One of the biggest challenges returning from a war zone is settling back into the routines of a civilian life.
“I’ve found that the hardest thing of all,” Kieron Sewell, who served for 14 years and six months in the Australian infantry, confessed on a recent episode of the ABC’s You Can’t Ask That.
“I walk and I’m constantly assessing things, looking for bombs and stuff under bins.”
Sewell was one of seven recently returned veterans who appeared on the episode which aired three weeks ago but is still available on iView.
The program asks the awkward questions most are too embarrassed to — and gives those with the answers a platform to speak when they usually don’t have one — in this case: how hard is it to come back?
"I don't know what to wear," Sewell said. "I've spent my whole life wearing green and army boots and now I'm wearing shorts to dinner parties or a collared shirt to a work event."
Andrew Fox-Lane who also served for four years in the infantry agreed, he was struck by the paralysis of choice.
"I had trouble with choices. After operating out this tiny, tiny patrol base for months with no choices whatsoever, 'This is what you're doing', 'This is what you're eating' and I'd walk into Woolworths' aisle five and I'd just stand there for five minutes trying to figure it out," he said.
"My partner would laugh at me and say, 'It's not that hard to pick something off the shelf', but it became hard because you're so changed from the experience and what you've become used to."