Coming home was tougher than Jamie expected

Uploaded by VeteransMTC on 24.08.2012


My name is Jamie.
I served as a Marine Corp officer from May of 2000 until
July of 2011.
The first time I sought treatment in the Marine Corp
was actually right when I moved from Okinawa to
I hated Southern California at first.
None of my friends that I spent 13 months in Okinawa
with were with me.
It was new things.
And I first sought out a counselor because I needed
someone to talk to about this.
I felt like I didn't fit in with my peers.
And it was just-- the first couple months were a rough
adjustment moving back to the United States.
Fortunately, I have a strong support system,
talking to my mother.
Part of it for me is genetic in talking to my mom about
what she's had to go through.
And it really stuck in that it is essentially--
all these things are my brain, and I have to
take care of my brain.
If I had a broken ankle, people would understand that.
And I finally said, you know, I have to take care of myself.
The first time really with depressive symptoms, I was
deployed on a ship.
And my roommate basically said you need to see someone.
I was sleeping a lot.
I wasn't really doing anything for these symptoms.
And finally, I saw someone, and I was referred to someone
while we were ashore in Kuwait.
And I look at my record, and I'm like, oh, MDD Minor
Depressive Disorder.
And the doctor or the therapist was like, no, it
stands for major, and she explained what was going on.
And I worked with her while I was there and then worked with
medical providers on my ship.
I had transition problems moving to DC.
I had literally come back from a seven-month deployment.
The move to DC was on a staff job.
And as a Marine working in an Air Force command, it was a
little different.
It was interesting being in a military environment since I
was 17 years.
I had to work with civilians for the first time and that
was challenging.
And just little things would set me off that people in my
office would do.
I would get so frustrated, and I wouldn't know how
to figure it out.
And I think part of it was self-induced stress.
And I knew I was transitioning.

I knew I was getting out.
What do I want to do with my life?
And oh, my gosh, what's that going to be like?
The big unknown.
And then, part of it was just I was still in and not feeling
like I was being used to my potential.
I have friends that don't use the VA.
But I went, I think, about 6 weeks after getting out.
I had nothing to do.
I'm like, I'm going to go get my VA ID card.
And it was great.
The woman taking my picture walked me down
to the woman's clinic.
And the woman at the receptionist, she set me up
with an appointment to see a provider.
And I got referred to see a couple mental health
professionals, and we talked.
And I actually felt--
three months after getting out, I felt more like myself
than I had in years before.
I think, especially as officers, Marine Corp
officers, in particular, you're really hard on
yourself, and that may prevent someone from getting
the help they need.
And if people see myself, if there's one person that sees
this and decides to get help, then it's worth it.