don't care, if you need us you just call' so they can all get through this together."

She said despite two years of training for war, it still didn't entirely prepare the soldiers to watch their mates die and watch innocent people get killed.

"I don't think there is any way they (the government) could help more," she said.

"(My son) has explained to me that they have no idea what they're going into and he said when they get over there all of a sudden all their training kicks in and you've just got to do what you have to do to save your mates.

"He tells us stories of what happened and sometimes I have to say 'No, that's enough' because it's so horrific.

"Then he'll start showing me photos of the country and saying how beautiful the places were, then he'll switch back to the nasty stuff."

The mother said her son had already put his hand up to go back over the Afghanistan because his "mates are still over there".

This is just one version of a mother's heartache as she watches her son overcome the terrors of war.

"I don't think there is any way they (the government) could help more."

Do you think soldiers returning from war should have mandatory counselling or therapy?

This poll ended on 30 April 2013.

Yes. - 70%

No, it should be their choice. - 29%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Topics:  afghanistan australian army mental health trauma war



Don’t go chasing waterfalls…find them on these drives!

BRISBANE isn’t all bright lights and city slickers.

Science Festival seriously awesome

Don't miss the World Science Festival Brisbane!

CALLING everyone who wants to see something totally cool.

Drink where the cool kids do this summer

There are a bunch of new bars open in Brisbane, make sure you're there!

CHECK out these new funky bars.

Discover Brisbane’s laneway gems

Brisbane's laneways will surprise you.

NOT all of Brisbane City is as it seems…

Top five things to experience this summer in Brisbane

Tangalooma is amazing if you're keen for a dive, kayak or swim.

THIS summer get out and explore your capital city.

Your boots are made for walking these tours

Brisbane Greeters tours are a great way to learn the local history of the city.

YOU don’t need a bike or bus for a seriously good tour of Brisbane.

Is Brisbane the new arts and culture capital?

Check out GOMA's latest exhibition - it's all about hair! GOMA 10 Ambassador Patience Hodgson visits Nervescape V 2016 by Icelandic artist Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir (aka Shoplifter), commissioned for ‘Sugar Spin: you, me, art and everything’ at the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane. 
Photograph: Natasha Harth, QAGOMA

THE rest of the world should be envious of this line-up!

Waterfront luxury in Tweed

14 The Mainbrace, Tweed Heads

Check out house of the week.

Tweed MP to fight to have daylight savings reduced

Tweed MP Geoff Provest want daylight saving reduced by one month.

Tweed set to fight to have daylight savings reduced by a month.

Live music: Boogie on down this weekend

Moreland & Arbuckle will be playing the Currumbin Soundlounge on Friday from 8.30pm.

Gig Guide: What's on around Tweed (Feb 23 - 27)

Local Partners

New festival joins Quiksilver Pro party

The Rubens, Beautiful girls join line up for inaugural festival

Live music: Boogie on down this weekend

Moreland & Arbuckle will be playing the Currumbin Soundlounge on Friday from 8.30pm.

Gig Guide: What's on around Tweed (Feb 23 - 27)

Bliss N Eso announce tribute show for stuntman

Bliss N Eso will play a tribute show at Coolangatta in honour of Johann Ofner. The stuntman died during the filming of the group's Friend Like You film clip earlier this year.

BLISS N Eso to play tribute show to raise funds for killed stuntman

Neil Finn to headline Bluesfest

Neil Finn, of Crowded House fame, will play in Byron Bay with his wife Sharon and their band The Pyjama Club on June 11.

DON'T dream, it's not over, Neil Finn to hit the stage

MOVIE REVIEW: Trainspotting sequel as good as original

Ewen Bremner in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting.

Director Danny Boyle proves sequels can be done well.

How Karl Stefanovic's wife, kids found out about girlfriend

Karl Stefanovic and Jasmine Yarbrough after their day on Sydney Harbour. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Pictures splashed across tabloid were shock to family

WATCH: Toowoomba opera hopeful's incredible voice

Kaitlyn Orange attends Opera Queensland auditions at Empire Theatres for Opera at Jimbour, Saturday, February 18, 2017.

Opera hopefuls vie for parts in performance at Jimbour House

Waterfront luxury in Tweed

14 The Mainbrace, Tweed Heads

Check out house of the week.

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Potential home buyers punished for doing the 'right thing'

Should I go to university or buy a house?

Get Moo-ving to Mooball

The old Pacific Highway and Murwillumbah railway line cut a parrallel path throughThe thriving village of Mooball , looking North East towards Murwillumbah and Mount Warning.

An expansion plan has been approved.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!