At 18 years old I took a sickie from work, saw an ad on the TV with a helicopter, made a phone call and all of a sudden the next thing I knew I was enlisted into the Australian Army. In January 2019, after just over 20 years and two deployments of the Middle East, I was medically discharged due to mental illness and physical injuries sustained as a result of my service.
I was diagnosed with PTSD and Generalised Anxiety Disorder prior to discharge and have a number of physical injuries that really limit my day to day activities.
I went from flying high in the military to being a nobody and feeling like no one cared and what I had done in my career meant nothing, the reality of how replaceable I was really hit me hard. It was then I realised I needed to figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up, who do I want to be and what do I still want to achieve in my life. I knew no matter what, I wanted what I did to have a purpose and make a difference in people's hearts as my eyes are truly wide open to how horrible the human race can actually be, especially to one another.
I grew up in various small towns within South Australia and had moved 11 times by the time I was 13. One of my fondest memories as a kid was living on a sheep farm in the Flinders Ranges and a very special person that came into my life during some tough times used that information and got me a flock of six sheep to give me something to do (and to stop annoying them lol). Literally the day they arrived one gave birth to twins and this was where the crazy sheep farmer lady was born.
The sheep have been amazing and the benefits of animal therapy were indescribable. Not only do they bring me joy, but they give me a sense of purpose, a welcome distraction and something to focus on instead of driving my loved ones crazy. I can honestly say I have been to the depths of hell and back, more than a few times actually, but I am surviving.