Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Original Glamour essay link

I'm pleased to present a link to my original Glamour essay, now available here on Glamour.com.

I sincerely hope no one out there who's suffering is deterred from seeking help as a result of the Daily Mail "article" and the backlash it generated. No one should be chastised for suffering, regardless of the degree or cause, and no one who suffers should be discouraged from seeking help.

Thank you for reading,
Lauren

19 comments:

  1. So, this is the essay that is meant to redeem your image from the terrible Daily mail article? Wow, I didn't see it coming but it is actually a worse portrayal of your story than the newspaper article. I would have thanked them if I was you for helping my image. Btw, they did not twist your words or change the substance of your essay at all in writing their story. So I am not sure what was with all the comments about needing to read your words and blaming the Daily Mail for people's reaction to your message.

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  2. Hi Lauren,

    I read your article in Glamour yesterday, and was incredibly impressed by both your toughness and ability to admit when you needed help, when I got to your little bio at the end. I actually gasped out loud (I know, I'm a nerd) - Emerson is my alma mater! I hope you're continuing to heal and grow. Thank you so much for your service for this country.

    Cheers,
    CJ Gardner
    Emerson College Class of 2004

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  3. I don't get it. I haven't read any of the negative comments. I will say that Chronic Adjustment Disorder is NOT PTSD lite. You are obviously a talented writer, however, it seemed like an attention craved article to me. Bad chow and bad language sounds like a pretty easy deployment to me. I speak from experiencing 15 months on the actual front lines as a medic in an Infantry Platoon. Those of us who experienced the actual front line would be offended by your complaints. I hope you get adjusted and write about the experiences of others dealing with the effects of war. I think you do have something to contribute, but I don't think it needs to be someone else's story and not your own.

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  4. As a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, I can understand how those who have been through actual combat and struggled with the effects might be upset by this and the other article. However, as someone who has studied psychology I think it is important for people to realize that however traumatizing their experiences are that does not mean that others' experiences aren't difficult to deal with. What this woman is talking about is not necessarily the effects of a difficult deployment by any means. Difficult in their own rights, but obviously not the same as combat experience. These are the common effects of struggling with the drastic changes involved with transitioning from a deployment to civilian life. What she wrote about is something that many veterans experience. It isn't the same as the PTSD that a combat veteran may experience, and I don't think she intended to suggest that it is, but it is something that veterans struggle with and I applaud her for speaking candidly about her experience. I suspect that this is far more common than people think and I think it is one of the reasons why so many re-enlist, because adjusting to civilian life as easy as you would think it would be, is unusually difficult for many.

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    1. What the hell did she 'experience'? She basically took a field trip to Afghanistan. A. She's in the Air Force, not exactly front line. B. She's a PA officer....not an infantryman and C. She's an Officer. She dealt with boredom and better food than most Army grunts had. Boo-friggin-hoo. She's an attention-seeking crybaby who hopefully has had all the fame she'll ever get. She's pathetic, and it's people like her who are preventing the real PTSD sufferers from getting the treatment they need.

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  5. I feel sad for anyone in the Air Force that this will now be your representation to our sister service members of what the Air Force is like.

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  6. As a female vet IN Afghanistan right now, I'm going to go ahead and agree with WarrioroftheCross and another of the anonymous posts here. Everyone's experience is different. I'm a pilot, so my experience "outside the wire" is always from the air, and I'm always blown away by those in actual combat who live in these sh*tholes I mostly see from a fairly safe altitude.

    Everyone deals with the shift of worlds-- going from all that's colorful and normal to a stark sand-colored reality where men curse (yes), and the food sucks. Sure, its a system shock, but I guess the difference is that the "hell" doesn't always stop there--indeed for most of us it just gets worse. You just have to drive on and pick your battles--literally and figuratively. If the things you wrote about are the most difficult for you to come to terms with-- I'm happy that you didn't have to go through the hell that so many of our brothers and sisters-in-arms have. I don't think anyone really begrudges you for not having a worse experience, its just that they feel its self-aggrandizement for the sake of self-aggrandizement. Speaking from my own experience, I've noticed people really want to hear my "story" even if its not nearly as harrowing (or often, not at all harrowing), as my male counterparts with boots in the sand. Women in "combat" are still a bit of an anomaly-- a big one to people without significant military ties-- so our accounts are interesting to them. That being said, we have to keep in mind who reads our material, and maintain our humility. Your article elicits anger from some who have honestly been to hell and back, because they see you getting recognition for dealing with bad food-- while they struggle to come to terms with the loss of comrades/life/limb etc in horrible situations that you and I honestly can't fathom unless we've been there.

    The anonymous commenter a few above me mentioned you could do alot of good by relaying the stories of men who have really served in combat. I've been through about six "rocket attacks" this month, so we're not going to count those friend... but actual combat. I'm in full agreement. Your willingness to go get help and address the issues you were having are indeed commendable, and hopefully actually encourage others to do the same, especially for more debilitating conditions. Everyone's experiences is their own. I applaud your sharing your story, despite the negativity you've received because of it. I blog about my own experiences, and receive very good feedback, mostly I think because I've taken the time to read/talk to our 11B counterparts, talk to vets of other MOS's who are actually IN the "shit", and it will put your own experience into perspective. Ultimately, if you write from the perspective that we are here for one another, and especially those of us in support roles-- we are here to ensure our guys (and yes, a few gals) in the actual battle get the best support they possibly can. In your new role as a civilian, you can certainly help to pass along those stories to joe-public who has no idea what our comrades go through.

    Live and learn Lauren. You can do great things. :) Feel free to drop a line if you ever need to, you're still part of the sisterhood, and we don't let our own fall.

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  7. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Perhaps you should try another tour as it seems you did not contribute. Some time off the FOB might wash some of the self-entitlement stink off you.

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  8. Trying to learn how to jump rope is more dangerous than what you did. btw, how many IOTVs did you have to wear to make it weigh 60lbs?

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  9. I applaud Warrior of the Cross and WhirlyGurl for seeing the intent of this article. Mental health is a tricky issue, and nobody has the right to judge others, especially by making false assumptions and spewing foul language and cruel remarks.(CampLeatherneck? She was at a small FOB in Gardez. And yes, she did go outside the wire to work with the locals. Yes, there were attacks, suicide bombers and IED's -- although none of this should really matter when it comes to mental health) Anyone who experiences a drastic change in circumstances can have a difficult time transitioning. A 2000 word essay can only briefly allude to the past life experiences, expectations and disillusionment, and the grief over friends dying. A single service member returning to base where all your friends have PCS'ed, your cats and family are on the other side of the country, and your belongings are all in storage while you await your temporary housing add further stress. The point of the article was awareness of these transition difficulties and not being deterred by the stigmas of mental health in seeking help. Women particularly may serve in a very different capacity and have very different challenges. I know several people who have committed suicide (2 men, 1 woman)because they DIDN'T GET HELP. And none of them served in combat. With suicide deaths outnumbering combat deaths in our military, this is a very important issue! Lauren was not disputing that those on the front lines have the worst experiences, and there truly should not be a competition for who experiences the worst stuff. Anyone who is struggling should feel comfortable in seeking help in order to cope and get better. Some people respond with anger and bitterness toward others; some people seek information, talk, write, and reach out. I personally will strive to be more like Lauren. Thank you for helping increase awareness in the civilian population and anyone who might feel reluctant to seek help because they don't feel they saw enough "bad stuff" to justify their difficulties.

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    1. Lauren, I came to your website after seeing some appalling responses to the Daily Mail article. I felt it necessary to say something positive after reading through so many disgusting, uneducated, negative comments. I was going to write something similar to what armynurse just wrote, but armynurse's response is better than mine would've been and I'm really glad that at least 1 person gets it and I wanted you to know that I get it too. My husband is also an AF Public Affairs officer and he deployed to Afghanistan on a PRT, so I have a pretty good idea of what you might've went through. I also know how hard it is to get help, even when you need it and it takes a lot of guts to do it, especially as an active duty member with the stigma of mental health issues. I hate that people are missing the point and are hateful toward someone who served their country honorably. I think it's really similar to victim shaming in sexual assault cases where people blame the woman for dressing provocatively or being out too late at night. I think people got hung up on some of the minor details of the article and then thought it necessary to shame another person anonymously to make themselves feel better. It makes me sad that other veterans have reacted so negatively toward one of their own. Your story (and the negative responses) will be something I remember and get up on my soapbox for, for a long time to come. It really blows my mind that so many people would react in such a negative way. As another female AF officer, I wanted to let you know that I got where you were coming from, I appreciate your sacrifice, I'm really glad that you sought help (I know how hard that part is) and I hope you continue to heal and do great things in your new life!

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  10. Lauren, I did 4 tours, of over a year each, in Iraq and Afghanistan. A total of almost 5 years in theater. None of which I volunteered for. I didn't spend my days lamenting the DFAC food, or that the PX ran out of my vanilla-scented body wash I so love, and I didn't complain because I was bored. People like you are what is wrong with the treatment system in place. You are actively preventing people with real problems from getting the help they need. You are a disgrace, and do a disservice to anyone who has ever worn the uniform. Your mother should be ashamed for swearing you in. You sound like the whiny kid who got homesick at their first summer camp. You're allegedly a grown woman, get over yourself.

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  11. The Armed Services need to seriously look at resiliency as a measure of someone's potential entering the military. You joined knowing the threat and risks associated with your profession. You joined knowing the potential, although quite low in the Air Force, that you would deploy to a combat zone and actually enter a combat environment. Anyone who is struggling to respond to the pressure of warfare has a legitimate excuse, however, you joined knowing the threat. Just because you went over there and heard about stories of others doesn't mean you lived through them; if that were the case, I could say I have your "minor" ptsd when I watch the History Channel talk about World War 2 and Vietnam. Your degree of suffering should be judged, you put it out there for the world to read: therefore, you wanted people to form an opinion on you. Had you not written this article you could have lived your life as a "veteran", though I use the term lightly because those that served during peace time saw a greater threat on live-fire ranges, in quiet with humility. Women serving in the military have a bad image to overcome already and you have only made it worse. Those that praised your article are speaking from the civilian side of the house where "anyone" that serves is a hero. Everyone in the military knows what branches actually accomplish something and which recieve a pay-check and the PA is one of those branches which should stick to writing about FOB Sports and taking photos. Women are trying too hard to break the barriers of physicality and join elite infantry units for someone like you to ruin all of that with this pathetic attempt to gain attention for something quite boring and unhelpful to the actual war effort. You're experiences outside the wire in your "target" vehicle is a daily event for real soldiers and your field trip with actual soldiers there to accompany you should have been your primary focus. I hope in your next life you come to appreciate real soldiers and hold yourself a little lower on your wall of awesome. In conclusion, you are a fine writer and if you care that much about veterans, and not the navy reserve, 3 days a year trainee, who shot up a naval yard, you should put some time into writing about real heros like the Rangers who recently experienced a greater loss than you've read about and can't relate to because you weren't in "country" to feel the pain and write about the one female who accompanied them on their mission, breaking barriers you don't have the slightest respect for.

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  12. Hi, Lauren - I came across your essay at the gym and just wanted to write and say it deeply touched me. I have no connection to the military but I am a writer and I teach a personal essay class. Your piece is so well done I shared it on Twitter and FB as a great example of a powerful personal essay. I'm sorry you've borne the brunt of some backlash, but the harshest critics are usually the most outspoken, so I wanted to jump in and add something positive. You have a gift with words that you should continue to share with the world.

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  13. I believe you never should have even deployed. First off based off of what you were complaining about is one of the main reasons why you should not have even joined the military. War is an ugly thing and the first thing you are reminded of when you take that oath is the price you might have to pay. You clearly have no resilience whatsoever. I do believe standards should be raised to weed out those who display a lack of resiliency for they are a danger to the morale and welfare of other Soldiers. Especially as an officer how could you ever expect to be a leader of Soldiers with that attitude? No wonder you were the PAO and not a team leader in charge of Soldiers... As a female I was made a team leader and lead troops on the ground. On my last patrol in Afghanistan I stepped on an IED that luckily was only command wired. Unfortunately some of my fellow peers weren't so lucky.. I lived in a 30 man COP where no showers existed for at least two months! Did I complain no, I continued mission and did my job and went out on foot patrols not even convoys. While I understand PTSD does happen and I don't blame those who seek it, but I will call out bs on those who abuse of it. Her's is a cry for attention from a whiney FOBBIT. Women like you are the reason why combat jobs aren't open to women. You makes us the laughing stock. Shame on you LT! And just as Anonymous said if you really wanted to help, then shut your mouth unless you're willing to talk and honor better men and women than you.

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  14. She is a joke and a liar to and discredits any military SM. You are fooling the civilians. You are exploiting your cush job and disgracing those of us who have really served. I am sorry Abby that you have been lead astray.

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    1. Let me start my comments by saying I am a Female Senior Non-Commissioned Officer deployed to Somalia and Afghanistan 3 times 12 month tours. My mouth feel open to read a Article of another female soldier complaining first of a freaking 9 month tour (peice of cake) and dry meat and soggy vegetables really!!! I can not believe that a journalist would publish that nonsense from the words of a Officer lets talk about going out on convoys and watching your soldiers get hit by IEDs and burn alive in vehicles please give me a break if you were my LT I would tell you to snapped out of it and put your big girl panties on!! (that's the nice way of saying what I would really say) I got it everyone handles stress differently but when you lose a arm, a leg, a eye your memory from tramatic brain injury then you deserve to do a article. She wrote the article so she had to realize that she was going to get the good, and the bad from people who read it but please get help for whatever PTSD issues you got going on but save the headlines for people who deserve and that would not be you Airforce LT Lauren Kay Halloran.

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  15. i hopped around to this page the glamour article and Daily mail and i have to say i find it funny that some of the comments the authors know so much about what happened and what she went through almost...almost...like they...her?
    i realize what the article was SUPPOSED to be about but it sound just like she was whining about army food, internet, and her own paranoia and vanity that someone would attack her. my husband has REAL PTSD and the night terrors alone are bad enough, but i have to fight to get him treatment. hell it took forever to get him a GOOD doctor that didn't make want to kill himself. he was an MP in Iraq and Afghanistan and Cuba and he agrees the article was terribly written from a military point of view all combat vets are gonna see is a whiny little girl complaining about food, food like my husband had to go without sometimes like a lot of other soldiers. or mail that they MIGHT have gotten once a week when it finally started.
    what is really sad she had a chance to reach out to her fellow veterans and help give them a real voice especially against such a silent disorder and she failed miserably. she made the article sound like a pity party for a five year old that didn't get the blonde barbie she wanted instead she got the brunette. what makes it worse in a lot of people's eyes is she volunteered for it wasn't ordered. i am disappointed that some people actually are encouraging her. she didn't think anyone would take her b*tching about soggy veggies the wrong way? was it supposed to be light-hearted? funny?

    and i agree this article paints female soldiers in a terrible light making them sound prissy and vain.

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  16. As a fellow AF Officer I applaud your ATTEMPT to de-stigmatize mental health in the military. I believe and appreciate that everyone’s “war” experience is different. I think the thing that really stands out in my mind, having worked with both physically and mentally wounded soldiers, never once did I hear any of them complain about soggy food. I think the backlash that you are getting in response to your article was the trivial things that you complained about. The difficulties associated with transitioning in and out of deployment is difficult for everyone and while some may find this difficult to believe, its NORMAL. Every person who has ever been deployed goes through a transitional phase when going and upon returning. Most suffer in silence. I applaud you for being able to ask for help, that’s what your supposed to do. Next time you write an article on your experience in combat, you might want to consider that the trauma that you ensued due to soggy food and lack of internet, might pale in comparison to the trauma your brothers and sisters experienced due to debilitating conditions such as loss of limb, TBI or a host of other traumatic physical or mental injuries. I applaud you for reaching out and asking for help and I applaud your effort to de-stigmitize mental health in the military....that was the point of your article right?

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