James Prascevic provides a brutally honest, first‐hand account of the front lines of combat — witnessing the disturbing
consequences of war for civilians, the thrill of being caught in a firefight, the shock of losing a mate — a n d of the training
that got him into those situations. This is his story of life as an infantryman and the unglamorous aftermath of war that has
created a different challenge in combating mental illness.
James was a plumber in Victoria, when he decided to enlist as an infantryman in the Australian Defence Force. With 1 RAR
he served in Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan, where he was confronted with the horrifying effects of Improvised Explosive
Devices. Upon his return from Afghanistan, he completed the Commando Selection and Training Course and most of the
Reinforcement Cycle for the Special Forces, but broke his leg in a parachuting incident.
That was when the black dog bit, causing him to be medically discharged from the ADF after almost ten years of service. He
was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Major Depression, Anxiety and Alcohol Dependence. At first he
was silent about it, until he lost his wife, his career and nearly his life. As a result of this, he did fundraising for the Black Dog
Institute, set up the website Different Challenge, and crossed Bass Strait in a ‘tinnie’ to raise awareness of mental illness
and its often devastating effects.
James reminds us about the sacrifices Australian soldiers make for their country, and that there is no shame in admitting
you have a mental illness.