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Major General John Cantwell's battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Posted by: Ellen Feely | 24 September, 2012 - 12:15 PM
Major General John Cantwell

Retired senior Australian Army officer Major General John Cantwell has spoken to Neil Mitchell about how he dealt with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after the release of his book ‘Exit Wounds: One Australian’s War on Terror’.

Major General Cantwell said the whole purpose of the book in ‘outing’ himself is to reach out to the tens of thousands of veterans they are affected by PTSD but are ashamed of their afflictions.

”The problem is the type of people they're trying to target, which is traditionally young males especially, have this sort of warrior self-image,” he said.

”They're just not prepared to admit they've got a problem.

”They've just got to get over that and get some help because I made the terrible mistake of trying to hide it and I paid the cost.”

LISTEN: Major General John Cantwell speaks with Neil Mitchell:

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Blog comments Your Say

  • Am I getting it wrong, I thought the a was a u.

    Mitch Thursday 29 November, 2012 - 4:18 PM
  • I have painted a picture for Major General Cantwell which I should like to send him. I would be much obliged if you would ask him to contact me so that I may send him a picture of the painting and if he likes it, I shall endeavour to send ti to him

    Barbara Cohen Thursday 29 November, 2012 - 12:26 PM
  • Thank you John for your straight talk I also am doing my bit to have people accept mental illness and in my case ptsd which have had for 16 years for me it seems cery controlling indeed i paint and find that very helpfull because when i paint my mind is fully occupied with myu work and no tome for the horrors to sneek in. I live inthe Mallee and on aproperty isolated for people i do venture out for provisions etc. I see a doctor in adelaide every 2-3- months and take my medication hardly a day goes past that i am not ewakened to my experience. last week i was guest speaker for the opening og mental health week here in swan hill and i work with children sufferes by painting and creative works only in the last few years i feel ready to express my feelings and talk about ptsd the awakwardness of mental illneww is a very big problem and the stigma wow but i will keep fighting to let every one know we did not choose this parth and it may happen to them. and it is not to be ashamed of. good luck to you and good luck to me Margie

    margaret wilson Tuesday 16 October, 2012 - 10:04 AM
  • Fair comment Capt T Rose. Although a very moving story about a soldier who has been through more than most, it is noticeable that there is a blaze of publicity about PTSD at the same time as book launch. Could be just cynicism or jealousy by many of onlookers or could be ensuring sales of the book. Also one thing that is noticeable is that the general started getting PTSD 20 years ago but it was never mentioned till he had reached the pinnacle of his career, ensuring that promotion was ensured. On the generals own facebook site titled Readers of Exit Wounds is another interesting story about a soldier who looks like he lost his career early for raising an issue before he discharged here is link or just go Readers of Exit Wounds on facebook http://www.news.com.au/national/army-sorry-over-the-cover-up-of-a-hit-and-run-victim-who-was-only-an-arab/story-fndo4eg9-1226461036050

    Eyes Wide Open Sunday 14 October, 2012 - 1:47 PM
  • Magor General Cantwell. You have had an incredible impact on many people with your recent revelations. What a gift you have given them. I have recently completed a pilot study with some very encouraging results with veterans with PTSD. The treatment is basically over five weeks and involves non invasive procedures. We are about to embark on a multi site study in Adelaide, Sydney and the Gold Coast. I would be thrilled if you could be part of that study or you may recommend others.. Please could you contact me at neridasaunders@gmail.com? Nerida

    Nerida Saunders Sunday 7 October, 2012 - 7:45 AM
  • I just heard John Cantwell on triple J explaining and being questioned on some points in his book. What really stuck with me was his explanation on guilt and his reasons for not speaking out or doing something about the things he saw and ordered that haunt him today. Such truth and honesty from a leader who did as he was told unquestioningly during war but has the guts to delve into his consciousness and see the past as it really was- horrible, gruesome; and questioning was it worth it. Would love to meet this man one day.

    vic Wednesday 26 September, 2012 - 6:13 PM

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