From a Facebook post made Sept. 20, 2019, by ADF veteran Dave Whitfield.
I was absolutely touched by this story, first sent to me by Alison Whitfield. Again, these are Dave’s original words and I haven’t made any edits to this.
THIS IS MY LIFE.
In 1997 I joined the Australian ARMY. In 2001 I was deployed to East Timor on warlike operations as a medic, I was beyond excited and was extremely proud to serve our country as we aided East Timor gain independence from Indonesia. When we first got in country we were told that we HAD to be involved in a malaria prophylaxis drug trial or be sent back home to Australia. As you could imagine nobody rejected the trial. The drug was Mefloquine. We were told that we could expect extremely vivid dreams for a week or so, Everyone’s dreams were extremely violent terrifying horror that was so vivid and so real.
The dreams never ever stopped nearly 20 years later and I hate going to sleep as the nightmares intrude when you’re awake. It’s extremely hard to tell the difference between reality and dream world. It was within the next year or so that I was discharged for medical reasons. My wife left and took my 5 children with her. Years and years of suicide attempts severe depression and psychotic events Extreme pain in every part of my body I can never get comfortable as every part of my body has to be moved as I can not be in one position for very long at all.
I suffer EXTREME seizures 2 to 5 or more times a week. Sometimes they last well up to the 10 min mark. If I’m lucky they last 4-5 minutes, I am fully aware during this. The pain is excruciating I have to try to remember to breathe. When I try to speak it’s just mumbling. My body jerks so violently that my already painful body is screaming at me the pain is so severe. When they stop I’m completely exhausted crying and hurting like fuck and I soon pass out cold where the nightmares continue and again I’m fighting for my life as I kick and thrash around all night.
When I wake my body doesn’t want to work my brain is mush. My hands which don’t work the best near refuse to do anything I have to be told what to do every moment for hours sometimes all day I forget what I’m talking about mid-sentence. Completing any task no matter how trivial is impossible. Remembering to eat shower go to the toilet any task is impossible. I have to be led around like I’m a little kid. As I am a man this makes me feel utterly useless and depression kicks in which leads to full-blown psychosis. My nightmares and reality are blurry to one. I’ve been prescribed anti-psychotics anti-depression and anti-anxiety medication and MS Contin morphine.
My lungs are ruined so I take meds for emphysema. I haven’t worked since I got out if the ARMY in 2004. I was once an extremely confident outgoing fit hard working man. Those days are long gone as I barely leave home. Going to doctors’ appointments I have to be taken and supervised by my wife Alison. An amazing lady who somehow loves and cares for me even though I can be extremely high maintenance with mood swings so severe they happen instantly for no reason. I can be the most loving to the most evil C@&t faster than Superman. Most days I have no idea who I am and I’m always whispering to myself to help me remember what it is I’m supposed to be doing. My memory is near nonexistent. My speaking hearing and eyesight are also badly affected plus so many other things too numerous to mention.
The untried drug they tested us with has killed so many of my mates through suicide the ones who are still with us are all distant shells of the once fit proud young men and women. This drug stole our lives and ruined them. I’m 47 and I haven’t worked in nearly 16 years. My symptoms are progressing so so fast that life at times is almost unbearable. They gave us this drug so they could earn hundreds of millions of dollars. The Australian defence force has offered no help no aid no compassion nothing. When I was discharged I was given a paycheck of $125 and a list of homeless shelters not even a thank you. I’m a veteran I deserved so much more. The government has to be held accountable for its actions. They are responsible for the lives that were destroyed and or taken. They robbed us of life. Without the help of my amazing wonderful loving wife I would no longer be here writing this. Alison my Funkin I love you so much I appreciate everything you have done for me. I pray that someday soon I will finally meet a specialist who will finally get me on the right treatment and pain management. Every day is a struggle for survival to try and see another tomorrow.