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Shona Traill

Shona was living in Darwin, when her husband Gordon returned from service in Iraq. She had three young children and was far from family support networks.

I just remember he came home in September, and, by Christmas time, I knew something was really, really wrong.

Gordon was eventually diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Shona relates:

On the base, no one really understood what was happening with him, and there were some people that had said derogatory things, and some derogatory things were said to me.

Then to come to Geelong for his treatment, although this is my home, we were a military family in a civilian area. So, even though Gordon was getting his treatment, and we did have a pastor come to the house and he was extremely helpful, I didn’t have any network of friends. I had lost old school friends, and things like that, because we’d been away for 30 years.

So, it was isolating. I didn’t know anyone else whose husband had PTSD or had it in their family.

Gordon began to get the help he needed and Shona too has therapy, through Open Arms Veterans’ and Family Counselling.

My girls tell me I’m the glue that holds this family together, and while that’s great, sometimes it can be a really huge burden on my shoulders. So that’s why for myself having a therapist is – I just talk non-stop for the 45 minutes from the moment I get in there… I can unburden everything on her, and that support is invaluable.

Shona, 2018
Geelong, Victoria
photographer Gordon Traill