FORMER navy medic Emilea Mysko credits the upcoming Invictus Games with saving her life.
The Adelaide veteran’s mental health hit rock bottom as a result of multiple physical injuries she sustained while in the Royal Australian Navy — which included a stint in South East Asia on a peacekeeping mission — and led to three hospital admissions last year.
“My job really was very hands-on and active so injuries really impacted my social, personal and work life and then my mental health,” Ms Mysko said.
During her third admission, the 30-year-old single mother’s psychologist introduced her to a pathway program to the Invictus Games via The Road Home, a veterans health and wellbeing research organisation.
“Becoming part of the program, I tell everyone, literally saved my life,” she said.
“(My mum) was scared she would wake up one day to terrible news that I had committed suicide and now she hasn’t got that fear. It’s been great for her, and me.”
Ms Mysko, of Salisbury North, took up cycling in January and indoor rowing in April, before travelling to the US to compete in the Warrior Games in June. She won three medals in the two sports including gold in an indoor rowing endurance event.
“It gave me the confidence to look into what cycling can do for me,” she said. “It gave me a lot of confidence in my ability.”
Now, she is looking forward to competing in cycling and indoor rowing at the Invictus Games, held in Sydney in October, and again donning an Australian uniform.
“I’m looking forward to representing my country again. It’s something that I never thought would be possible since being discharged,” she said.
“When I used to wear my uniform and went to work, I represented my country with pride every single day.”
IF YOU NEED HELP
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636.
Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service: 1800 011 046