AFTER hitting rock bottom, the only way left to go is up.
Former Troops Sergeant Troy Lines is on the road to recovery after he was medically discharged from the Army last year.
He was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - a psychological condition which can be hard to shake.
"I guess it's a taboo thing with the (defence) forces," he told the Herald.
"It's seen as a weakness if you show any sort of mental or physical ailment. It is something I didn't think I would be affected by."
Troy recently moved to Naracoorte after being based at Townsville, Queensland for many years to restart his life and be closer to family.
In his 20-year career he served overseas six times - Somalia in 1993, East Timor in 1999 to 2000, 2001 and 2006 as well as Afghanistan in 2007 and then again two years later in 2009.
"I've seen a lot of the evil side of humanity," he said.
Troy went through some very low and dark periods, including a divorce, but after his diagnosis he felt better equipped to deal with the challenges life was throwing at him.
When he came to the SE as a single man he decided it was time to get back out into the world and do something to help himself and others.
"Everyone is different...the most part of my personal recovery is exercise," he said.
"I've thrown myself into that and then I thought why not do something that's worthwhile too."
He registered for this year's Melbourne Ironman triathlon and while in training he's been raising funds for Soldier On - an organisation which has been a valuable resource for him personally.
"I want to encourage and support others with similar conditions. Even if I can help one person then it will have been worthwhile.
"I know a lot of friends suffer the symptoms but haven't accepted it yet...a few who have gone on the wayside or committed suicide because they wouldn't admit to themselves that they had a bit of a problem.
"It is not 'girly' to admit you have a problem. The first step is finding help...the more you can learn to try and live with the condition the better off you will be.
"The hardest part is facing your own demons and after that knowledge is power."
Soldier On works to enhance recovery, inspire communities and empower Australia's wounded - giving those who have served the country the dignity they deserve and the chance to do and be whatever they choose.
It encourages veterans to get out there and amongst it.
The ironman is in March next year and includes a 38km swim, 180km bike ride and a 42.2km run.
Troy has been in contact with a Melbourne-based personal trainer who has written out a 16-week program for him to follow, has bought a bike from local business Greg Shepherd Cycles and has started doing swims, rides and runs.
Despite his PTSD, he is looking to the future; however, his past will always be a part of him.
"I don't regret anything I have done." he said. "I am proud to have served my country and it is nice to be able to give something back to promote the nicer side of humanity.
"Everyone has their breaking points. It's like a candle with the wick being your stress levels. It slowly burns and and before you know it you're in a dark place and need to get help.
"I was just lucky to be in a position to have some really good help."
If anyone would like to follow Troy's Ironman journey, donate to the cause or sponsor him, go here.
Alternatively, go here to make a donation.