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
My number one supporter was there on the night, my 85 year old father Alan, who along with my late mum Eileen, unwaveringly picked up the pieces with each shattering blow, both physical and mental, that I encountered on my long journey after the shooting.
One of the themes throughout the keynote was what can come from helping people out of the sheer kindness of your heart, which Lifeline epitomises with its over 11,000 volunteers.
I role played the shooting and a number of key turning points during the 45 minute talk. Two very dear friends were present in the audience that night, Joel Palmer and Michael Alafaci, who had stepped up to help me when they saw an opportunity to assist. I was able to share Joel’s and Mike’s stories of support and the ripple effect of their pure acts of kindness.Joel owns a financial asset management business, Palmer Portfolios. He knew that I was speaking within the police and had a powerful story, but was a diamond in the rough when it came to presenting. He did not say anything to me, but he had an idea. At the opening celebration of a new business venture in 2014 he made a specific point of walking me over and introducing me to one of his friends and business associates. He said, ‘Hi Mike, I’d like you to meet Greeny, he has an interesting story.’ I told Mike about my backstory and he listened intently. It turns out Mike is an Executive Performance Coach and one of his core professional services is teaching speaking and presenting skills. A few years later, Mike confided in me saying, ‘When we met mate, I knew you had a lot to offer the world by speaking, but I also knew you could not afford my fees!’ So he made a generous decision and volunteered his time and commenced coaching me in professional speaking. Next he introduced me to Professional Speakers Australia, encouraged me to apply for The Kerrie Nairn Scholarship for Public Speaking, which I was awarded in 2015, and became an amazing friend who continues to coach me to this day.
It was an honour to recognise my father, Joel and Mike in the keynote, and tell their stories of selfless kindness, which had a powerful butterfly effect, of not only helping me to ‘keep going’, but turn a traumatic event on its head and launch me into the world of professional speaking.
Lastly it was a privilege to recognise these same types of selfless acts of kindness demonstrated by Lifeline’s employees and thousands of volunteers each day around the country, helping those members of our community who may not be as fortunate to have a support network such as mine and are doing it tough.
It is a pure joy to support Lifeline’s work. After my talk, John Brogden AM, Chairman of Lifeline Australia had these humbling words to say…
Lifeline Australia’s 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention line is 13 11 14.
Please support Lifeline’s mission of An Australia Free of Suicide through volunteering your time or making a donation.
It consisted of 15 days, 40 vehicles (military and emergency services) and covered 2,322 kilometres, bringing national awareness to Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) through mainstream and social media, as well as, raising funds for the research and treatment of the condition.
I had the privileged to speak to approximately 300 New South Wales Police Force recruits and to Australian Federal Police (AFP) at their Canberra Headquarters, on my experience of PTS.
I spoke about the history of PTS, how it was briefly touched on during my police recruit training, and the events on 1 May 2000, when I was ambushed and shot (in the face and shoulder), along with my colleagues, Constable Sharnelle Cole, and Sergeant Chris Mulhall. I told personal stories of how PTS affected me e.g. hyperarousal, anger, depression, anxiety and dreams. But most importantly, I delved into what helped me manage the debilitating affects of PTS, including the love, care and unwavering support from my parents, Alan and Eileen, as well as, understanding and support from key work colleagues such as the late Inspector Dave Stevenson, and professional help from psychologists and psychiatrists.
The AFP recorded my talk and clips of key messages can be viewed in my Video Library or here:
- ‘Workplace morale, reflection of boss, I can’t walk out’ – Australian Federal Police HQ, Canberra
- ‘Expertise at connecting with people’ – Australian Federal Police HQ, Canberra
- ‘Bringing down the wall’ – Australian Federal Police HQ, Canberra
- ‘Effects of shooting on my parents’ – Australian Federal Police HQ, Canberra
- ‘PTS, how long’s it been around?’ – Australian Federal Police HQ, Canberra
The Australian Bravery Decorations Council described the extraordinary circumstances as follows:
Three police officers were seated inside a police vehicle at Hanbury Street, West Chermside with the passenger doors open when an offender fired a series of shots into the car, wounding all three officers before threatening to kill them. Despite suffering serious wounds one office managed to get out of the car, draw his service revolver, and provide a line of protection for his wounded colleagues. Suffering similar wounds, another police officer used the radio to alert Police Communications of the incident. A fourth officer driving nearby heard the call for assistance and drove to the scene. He dragged the officers behind his vehicle for cover, scanned the area for the offender, and provided situation reports by radio until other police and ambulance personnel arrived. Following the shooting, the offender fled to nearby bushland and was later found deceased.
It was a long time coming, but it was a wonderful feeling to be recognised by Her Majesty with my colleagues, for how we pulled together and acted that night, confronting every police officer’s worst nightmare.
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
My partner Constable Sharnelle Cole, Sergeant Chris Mulhall and I, were ambushed and all shot multiple times by Nigel Parodi. Some of the challenges I would confront over the coming years were two rounds of facial reconstruction surgery, battling post-traumatic stress, and fighting a 10-year legal battle for criminal compensation.
A key turning point came in 2006 when Queensland Police Academy Sergeant Paul Trinder, asked me if I would mind speaking to his squad of recruits and pass on any lessons from the shooting, that may benefit these soon to be ‘first responder’ police officers. I agreed and spoke to a group about the shooting for the first time in my life. I played the audio of the shooting taking place, drew a diagram on a whiteboard to explain how events unfolded, spoke for an hour, and left the recruits with four lessons. The positive feedback on real life lessons from someone who had lived the experience, led to more requests to address police recruits. Word of my speaking began to spread within police circles. In 2010 I was asked to talk to police officers at Charleville, my first speaking engagement outside Brisbane. Then word of my speaking began to spread outside the police. In 2012 I received a request to speak to Energex employees, my first public speaking engagement.
In 2014 I met speaking coach Michael Alafaci, who introduced me to Professional Speakers Australia, where I learned of an amazing development opportunity, The Kerrie Nairn Scholarship for Public Speaking. I soon learned though that professionals already earning a full time living from speaking, were applying for the scholarship. I fell into a slump and thought, ‘What chance do I have, I’m just a copper.’ However, I had learned that feeling sorry for myself got me nowhere, only action got me somewhere. So drawing on a powerful line from an inspiring movie, ‘Get busy living or get busy dying‘, I got busy living! I picked myself up, put pen to paper and applied for the scholarship. And guess what, I learnt that I was more than just a copper, I was an emerging speaker, because Australia’s professional speakers—who gather once a year to award the prestigious Kerrie Nairn Scholarship for Public Speaking—selected me to be the 2015 scholar!
This year at the Professional Speakers Australia Summit held on the Gold Coast, I was requested to speak on the scholarship experience, prior to the announcement of the 2016 scholar, Chinmay Ananda (‘Congratulations mate, I look forward to supporting you on your amazing scholarship journey that has just commenced’). Today, I posted on YouTube this talk. I posted a short clip ‘In my very expensive trousers, there is a small hole…‘ and the full talk, ‘The Kerrie Nairn Scholarship Experience‘.
It has been wonderful with the support of my 81 year old mum Eileen and 84 year old dad Alan, some very special police colleagues, such as Inspector Dave Stevenson, Inspector Mark Harvey, Research Officer Neil Robson (… and many others), and Australia’s professional speakers, to turn every police officers’ worst nightmare, from a negative experience, into a positive one!
Thank you all.
As part of the Kerrie Nairn Scholarship for Public Speaking, awarded to me earlier in the year by Professional Speakers Australia, a component of the scholarship is free attendance at three of Allan’s courses. But Allan goes further. Prior to my keynote for the PTSD Forum 2015, he offered to coach me to help make it a very special talk. Time was of the essence, so we used Skype for the coaching session. Allan had neglected to tell me that he was actually ill and had been hospitalised for pneumonia! Good to his word, from his hospitable bed, over Skype, he was able to help tailor my keynote, to make it a home run – I received a standing ovation. It was doubly special, as my 81 year old mother Eileen and 83 year old father Alan, who stood by me when all seemed hopeless, who supported me through all the torment, and who showed me what unconditional love was, were in the audience. Thank you Allan for going above and beyond.
After meeting Allan face to face for the strategy session to see how he could best assist me as a speaker, I sent a simple thank you text message from me, and mum and dad, who avidly consume all news regarding my speaking career. Allan texted back, ‘It is a joy to be invited to be part of your journey and to admire what you have already done. I look forward to assisting and working with you in living your dream.’ What an amazing man. Allan, thank you for support, wisdom and friendship at the beginning of my speaking career… and hang on for the amazing journey it will be 😉
Daryl has contemplated much out running, which he finds is his reflection time. One day he asked himself, with all the struggles, all the setbacks and when all seemed hopeless, what kept him going. He found one constant and he shares this, in the lesson he imparts in this interview.
You can listen to the interview and learn this valuable lesson here!
The 5th annual Queensland Police Sergeants’ and Commissioned Officers’ Combined Annual Mess function was held in the Premier’s Hall, Parliament House. The dinner commemorated Police Remembrance Day, a day special to every police officer, particularly the families of those officers how have made the ultimate sacrifice.
The list of the fallen
Order of proceedings
The article touches on what Daryl has learnt first hand, and knows is common for survivors of horrific trauma:
‘I literally thought I was going crazy so I didn’t tell people my thoughts,” he said.
He erected a wall around himself while experiencing anger, anxiety, depression and hyper-arousal as he tried to live a normal existence.
He even had suicidal thoughts but realised he couldn’t do that to his parents.
“I then did one of the most courageous things I have done in my life – I asked for help.”