Annette Laurie left the Royal Navy and Royal Naval Reserves as a Chief Petty Officer in September 2010 after 26 years combined in both services.
She approached Help for Heroes for support in 2016, requiring assistance with her physical disabilities, not realising initially that she was suffering mental health issues as well.
In 2008 and 2009 Annette was serving in the Middle East and became the personal target for two suicide bombers, because she was “a white, military woman”. This incident, coupled with bullying within the service led to Annette diagnosed with PTSD in November 2019.
Now, Annette is coping with her issues, thanks to support from Help for Heroes.
She said: “I have learned to breathe and find my space – which is mainly beside water. This can be half an hour sat beside a stream , or on a beach or going out kayaking or something.”
This World Mental Health Day, Annette has a message to anyone who might be having a difficult time: “Please, I urge any one of you suffering, who needs down alone time, sit and contemplate and when you have taken that breath or few breaths, watched the water for a while, pick up your phone and say hi to someone, just start a conversation. It may not be easy but you will find someone, somewhere, willing to listen.”
“I am sending a massive, virtual hug to everyone and anyone who needs it – I know there are days, nights and times when I need them so all huge returned are gratefully accepted – thank you.”