Sometimes, the more you work on yourself, the more you realize that there are others who are going through what you are as well. That’s when you step into action and help. Adam Nugent’s guest, Leslie Zimmerman, did just that. She is a combat veteran who suffers from PTSD but has been able to help others cope with it along with other disabilities. In today’s episode, learn more about her incredible story and her work with military families and veterans who have sacrificed so much.
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Leslie Zimmerman is in one word an advocate. Specifically, she spends her time advocating for veterans and their families in a variety of ways. She is passionate about giving those who have served our country the resources and help they deserve. A few of the organizations she is involved in that do just that include Doc & Gunny’s and the George W. Bush Institute. She has also written a series of books for children of deploying parents.
In today’s episode she told us the story of receiving her PTSD diagnosis, making the tough decision to retire from the military, and all of the incredible things she has accomplished since then to better her life and the lives of many others. In this podcast excerpt, Leslie shares her experience with PTSD and how she came to the difficult decision to leave the military.
You came back [from Iraq] and continued to do different things, but then PTSD started to come in.
Right. While I was in Iraq, I experienced a lot of things that changed who I am and how I see the world. I started going to EMT intermediate school. And during that time, you have to do ride-alongs with the ambulance. So, down in El Paso I was doing these ride-alongs. And after coming upon a traumatic injury, I would function fine. But then after I’d get home, I would just break down from the anxiety and the stress. I started getting depressed. I started to pull away from my husband at the time. And as a medic, I didn’t even know that I was experiencing post-traumatic stress.
All I knew was that I didn’t feel okay. And that every time that I was faced with a medical situation where I was in between someone’s life or death, I couldn’t function well. I could in the moment, but then it would add up later on and I would just break down. I got to the point where I tried to take my life because I didn’t know who to go to or even really what was going on. I just knew that I was so unhappy. I ended up in the army medical hospital, and here I was the soldier of the year.
My battalion commander came in to visit me, and that’s, that’s when I made the decision that I needed to get out of the military to take care of my mental health.
Visit lesliezimmerman.org to learn more.
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