Veteran: 'I would have killed myself if not for my dog'

ROYCE Hardman was ready to kill himself.

He was moments away from ending it all when his dog Trigger walked into the room.

"He gave me one look in the eye that changed it all," Royce explained.

"It was an epiphany moment, he walked in and made me question it. And realise that ending it wouldn't help anyone."

Royce has post-traumatic stress disorder and is only here because of his best mate.

When he and Trigger rocked up in the Beef City earlier today THURS marked their pair's 111th day on the road. All the time raising awareness for the disorder.

"It is literally a man and his dog on an awareness campaign," he said.

"I basically tell my story with no boundaries, to show others it is nothing to be ashamed of and encourage others to seek help. Talking about it is the best thing, you can't ignore it.

"Not just for military, for everyone. PTSD does not discriminate, police, firemen, paramedics, victims of crime, car accidents."

Before the trek, they had walked 1000kms and have been driving together since September.

They left Perth towards Adelaide, then drove in-land to Cairns and are slowly making their way down to Tasmania. Essentially doing a figure-eight of the country, stopping at the main cities and everywhere in between.

Royce was deployed to Afghanistan as a fresh faced 20 year old. He found army life incredible life and was diagnosed and discharged.

"I really struggled. I lost my job and went on a downward spiral of self-destruction. Became an alcoholic and just didn't have any real purpose.

"Lost relationships, lost friends and ended up very isolated. I would just sit inside and drink by myself.

"That's when I decided I would end it and that's when Trigger walked in.

"I realised then it wouldn't help anyone and that I was in a situation where I could help other people.

"I have lost mates to suicide, we average one veteran per week, that's just military. And that's how and why I came up with Trigger's Big Trek."

To check out more of Royce and Trigger, go to their Facebook page at Trigger's Big Trek, for PTSD.



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