The Cultivate an Exceptional life Podcast is where Leisa Watkins uncovers stories, strategies, and resources designed to inspire and encourage you to cultivate better health, more happiness, and joy, despite the challenges life throws in our path.


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Trigger warning.

This is my second of my PTSD stories – the trauma related events that led to me living with complex post traumatic disorder.

My childhood home’s basement had just one exit. A long set of stairs on the south side of the house. At the top of the stairs, a door on the right led to the garage, with the left leading to the kitchen.

My friend and I were watching my siblings while my parent went out. I was just old enough to start babysitting my siblings but hated doing it by myself because I was scared.

We, my siblings, my friend, and I were all in the basement, watching the Miss America pageant. Just as the music began to play, “There she is. Miss America” it began.

My friend and I looked at each other in horror when we heard someone open the garage door and quietly close it behind them. At that precise moment, someone was standing at the top of the stairway that was just a few feet away from where I sat. Not wanting to scare my siblings we were motioning to each other. It didn’t work because both of my brothers whispered, “Leisa. Someone is in the house.”‘

I felt so trapped. There was no way out, without going right where the person was standing right then.

I didn’t do what they always do in the movies, which is to yell out, “Whose there?” I never understand that. Why would I want someone to know where I was. It’s like saying, “Here I am. Come get me.” Instead, I told everyone to be very quiet so I could listen to what was going on
We heard footsteps as someone walked through the kitchen, into the living room, and down the hall. We could hear them opening up and rummaging through drawers in my parents’ bedroom.

Oh yeah. Just in case you don’t know how old I am…

This was before the invention of the cell phone and even before the invention of the 911 system. Well, I guess it had been invented. But it certainly had not made it to my area. It didn’t come to the Salt Lake City area until 2011.

My friend and I tried to figure out who we could call for help. Her father was out for the night. I knew my neighbor’s phone number, simply because their phone number was really easy to remember. So we decided to try calling them.

There was a phone in my father’s office at one end of the basement. We snuck into the office, closing the door behind us.

I picked up the phone to call my neighbor. All color immodestly left my face and my friend whispered, “Leisa? What’s wrong?”

I could hear someone breathing on the other end of the line. Whoever was upstairs was now certain that we were in the basement and he knew that we knew he was there. And I could not make a phone call because I was not getting a dial tone.

To my surprise, he hung up and we didn’t hear another sound. Nothing! Not one more footstep! We thought he was still in the house.

Now that I could call, I called my neighbors and told them someone had broken into our house. They said, “We’ll be right there.”

A couple of minutes later the doorbell rang. The problem was, we would have to go upstairs to let them in. And we had no idea where the burglar was.

We grabbed an antique bottle from a shelf and a large 3 hole punch as weapons and all 6 of us made our way up the stairs. We opened the door and let my neighbor and her daughter in. They helped us call the police. Once the police arrived they searched the house and found no one inside. The person I had encountered on the telephone had snuck out of the house.

Speaking of windows…

  • I once walked into my bedroom and filled on the light. Just as the light went on I saw a man, standing there, looking at me.
  • And on another occasion I caught a man standing in the fields behind our house spying on us.
  • And then there was the time I was stalked by a rapist who tried breaking into my bedroom, through the window.


Leisa Watkins is the founder of Cultivate An Exceptional Life. She believes life is meant to be enjoyed and experienced in abundance. She is on a mission to help people break through barriers, build resilience, and avoid roadblocks in life while creating a life they love - despite chronic illness, trauma, and other life challenges. She also shares tips on getting more out of life, despite its challenges, on our Instagram channel. Please follow us.

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