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People of Cessnock is a blog by local resident, Rebecca Murray. The project seeks to value the people of her home town by sharing their stories value and raising the profile of people living outside metropolitan areas.

Ten

Ten

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“I grew up between Gippsland and Geelong, Victoria, on properties. I worked on properties as well until I was old enough to join the army.

I was deployed in Timor. About 10 months.

I was a commander overseas so I had 8 soldiers all expecting me to make the right decisions at any time or someone may not come back. That in itself causes you to overthink too much. Like, what if? What if? What if?

Probably the hardest bit to deal with over there was just keeping alert, keeping vigilant, on long hours. Because you might go out for a seven-day patrol and you don’t sleep much really.

Had one incident where it was nighttime, I could hear a pig squealing. Ended up going up. The locals were trying to kill it but they were only using little blades. So, we ended up shooting it; putting it out of its misery.

A few years ago, I was at the servo getting fuel and a truckload of pigs turned up next to me and that sent me straight downhill. Just the sound.

It’s like your body just gives up. Like your mind or your soul or whatever just gives up. Picture the worst cold you could ever have and probably times it by ten. You don’t want to get out of bed. You don’t want to talk to anyone. You just feel low. It can be just small triggers. And what triggers me wouldn’t be the same trigger for someone else.

The time with the pigs on the truck, that was instant flash back. It sent me downhill. I actually went into hospital after that.”

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“Well, this one is sort of my girl - Lady.

With dogs, I love that there’s just no right or wrong. They just love you for who you are. And whatever love you give them they just give back tenfold. They know when you’re feeling down and they won’t leave your side.

Cause I do get the flashbacks. I’ve got severe PTSD and stuff. So, there are days where I just wanna go shopping, but you just can’t. So, you order your shopping online and get it delivered.

You know there are days where it’s really hard to drag yourself out of bed, but you’ve got to, cause you’ve got to get the kids up for school. And every day sometimes you’ve just got to find a reason for being.  And that reason, for me, is my family.

I think the most precious moment of my life was when I became a dad. I’ve never had my own children but now I’ve got two of the most beautiful children you’d ever want. And my belief is they don’t have to be born by you to be yours. I’m who they know as their father.

I really feel that they are why I’ve been put on this planet. To be here. And I firmly believe that.”

Eleven

Eleven

Nine

Nine