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Fear, Anger And PTSD: Inside The Mind Of Man After War

"It's not OK for a man to feel fear or sadness. So they go to anger, which is OK."

03/08/2016 10:09 AM AEST | Updated 05/08/2016 11:26 AM AEST
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Video created by Emily Verdouw

James Greenshields led 110 frontline soldiers in combat during 2006-2007 of the Iraq campaign.

Like many others who have served Australia at war, he came back a different person. He was angry. He was detached from his wife and kids. James didn't realise that the hollowness and anxiety he was feeling was a sign he was within the grips of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is something that a reported 8.3 percent of our soldiers will have experienced within the last 12 months alone.

But James was a man. He was an army Major. He wasn't allowed to feel that way. And so he certainly wasn't going to access help. Lest his soldiers see him as weak and refuse to follow him in battle.

"[Men] have not been taught emotional literacy 101," Greenshields told The Huffington Post Australia.

"If we experience fear, it's not OK for a man to experience fear or sadness. So they go to anger, which is OK."

BLOG: A Man's Mind Is A Battlefield

The Australian Defence Force is largely made up of male soldiers who subscribe to a culture of masculinity that rewards appearing tough and shunning emotion.

Tied into this story of a man's mind after war is a battle between society's flawed definition of masculinity, the moral complexities of combat and the stigma that prevents people from seeking help.

If you are a current or former member of the Australian Defence Force or a family member of one, you are offered free and confidential support through Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service. You can call their Australia-wide crisis counselling helpline 24/7 on 1800 011 046.

Alternatively, if you would like to seek help elsewhere, you can contact Soldier On, who help men and women physically and psychologically affected by war.

If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 131114. For further information about depression, contact beyondblue on 1300224636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.

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