Fighting spirit emerges from empty shell

A few months after the nightmare of being the hostage of angry, unpredictable and heavily armed extremists in Iraq, Rabia Siddique realised things were not right.

She was back in Britain and her husband Anthony noticed changed behaviour.

"I had stopped answering the phone and door at home, avoided all social contact and looked to alcohol for Dutch courage to face the world," Ms Siddique said.

She had come home "an empty shell and a broken person". "It was through the love, honesty and encouragement of my husband that I recognised I needed professional help," she said.

"After being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder I was able to get the treatment and support I needed, which allowed me to heal and regain my inner strength."

That strength helped her recover the poise, courage and determination that took her from Penrhos College to a career in law and deployment as legal adviser to British troops in the chaos and carnage of post-Saddam Iraq.

Now she wants to use her profile to raise awareness and lobby for funding to treat and support Australian soldiers returning from Afghanistan with PTSD.

"We must get better and dedicate more time, energy and resources to tackling this epidemic, recognising it as such and providing real, holistic support for those who often suffer for so long in silence," she said.

"We dedicate millions of dollars every year to commemorating our fallen heroes of yesterday.

"Anzac Day has become one of the most important days in the Australian calendar and the Anzac spirit defines our country and the values we proudly defend.

"Perhaps we should use some of those resources to recognise, respect and support our heroes of today - our living examples of the Anzac spirit."

She said much more was needed to help those with PTSD and mental injuries.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

Follow Us

More from The West