Welcome! I’m Laura Lee and I’m happy to have you on this journey with me, including all the bumps in the road that we'll encounter.
When I was in high school I aspired to be a medical examiner and was even president of the medical careers club, but found myself signing enlistment papers when I accompanied a friend into the Navy recruiter's office to drop off some paper work. The recruiter got me…hook, line, and sinker. I think my parents were relieved that they didn't have to pay for my college education. I was a Navy cryptologist and I loved my job. Now, 34 years later, I’m a disabled Navy veteran.
I was stationed in Guam, Norfolk, VA; Rota, Spain;, and Pensacola, FL. My tour in Spain has rendered my blood useless to the Red Cross because I might be a carrier of Mad Cow disease! Seriously! No one wants my blood!
I was first diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) in 1998 while serving in Pensacola, and later with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in 2001, due to Military Sexual Trauma (MST) and childhood sexual trauma, and also with agoraphobia. I was recently diagnosed with vocal chord dysfunction and conversion syndrome.
I'm proud to admit I'm a failure. Several times over. I thank God for my failures because they mean I'm still here…living, breathing.
I recently retired from the VA after becoming a whistleblower – trying to protect 20,000 fellow veterans that I served. It landed me on the front page of the New York Times on New Year’s Day 2018 along with other concerned employees! That wasn’t my end goal when I spoke up, but seriously, how many people get their pictures on the front page of the NYT for doing the right thing?
Being a whistleblower wasn’t easy…the bullying that followed triggered my PTSD and my depression and sent me into a tailspin.
My coworkers, along with my husband, children, parents, friends, and my therapists, doctor, nurse practitioner, and by the grace of God, are why I’m still here today. Some of my coworkers literally clapped in support as I was escorted from the building when I was wrongfully terminated for my whistleblower activity, and one nurse told me, “You’re walking the footsteps of a hero.”
I broke down and bawled. They collected a vase full of pennies for me to show their support. I still have that vase of pennies. My retirement was part of my settlement agreement.
I hope my story and my continuing journey resonate with those who think they’re struggling alone and are searching for a flicker of light in the darkness. Often I felt alone even though I was surrounded by my children and my husband of 32 years, who by the way, had to ask me to marry him twice, because the first time I said, “NO!” I'm happy he stuck around.
I'm well educated – a college graduate, but my degree is not in psychology, social work, or medicine. I’m not a therapist. I'm not a medical professional.
I don't pretend to know everything about PTSD, depression, or anxiety disorders.
I’m just like many of you, however…
I choose to embrace my PTSD and depression because if I don’t own them, they’ll own me!
I'll be undergoing gastric sleeve surgery in September to help lose the weight that I gained as a result of the military sexual trauma – it's a defense mechanism. I know rape and sexual assault aren't about the way I look, but rather about control, but the irrational part of my brain is convinced that my weight is protecting me. I'm ready to take back that control!
When I’m not blogging, I’m spending time with my husband, Scott, my children – Shane, Carianne and her husband Corbin, and Cassy; playing with the most adorable grandsons, Oliver and Ryder; binge-watching Investigation Discovery, curling up with my kittens and my labradoodle, reading nail-biting mystery and suspense novels, crocheting, and creating my own bath bomb recipes.
If you’re absolutely dying to know more about me, just ask. Be sure to subscribe and follow along.
My writing, is authentic and raw, and you should consider this your *trigger warning* so please be cautious as you proceed with the blog entries.
I hope you prowl around and have an amazingly blessed day!
Thank you for being here.