Tell us a bit about yourself and your history in the military...
Veteran - 16 years’ service the majority of this as a Qualified Commando Officer.
Multiple combat & peacekeeping deployments around the world - that have taught me the value of personality & emotional intelligence in parallel to competence in all actions. Now empowered with the purpose to support the modern veteran community in being understood, supported, and engaged to the benefit of all Australians.
I took extended leave to lead the expansion of Barry’s Bootcamp to Australia and Singapore in 2018 before officially discharging from the military January 2019. Spent the next year going down hill as I isolated myself from the military in an attempt to discover my life as a newly openly gay man and super human image I thought I carried as my responsibility post Special Forces service. Hit rock bottom this year and now speak out on the issues I’ve faced and wish I didn't see with stigma through my platform Voice Of a Veteran (VoiceOfaVeteran.org)
What is ONE tip you can provide to those reading this that helped with your transition from the military to civilian life from a mental health perspective? The hardest transitions in life are those that impact your emotional resilience -through a loss of purpose (intrinsic motivation) & or loss of community (identity).
I wish that I was able to understand the true considerations pertaining to a loss of purpose - loss of responsibility and self worth - and to appreciate that relying on extrinsic motivators such as money, fame, popularity etc only serve to satisfy superficial treatment while the core is left to rot. - Understand and find your purpose first and foremost - the rest will follow.
What do you wish civilians were more aware of about Veterans and military personnel?
Need to work to remove this victim image / stigma around veterans. We are everyday Australians that have actually been through some of the most deliberate and professional training in the world - and just now struggle with no longer having the responsibility to defend Australia and its way of life - a responsibility that previously empowered us to serve without fear or regard for our own lives or safety. We are highly capable and ready to achieve greatness - we just sometimes struggle to understand how - and feel out of place and difficult to be vulnerable to admit we struggle so.
What do you like most about LIVIN?
It ain’t weak to speak - speaking about all these issues and more not only helps to remove the associated stigma - but works as mental fitness (pushups to our daily routine) - which we need to work on more and not save up for single downloads or outpours.