The mental health thread


Part 5.
PTSD. My journey with posttraumatic stress disorder.
Working in Rockhampton, I was living in Yeppoon about a 50-minute drive from my place to the Airport. With work they introduced a 12-hour roster, so it was like a 14-hour working day for me. With lack of sleep due to nightmares, pressure within work and travelling long distances it eventually triggered a mental breakdown. It happened late 1997 when a helicopter flew low over the Met Office at the Airport causing me to have a mental flashback. I thought I was in Vietnam again. Note…
When a person has flashbacks, they almost always have the other hallmarks of PTSD: nightmares, unwanted memories, anxiety, quick temper, avoidance of “triggers,” numbing of positive emotion, withdrawal from others. So the flashback is part of a cascade of symptoms. One symptom precipitates another.
My local GP put me on sick leave and wanted to refer me to a Psychiatrist, but I was convinced I could manage this by myself. To get away from all the pressures of life I decided to go and seek isolation. I left my family and took remote postings. For the following years I found peace and quietness. Solitude was like a drug to me. I’d come home to my family and work a couple months at Rockhampton and leave again for isolation.
1998 posted to Giles Weather Station in the Gibson desert West Australia. The remotest Weather Station in Australia. Eight months away from home.
2000 Leave and Long service leave at home.
2001-2002 posted to Macquarie Island. Again, eight months away from home.
2002-2003 posted to Davis Base Antarctica, eighteen months away from home including six months of training. The expedition chose me to be a scrub nurse to help our Doctor in case of an emergency while down on the ice. They sent me to do a one-month course at the Royal Hobart Hospital. Part of the training was to go in the operating theatre. I was worried and stressed how I would cope with the sight of blood. I didn’t need to worry as I soon found out I didn’t have any feelings what so ever, no emotion, nothing.
2004 posted to Casey Base Antarctica, three months away from home. It all ended at Casey Base, when another expeditioner and myself slipped on clear ice outside the base. We didn’t have any crampons on our boots. The other bloke saved himself but unfortunately for me I slipped and hit my head causing my brain to swell and bleed but as my head was on the ice, the freezing condition slowed the swelling and bleeding saving my life. I was very fortunate as the Aurora Australis was still offshore about 20kms from the base with a helicopter aboard. They rescued me from the ice, but they couldn’t medivac me out until another 24 hours because of a blizzard. It took two weeks to get me back to Hobart. I was out to it until a couple days from Hobart. On arrival they put me into Calvary Hospital. From scans it showed I had extensive brain injury with bruising. After 4 weeks in Hobart they flew me back home. My family was upset and demanded I go and see a Psychiatrist and sort myself out. All I could think of with my feelings were, the only place I found peace had just been ripped away from me. I was finally diagnosed with PTSD, 34 years after my service in Vietnam. For the next two years I went in and out of deep depression and in hospital for rehab. The biggest problem was getting me on the right medication. Some medication made me feel more depressed and others over active. In rehab I spent hours being counselled by my Psychiatrist, Psychologist and Social Workers.

Final Part in the next few days.


This one took me ages to do. I hate saying no to people (i hate confrontation, causes me anxiety) so i always used to say yes. Slowly but surely, with the help of my phychologist i have learnt to say no. The key is doing it in a nice/respectful way.

once you get the hang of it, it relieves sooooo much stress

Making a list of things to do also really helps. As when you finish something- you cross it off the list and you get a bit of satisfaction from it


My colleague has written his priority list in red whiteboard marker on his desk and whenever someone comes to him with some new task (every day) he points to the listand says “which one is yours?” to the person. He then asks if it stays on the list or is replaced with the new task… The managers are slowly getting the message.


I ended up asking to leave an hour early from work (got chased into the car park by someone wanting something. Lol) and spent some time with my daughter between school and her going to guides. Seems to have relaxed me a bit. I had time to go for a walk and get some household stuff out of the way. I got asked to attend something tomorrow evening and said I was going to have a well earned quiet night. Now I’m going to get away from social media and get on with ticking off some classic sci-fi reading of which I have a long list of.


I stack all my email priorities in order on my desk as work through the current priorities through email and phone, and just say take a number to anyone that comes forward with anything “urgent” Anything urgent I white board it, so everyone can see it as I deal with all the priorities.
Yep I am the bottom of the chain but without me the trains don’t run, I am so underpaid and overworked running the state roster understaffed, but thats ok to management as long as the trains run they don’t see it.

Little bit of a rant hidden in there, but I feel so overwhelmed some/most days that my whole life energy is just zapped and in the morning I am so positive but by the end I feel so drained and empty.


Well it might be small praise, but if you keep the trains running you do a farking great job.

I travel by trains lots and it is a great service, so many thanks !


All freight down here, would love passenger trains, but that is another story that should be in the politics thread, although mental health and politics sort of go hand in hand.

I actually feel bad in my job because I am sort of a nature lover and all the big money freight I organise is coal and cement, coal to feed paper mills and cement kilns, and cement to the mainland. It eats at me as I love Tasmania but I need a job as well.

Ironic as it is this week we had all these people go to a mental training course , so I had to rearrange everything on a depleted roster, here I am struggling to run services whilst they are all learning about mental health.

And last week it was a fatigue management course so I had to get permission to run a few train drivers on high fatigue so others can go to a fatigue management course. I even highlighted this in an email with GM CC’ed. Ironic I said.

But thats ok we don’t need more train drivers just more courses highlighting the fact


And I should say I used to smoke pot (after work and never at work) to compensate this pressure and now I don’t I am finding depression really creeping in. I have met a new lady friend and we would have a smoke and laugh and have fun but she is now turned off by it so I stopped. Only 4 days !

Was pot masking heaps of underlying things that have been suppressed, do we take things to make us happy, is sugar bad? Is the world just a ■■■■ of a place?

■■■■ Carlton and ■■■■ you Alex Rance


My Son suffers PTSD from his stint in Afghanistan, and I visited him yesterday to find he has 6 pot plants growing well. I have not smoked a joint for 30 years, but will have one with him when it is cropped.

It does help his depression and sleeping much better than other meds.

Don’t tell anyone, as it is a secret !


The pot has pros and cons. If it can be used sensibly, it can really help with things like sleep, and anxiety. (for some people, for others it’s the opposite) I often use it to shut down impending Mania.

The ‘using it sensibly’ part has always been my drama though.

But, are you saying you’ve only stopped for 4 days? Because if you stop cold turkey after prolonged use… It’s not a fun few weeks.


I could never defeat the paranoia aspect of pot. I’m one of those people that it doesn’t agree with. There were fun times though. Still have the extremely occasional joint with one old mate but other than that it’s a fairly infrequent, quality bottle of red or scotch for me. The less frequently the better.


Thanks, yes just went cold turkey, and yes its been hard but I have done it before. Maybe leaving it for just weekends. One day at a time.
Have had a terrible headache all week though.


Well, that does sound like you’re being sensible about it.

Enjoy the insane dreams :smile:


The problem with cannabis in Australia is it its very hard. compared to the USA say, to get the particular strains that contains the correct level of dfferent cannabinoids.

Most the stuff here is high THC and low CBD, whereas if you are trying reduce anxiety that s the worst cannabis to consume and will in most cases make your anexiety worse. CBD helps counter the anxious effects of THC.

The strains with higher CBD are the ones you want.


A movie would not do your life justice dmorg1.


That’s a wonderful story and kudos to you & your family :+1:


Please any kid out there. marijuana is the last thing you want to consume if your not feeling good.

ffs in a mental health thread.

this helps:

  • exercise
  • sleep
  • good food
  • talking to people as much as you can who dont judge you.(friends or a doctor)
  • music
  • meditation or prayer
  • knowing that mental health challenges are common and have faith they will pass

Unless prescribed by a medical professional, drugs and alcohol do not work long-term and can make stuff lots worse.

when people talk medicinal cannibas its for sever ongoing pain relief thats not addictive like opiate based pain killers. ie for people who suffer severe pain from MS.


Careful with that…


There are many, many others thing that you should avoid before a joint.


It’s one of those things that can be very helpful or terribly destructive depending on the individual i think.

I can see how it’s be a relaxant at times for people with anxiety, but there’s a hell of a lot of reports correlating pot use with psychotic episodes and worsening of mental state among people with a predisposition to schizophrenia, not to mention how problematic the paranoia reaction can be to some people. And because it’s not regulated like other meds are, you never know what the hell amounts of what active ingredients you’re getting.

Even the people I’ve been close to who’ve had extremely serious clinical depression haven’t touched it - probably because they were ferociously academic types who read all the medical papers on it and knew all about the cases of it making things worse. The prospect of ‘what if it makes me more crazy?’ was anxiety-inducing enough in itself that they decide to pass on it.

I’m glad for the people it’s helped, but there’s a LOT of stuff I’d recommend first, I wouldn’t go near it in my case (not that I need it, personally), cos I know an addictive personality when one lives in my head, and if I started I’d be worried i wouldn’t stop.