|This is not my daughter - I would never post her picture - but this is how she looks right now|
I usually confine my posts to a fairly narrow range of topics.
This blog is essentially a pastime, a way of engaging the world of ideas, and an indulgence in one of my favourite activities - writing. It doesn't encroach on what is closest to my heart - my family.
I trust regular and new readers will forgive me then, if I break the rules depart from my usual discourse and blog about my family, and the very tough stuff we're going through at the moment.
Long time readers will remember this post about my youngest daughter back in 2010.
Unfortunately the resilience she showed back then hasn't endured. She's always been a strong independent kid. She's pretty, was dux of her school, and is a talented musician. She is studying Psychology at U of Q and dreams of being a Counsellor or a Music Therapist.
She is also on a Long Tan scholarship.
My beautiful daughter has succumbed to the trauma of that event back in 2010, and is now in a Psychiatric ward. About a month ago when she realised she was showing depressive symptoms, she got herself referred to a Psych.
The diagnosis is PTSD.
Her studies, her relationships, her life, are on hold.
There's something ironic in the fact that a disorder common amongst Vietnam Veterans has claimed the daughter of a veteran.
The guy who attacked her was convicted and got two years. He's out now (parole) - back on the street. He was 29 at the time of the offence, and strongly built. She was 18 when it happened. Back then she weighed 50 kg. She's lost weight since as a consequence of her illness.
After reading the court transcript I became aware of how terrifying her ordeal must have been - as much as anything else because she was isolated from help and under his power for five long minutes. Yet she chose not to receive counselling after the event. She seemed to be angry, rather than frightened.
When determining how much nagging I should do to talk her into counselling, I thought back to my days in Vietnam and remembered that anger was often my strongest reaction to a situation when I knew someone was trying to kill me, and rationalised that she was probably reacting the same way.
So I didn't nag her.
Obviously I was wrong.
The medicos are still trying to establish the root of the problem, but to me it's pretty clear. This incident destroyed her sunny and innocent view of the world, and the deep and abiding fear that it generated has taken over.
All my wife and I can do know is wait. We can see her for a short time daily, but she can't have her phone, her books, and can't talk to her friends. She finds this last bit really tough, as she has always been a very socially connected kid.
I'm finding it pretty tough also. Posts may be sparse for a while.
But then, perhaps not. Blogging can be good therapy.