My mother and father were the glue that held me and my life together, whilst professionals—psychologists and psychiatrists—treated me for years during the worst stages of chronic PTSD.
I know from experience, the secondary causalities of PTSD are the sufferer’s loved ones – wife, partner, children, siblings, parents – the ones who see the effects of PTSD up close and personal. The depression, anger, anxiety, hyperarousal, dreams, flashbacks, withdrawal and massive personality changes.
One of my first memories of what I was going through affecting my parents, was in the first week after being released from hospital following the shooting.
I was having a nightmare and my father tried to wake me. As soon as he touched me I lashed out kicking at him repeatedly until I woke and realised where I was!
Love ones often feel helpless, are often overlooked by support services (although this is improving) and suffer in silence. For years I underwent intrusive operations to reconstruct my shattered mouth from that first bullet, with each procedure re-igniting the full fury of PTSD.
This is the damage the first bullet to my face inflicted…
As all loving parents know, what affects your children, affects you. Things became so bad in the early years after the shooting, my father suffered severe depression. I was being treated by an experienced psychiatrist who had children of his own. He had more than an inkling of what my parents were going through. When I shared my concerns about my father’s declining mental health, even though he was not paid for it, the psychiatrist volunteered to see and treat my father for 15 minutes after each session that I had with him. My dad started a course of anti-depressants, which combined with talking about his feelings and emotions, and the wise counsel of this generous psychiatrist, helped in time to relieve his depression. This enabled him to ‘keep going’ and along with mum continue to be a bulwark of support for me.Tony Dell is the only first-class cricketer to serve in the Vietnam war and said, ‘I saw things in Vietnam that the human brain is not meant to experience…’. Forty years after his war service, his experiences led to a diagnosis of PTSD. Not the type to receive his TPI pension and do nothing, he founded Stand Tall for PTS to help reduce the condition’s stigma, educate and encourage governments to do more. In early 2017 he asked me to participate in a music film clip about the condition we share in common. He also asked, ‘Do you know anyone else touched by PTS who would be willing to contribute?’ You don’t need to be a Rhodes Scholar to know who I turned to! 😊
Despite his waning years, my dad was once again there for me and agreed to participate in the music film clip. However this time, he was not there solely for me. Anyone who knows my dad, knows his gentle kind and empathic nature – if he can help someone out, he’s the first to show up! Alan participated to help raise awareness of PTSD and in his own small way, try to make the road for the condition’s suffers and their loved ones, a little bit easier than we have had to traverse together.
Hint: Dad appears between 3 and 4 minutes.
The ‘Stand Tall’ music film clip will give you a true glimpse of what it is like living with PTSD and help you understand and better support those affected by the condition.
Please watch the film clip’s scenes and listen carefully to Tony’s own words based on his personal experiences.
More than 15 million Australians are affected by trauma and it is estimated that between 5 and 10 percent of the population will suffer PTSD at some point in their life (Source: Phoenix Australia).
If you wish to…
- learn more
- receive help for suffers and supporters
- support research for effective treatments
Our mothers bring us into this world, feed us and nurture us. They are there when we are helpless and there when we are suffering, be us a child or an adult. And hopefully our mothers have an amazing partner by their side to help raise us. My 81-year-old mother, Eileen, has had by her side an amazing man, my 84-year-old father, Alan, for 53 years of marriage, and who is now also mum’s full-time carer.
Last Friday morning, one week ago, I was preparing to be awarded, along with Sergeant Chris Mulhall, Senior Constable Sharnelle Cole née Harris, and Sergeant Brett Price, a Group Bravery Citation, by his Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland.
All I wanted that morning was mum. I wanted her to be with me at the ceremony. This was far from a foregone conclusion. Would she be able to lift heaven and earth and be there?
I shared a simple story on Facebook about that morning and the above photograph.
The feedback from friends and family was touching. A primary school friend who I had not seen in person for decades read the post and burst into tears. She telephoned her mum and said, ‘You have to call Mrs Green and wish her well’. Her mother reached out and re-connected with my mum, many years past our time at Nundah Primary School.
I thought I’d share word for word, that simple story here, and remind everyone, how important our mothers are to us, and thank my mum for her unwavering support, care and unconditional love.
Mum was very ill the day before the Group Bravery Citation was being presented to me, Chris Mulhall, Sharnelle, and Brett Price, by the Governor His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey, on Friday 6 May 2016. Friday morning, I did not ring mum and dad, but was desperately hoping mum was going to be able to attend. Dressed in full uniform, I arrived at their home and parked in the street. As I rounded the corner of their driveway on foot, I saw their car was out of the garage, hmmm… a favourable sign. As more of the vehicle came into sight, I saw the passenger side door was open, I thought that’s positive. As I walked past the car into the backyard I heard mum’s voice in the kitchen. I felt this is very good. And when I opened the back door, I could see a sliver of blue in the kitchen. As I opened the door further, I realised it was mum, sat in the kitchen in her gorgeous blue dress. I was elated! Thunderbirds were go ? I was able to share this very important day with my two greatest supporters, mum and dad. And we have this beautiful photograph capturing the moment with the Governor. Love you mum and dad. I would not have made it to this day without your care, understanding and unconditional love. I’m a very lucky boy to have such amazing parents ☺
Original Facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/daryl.green.5680/posts/1188219024545584?comment_id=1189082944459192