Engaging a Continent


Silhouette of a soldier against the sun.

The Price of Engagement, for Everyone

Today’s story comes from the Land Down Under, from one of that nation’s chief dailies, The Australian. It’s a story of struggle, a story of engaging survival from very different viewpoints:  “Diggers with PTSD Are Walking the Knife-Edge of Life and Death.”

“Diggers” is a interesting slang find for this US psychiatrist, a word in common usage at least since World War I (and specifically, the Battle at Gallipoli) to denote soldiers from Australia and New Zealand, the ones willing to fight in the trenches, class warfare be damned. Behind it lies much ambivalence toward who has the power to determine what values are important and what values are less so.  An Oxbridgian officer class, for example.

For some, to engage survival is to face the trauma of having been sexually violated by one’s own (alleged) comrades-in-arms. For some, to engage survival is to take on one’s own government in the name of those who once did (and for many, would still) pledge to defend it to the death. For some, to engage survival is to hold fast to treatment methods that one has come to trust, that one feels must be defended as well from assaults by dreamers and quasi-charlatans.

I support wholeheartedly those combat veterans who are determined to make better lives for themselves and for each other. I will respect well-meaning colleagues, even if I might disagree with them as to what best constitutes the way for those veterans to make better lives.

I myself only make the claim (and will keep making it) that after War, one must empower self-calm in order to engage survival, for it is only in engaging survival that one can re-energize life. The Mission to re-energize is a hard one. You cannot do it alone. Connect to each other. Find a calm that is not only peaceful, but also strong. Empower it. Use it in small ways. Use it in big ways.


Sounds as if there are more than a few diggers, whether they’re down the street or across the globe from you, who are more than willing to help out.

Until tomorrow, be well,


To find out more about Mates4Mates, an organization devoted to providing the broadest possible array of services to current and former members of the Australian Defence Force and their families, click here.

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