| Clarence Wesloski

Tim’s Story

Tim is a retired police officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and this is his story…

The Mountie & My Mind

It was October 23rd, 2006, at the age of 26 years old, I just graduated from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Cadet training program as a member of a First Nations Police Service. My first posting was with the North Peace Tribal Police Service where I did six months side by side with the RCMP. Our uniforms were black with a red stripe down the sides of our pants, they were like the Edmonton Police Service. That year I was stationed in an isolated and remote post in Northern Alberta. One of the communities that I policed was only accessible by plane, barge, or winter road. In August 2009, did a lateral transfer into the RCMP.

That is when the RCMP absorbed my three years of service with the Tribal Police, and I took no additional training. Just a new uniform and badge. Prior to being a police officer, I was a correctional officer for three years and did various security jobs before that. It was from 2003 to 2006, that I put myself through post secondary at MacEwan University in Edmonton Alberta. That is where I received a certificate in Aboriginal Police Studies and a diploma in Police studies. After completion of my studies, I was hired by two different police agencies that included being all cleared plus passing the mental health exams and assessments. It was very rewarding work that I loved, and I was considered a top performer by superiors including my peers.

My family roots and background that I identify with are French Canadian/Metis. I have been diagnosed with severe post traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, and general anxiety disorder because of my service with the RCMP. In April of 2019, I had to leave the RCMP and career that I loved due to my disabilities that happened while serving my country. I’m sharing my personal story and experiences to help other RCMP members and or any First Responders that might be going through the same thing so they can come forward to get the help they need before its too late. My other objective is to try and improve the current support systems that are unfortunately failing at times or have short falls. I also want to create positive changes towards mental health stigmas to help all First Responders through education and speaking publicly with firsthand experiences that I have gone through.

This is part of my story…

It’s strange looking back now, but I never wanted to be a police officer when I was growing up. It wasn’t until I was in my early 20’s that I heard the calling, that’s when I knew that this is what I was supposed to do with my life. It was to help people and give back to my community and country. I did everything that I could do to increase my chances trying to enter the RCMP. I started working security jobs, and in 2003 began my first of three years at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta. During this time, I was a correctional officer as well at the Fort Saskatchewan correctional centre. I oversaw a 60-man open unit along with a case worker. Also, I took a job at West Edmonton mall as a security guard.

In May of 2006, I graduated from MacEwan University with a certificate in Aboriginal Police Studies and a two-year diploma in police studies. After graduation, I was accepted into the cadet training program at the RCMP “Depot” Division in Regina Saskatchewan as a member of the North Peace Tribal Police Service. At that moment, it was probably one of the best times of my life. To this day, I still laugh with some of my troopmates about the shenanigans that occurred there. On October 23rd, 2006, I graduated from the academy and off to Fort Vermillion and Fox Lake, Alberta I went.

The tribal police agency I worked with had three constables, one corporal and a chief of police that was a borrowed corporal from the RCMP. As depot was, I worked side by side with the RCMP in their detachment. We went on calls together most of the time when a domestic would come in and other general duty work that needed to be done. While in Fort Vermilion my patrol area covered several First Nation communities. Fox Lake on the other hand, was only accessible by air, barge, or winter road. Most people, including children, were still speaking Cree as a primary language.

I learned pretty quick how to say, “white guy”, “police ” and other useful words, including swear words. As Fox Lake was an isolated community, there were only three of us for the community of 1753 people. One for dayshift, one for night shift and one on days off. We basically worked alone and sometimes you were the only one in the community as the other two flew out to court for the day.

My first few weeks on the job was a whirlwind. The first dead body I had to put in a body bag, was the brother of my high school girlfriend. What were the chances that five hours north of my hometown of Girouxville, Alberta that this would happen? I also dealt with my first child’s death. A young five-year-old boy was eaten in one of the First Nations communities by at least five dogs.

My trainer didn’t want me to see the little boy as he was covered under a blanket on the cold winter road with half of his face eaten. My job was to retrace his steps. I ended up picking up his trail of winter gear. I especially remember his mittens and was exposed to a lot during that posting. Sadly, I could go on with details of the stories, but they involve numerous dead bodies, children being assaulted physically and sexually and a lot of things that would disturb you. I learnt a lot working for the tribal police and in August of 2009, I had enough education and experience to be sworn in as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. My fiancé and stepson packed our bags and were off to “E” Division, British Columbia, specifically Lisims/Nass Valley. The Nass was a six-member detachment and a limited during post in another First Nations community.

Started showing signs of PTSD

I dealt with many traumatic calls on my own during this time. There were two calls that I remember and is when I started noticing afterwards, that I was showing signs of PTSD but didn’t know it. One incident where I arrested a male who was intoxicated and in a domestic dispute. I was alone and got into a wrestling match with him on the porch of his home. During the scuffle he kicked me and hit me in the groin barely missing my testicles. While handcuffed that client was also able to take a tug on my service pistol.

The second incident was after I got into another wrestling match. This time, it was in the ditch with a man that was over 6 foot tall, and I am 5’6. We had got a call of an intoxicated male wandering the street. Keep in mind that it was 3 am, and it was winter in northern British Columbia. I arrived on scene and found the intoxicated male stumbling down the road. I activated my emergency lights and got out of my vehicle. That’s when I attempted to arrest the male for being intoxicated in public, and the fight was on. He pulled away from me and we both fell into the ditch.

It was a deep ditch full of snow. Immediately I pressed my 10-33 button, officer in distress and I didn’t know if it went through prior to my radio mic falling off. So here I was, and this large guy was on top of me at one point and we are doing a dance in the ditch. I looked up at one point and saw his friend watching us. That’s when I thought to myself, shit, he’s going to jump in. I had no idea if I was going to make it out of this one. In the background, in fact my emergency call for help did go through and dispatch was able to hear the commotion. Dispatch was able to call backup, who threw on his duty belt and vest and came and found me still struggling. I can’t tell you how long this all went on, but it felt like forever. We were able to get the male under control and lodge him in cells.

It was the next week that I pulled someone over for an impaired investigation when he said to me “I’m not going to hurt you”. This guy was nice and not a threat to me at all. Then I looked down at my hands and they were shaking. The shaking continued and people I would deal with would make comments about my shaking. Eventually, I just said that I was diabetic and needed to eat. That was a total lie, but that’s how I coped with it.

There were so many traumatic events that I had dealt with on my own, just like the others. A suicide where I cut a guy down and used a grocery bag to cover his mouth, so I had a barrier to commence CPR. Attending a call on my own where I could have had my head chopped off. Having to do the HIV cocktail because I was exposed to blood. The fear of waiting six months to find out if you contracted HIV.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder wasn’t talked about or known yet in my career

It was 2010, and I was really starting to notice changes with me. I had no idea what was going on. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder wasn’t talked about or known yet in my career. But here I was having my life fall apart, and I had no clue who this demon was that was doing it. The us versus them mentality started to settle in as my paranoia began. I began getting lost going to calls. My head became foggy. Then, I began isolating myself, and I didn’t want my fiancé talking to the locals or making friends. I started to become emotionally abusive towards my spouse. There were so many signs when I looked back that I was clearly starting to fall apart. I began to avoid pulling people over for simple traffic infractions because of my anxiety and fear of confrontation. I would snap on a moment’s notice and rage would build inside of me. My home life was falling apart. I began to use food to cope. My fiancé, now pregnant, would argue all the time, but I continued onward the best I could.

On December 6th, 2010, my son was born. It was two months later that my fiancé would leave me with our son to go live on Vancouver Island, which later brought me to a larger Detachment. It took me 5 months to transfer to that RCMP Detachment on a compassionate transfer. I missed out on a lot of my son’s precious moments, even missed the birth. I was on parental leave for all this time, alone, sitting in my house up north. It’s a good thing that I didn’t drink as things would have become worse.

At that time, I remember spending many nights sitting in my closet crying wondering what was going on with my life. In July of 2011, I officially transferred to the larger RCMP Detachment on Vancouver Island. This is also where everything exploded for me, and where my career ended 8 years later.

My time serving on Vancouver Island, was filled with violence towards me. It was like people were attracted to me just to follow through with violent acts. My first week on the job involved me getting kicked in the groin again while arresting someone on a Sunday morning at a retail store in the plumbing aisle. I fell victim to numerous assaults and threats. Unfortunately, I managed to accumulate being on our police information systems 14 times as a victim of various criminal acts towards me. Those were the big ones that I felt needed to be recorded. No matter what I did, people wanted to fight me. When looking back on things now, I was spiralling out of control.

The us vs them mentality, I had no friends outside of work. If you were not a cop, I wasn’t going to talk to you, as you couldn’t be trusted. The paranoid mentality also started, and I began locking myself in my house on days off. People tell me now that I used to go to simple calls, such as a shoplifter, and be jacked right up. It was a constant adrenal dump. I also continued to eat my feelings and I weighed up to 230 lbs being 5’6. It was approximately the fall of 2011 that I went to my family doctor, and I told him about the experiences I was having. He didn’t understand and just told me I needed counselling, so I started seeing a psychologist.

Most of my sessions were focused on my separation from my spouse and loss of a family. We touched a little bit on my now known issues, but it was never dug into or officially diagnosed yet. PTSD was only discovered years later but by that time it was too late. It was in this time frame as well that I went to the Pacific Regional Training Centre in Chilliwack to re-certify in various steps (Firearms, use of force etc.)

They gave me a full medical that was done by the RCMP doctor, and I told him as well about the experiences that I was having. The doctor just asked if I was seeing someone and that was it. I was never spoken to about PTSD or mental illness. So, I continued to work and was flying more and more off the handle. Then I began to snap at people at the drop of a hat. Some supervisors would tell me to leave the cell block if I came down to assist a prisoner as people would be attracted to fight me. My sleep was also a complete disaster. The fights continued.

On November 13th, 2013, I arrested a female on a mental health act complaint. The female was suicidal, and she was brought to the hospital to be assessed in the psychiatric ward. It was here that a nurse and I got into a confrontation. The nurse had demanded that the handcuffs come off the female, however, she had not been searched thoroughly by me at the time, so I disagreed with the nurse. I also began to shake. I would shake to the point where I could not take any notes in my notebook. I remember this because I had tried, and the security guard saw this and laughed at me. I began to shake severely. Against my own intuition, I took the handcuffs off the female without her being searched. The nurse also made a public complaint against me. The next night shift I brought another patient into the psych ward, and I recall the nurses rolling their eyes at me.

It was shortly after this, that I had a meeting with my staff sergeant. This staff sergeant had investigated me prior to a previous public complaint against me a few years prior which had been deemed unfounded. He had worked in professional standards. During the meeting he brought that up and reminded me. It was at this time that he compared me to a former co-worker of his that he used to work with. He explained that his co-worker had been in the Canadian Forces and was now a member of the RCMP. This person was described by the staff sergeant to be known to walk around town like he was still in a war zone. I was told that this is what I reminded him of. Again, nothing about PTSD was brought up. Then I used my holiday time to take a month off work and clear my head.

The straw that broke the camel’s back

In January of 2014, I went back to work. I did not know that soon on the horizon, I would get into an incident that would eventually be the straw that broke the camel’s back, yet everything continued. The hypervigilance, violence, being spit on in my mouth, exposed to another round of HIV cocktail. Everything was out of control. Furthermore, the nurses that made a complaint against me came to the office to have a meeting with me and the staff Sgt. During the meeting the nurses explained that they feared me because I had been shaking. They were also concerned about the safety of the public. I finished the meeting, made my amends, and continued to work.

Things just got worse, and I was accumulating more entries on police information systems as a victim. Use of force reports piled up and more public complaints about me came rolling in. There was supposed to be a flagging system in place for members to warn upper management that a person may need help. This system would be set off if you had a certain amount of use of force reports, entries on police information systems and public complaints. Unfortunately, I was missed and continued to work on the road as a general duty constable until the fateful morning of June 25th, 2014.

It was early morning, about 0500hrs on June 14th, that a suspect was arrested for stealing a car from a neighbouring community. I was slated to go off shift soon, but I came down to the cell area to assist in the process of lodging them in cells. Another constable and I did the lodging in. The prisoner had become aggressive at this time and refused to take the string out of his shorts. RCMP protocols state that a prisoner cannot be left with a string as there is a danger of self strangulation with it. We called a supervisor and updated her on the circumstances about him refusing to take the string out. It was insisted by my supervisor that the string must come out. I approached his cell and made my first mistake by opening the cell door to talk to him. Then I made my second mistake by entering his cell with my hands by my side. I asked him politely to take the string out of his shorts as there would be seven of us coming down to do it instead. It was at this point that I was struck in the head with a haymaker.

I left the cell and “woke up”, not really understanding what happened

What I saw in my head and what I watched on the CCTV afterwards were two separate things. I snapped into a different state of mind, survival, I was going home at the end of my shift. In my head I rushed the client to the back bunk of the cell to which he fell on his back. Then I struck him twice in the head with a closed fist. I stopped and looked at my partner who had rushed into see the commotion. My partner was now trying to subdue the client’s legs. The client and I then fell to the floor to which I delivered another two or three punches to the head. It was at this point that several members entered the cell and took over. I left the cell and “woke up”, not really understanding what happened. Then I realized that I had blood on my face. I looked at the client and saw what I did. It was at that point that I knew I needed a lawyer.

It was later that I was able to view the cell block footage with my psychologist. On video you saw me enter the cell with my hands down and talking to the male. I then get punched in the head to which you see my head twist over my right shoulder. Then I watched myself rush the client to the back of the bunk and began striking the male in the head. My partner had entered the cell and was assisting to get the male under control. The male and I fell on the floor to which I was still striking the male in the head. The final two blows that ruined me were when the client was covering his face with his hands. In approximately 12 seconds that client was punched in the head by me approximately 11 times.

I left the cell area in shock, cleaned up and headed to my police cruiser which was parked in the parking lot and texted a friend to talk to me. After we spoke, I began writing my report. It was a short time later that I observed an ambulance come out of the sally port to which they were bringing the male to the hospital. I had made a bloody mess of his face and broke his nose. Then I realized that I injured my right hand punching him in the head, so I finished my report, went off shift and went directly to the hospital to have my hand checked out. After the hospital I went home, tried to sleep, and got updates about the male who had been in the hospital. It was in the afternoon that I found out that the Independent Investigations Office was investigating me for use of force. I was on days off for four days, as a single dad trying to keep it together for my son.

I never had one debriefing in my career with the RCMP

Upon my return to work, I was brought up to the corner office and served code of conduct documents by the Superintendent. I was told that he looked at my file and saw no reason to suspend me and I was back on the road working for two days and two nights. Despite going through all of this, I had no debriefing. In fact, I never had one debriefing in my career with the RCMP. The only debrief I had was after the child got eaten by dogs up north at the start of my career. I tried to work, anxiety took over, I almost vomited arresting someone and I was crashing. At some point during these four days, I spoke with my staff Sergeant who told me that I looked like a Metis warrior in the cell block with my haircut. I was struggling to keep it together. I was now seeing things in my head and losing control of my mind.

On July 11th, 2014, I was on days off isolating myself in my home. I read about the investigation surrounding me and it was enough to make me have a mental breakdown. I drove myself to the hospital, told the staff my story and demanded that somebody help me. It was at that point, 4 years after I started reaching out for help that someone had listened to me. I was written off work pending my psychologist appointment. I had spoken with a co-worker during this time who told me to have my psychologist test specifically for PTSD.

I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

A test was done shortly after a few days and the results came back as suspected. I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. My psychologist wrote me off work pending further treatment. I brought my paperwork to my staff Sergeant and told him that I had good news and bad news. The good news was that they finally found out what was wrong with me. The bad news was that I was going to be off work for a while. It was silent for a bit, and I noticed my staff Sergeants demeanour change. I asked him if he was mad to which he stated, no, but then proceeded to tell me that other people will now have to pick up the slack. To me, this felt like a guilt trip to get me back to work.

After many months of time away from work and working with my psychologist, I returned to desk duty at the office thinking I could handle it. However, my mind was gone, and I had meltdowns in the office which led to being pulled from my watch that I felt I had connection with. I was working in the office with people but feeling alone at the same time. Eventually, it got so bad that I disconnected my doorbell, put up no trespassing signs in my yard. I even contemplated building a fence around my entire home to shield me from the outside world. I continued working in the office. My psychologist was working with me as well, but it didn’t seem like it was helping.

It was in February of 2015 that I was charged criminally for assault causing bodily harm for the cell block incident that occurred in July 2014. I was devastated. What I saw in my head was not what I saw on the cell block video, and I couldn’t explain it. My name and face were plastered all over the media, google and I had a tv camera shoved in my face as I walked to and from the courthouse for my appearances. This all dragged on until December 15th, 2015 when I was given a conditional discharge and put on probation for a year. I had been fingerprinted by a co-worker, they tried to anyway, but I ended up fingerprinting myself as my friend was too upset to do it. I had my criminal photo taken by police and by probation. I was humiliated and now knew what it felt like to be on the other side of the law. I remember during my sentencing that the judge told me that I was a good cop, and it served no purpose that I have a criminal record. The judge also stated that I had reasons to fear for my safety and my son’s safety.

My life was ruined from this point onward. I was using more food to cope to the point that I would eat so much I would vomit and keep on eating. Eating numbed the pain and I was crying for no reason, seeing fight scenes in my head, paranoid in public, developed a stutter, had memory loss and suicidal thoughts. It felt like I was in full blown mental breakdown, but I continued to work.

I slowly worked jobs in the office, all while trying to keep it together and I eventually got back on D-Watch as the detachment constable. Ironically, part of my job was back in the cell block processing prisoners. It felt like I finally had some supervisors that understood me, (I did have a handful during my time that helped me out). I was still having a hard time though, and having flashbacks in the cell block, seeing people punch me in the head when I would fingerprint them. There were so many things.

No one checked in with me

My friend, a female Sergeant that didn’t put up with bullshit, retired and I had a hard time with it as she was my anchor. Another Sgt on my watch that understood me transferred and the only person I had left was my new staff Sergeant. He was genuine and understood me. One night, I had a meltdown in the detachment after someone raised their voice at me. I tried to tell a corporal what was going on and I couldn’t talk, I just stuttered. Then I sat in the supervisor’s office by myself and cried until I could talk. No one checked in with me.

On February 20th, 2017, I was written off work again by my psychologist because I couldn’t handle it. I had given it my best shot, but my duties were being pushed at work and no one understood me anymore. During that time, I was going on my second trial in family court as well with my ex-spouse. I couldn’t handle anything and was off work until March 17th, 2017, so basically a month. During this time, I didn’t receive one phone call or message from any of my supervisors to see if I was okay. I could have hung myself and no one cared. I was starting to have enough of my situation and contemplated taking my life just to get some peace. There was even a plan that I devised where I would leave a note on the front door of my home requesting that certain members from the Detachment do not enter the home as I was personal friends with them. My plan was that I would go into the bathtub and slit my wrists. This way it would be clean, and I would just bleed out into the drain.

Eventually I went back to work and tried again, but I couldn’t do anything by myself as my anxiety was too much. I had to get others to assist me when I was in the cell block where I felt stupid for asking for help. It felt and I could tell that people were starting to get annoyed with me and my assistance that was needed. Things didn’t improve from there.

My son had seen me at my worst days at the young age of 7

It was August of 2017 that my son was lying in bed with me, he was awake. I fell back asleep and had a night terror. I woke up punching and if my son would have been sitting up in bed, I would have punched him in the head. That was the last straw. My son had seen me at my worst days at the young age of 7.

I yell like I have Tourette’s; I can’t handle noise, he hears me stutter, sees me forget simple tasks. My son had to walk on eggshells, and I had to explain that dad had a brain injury from being a policeman and all the bad things that he saw plus happened to him. It was after this that I had a talk with a co-worker who convinced me that I need to seek help from the British Columbia Operational Stress Injury Clinic. I took his advice and demanded that health services send me there and that I wanted to see a psychiatrist. Someone who specializes in PTSD.

My final stint at work only lasted close to two months before I had to pull the pin again. It was now the end of September in 2017 and I was advised by a supervisor that my medical certificate had expired. This was enough to set me off into a spin. However, I started to make new friends with people who were not police at a local gym and had a support network again. Eventually, I left work on September 25th, 2017, for the last time.

I feared the repercussions

A couple days after being signed off on a medical leave, I had a meeting with an inspector, my Sergeant, and my staff Sergeant. I was under the impression that when I returned to work that they would be able to find me a job that I could handle. One of my supervisors complained to the inspector that it was taking members off the road to assist me. The supervisors had to send emails for me because I couldn’t even handle that. I was told that this information was not being said to be hurtful, but that’s what it felt like to me inside. The inspector spoke about other members leaving the force and thriving and how I would always have good memories. Before I went home, my Sergeant asked if I would like phone calls to check up on me. I stated yes, unfortunately, those phone calls never happened. The inspector also asked me if I had any suicidal thoughts, I lied and stated “no” because I feared the repercussions.

After that meeting, I went home because I felt sick, so sick, that I held a knife to my wrist and imagined how easy it would be to slit my wrist to get relief. Also, I imagined sitting in my car and gassing myself or would make a handgun with my hand and pretend to shoot myself.

Days passed by and I would just stay in bed in a state of depression hoping that someone would reach out to me. I would lay in bed wondering what was going on in my life and thinking how easy it would be just to end it all. Now I understood firsthand why other First Responders with PTSD kill themselves. They want to feel relief. At the end of November 2017, after my first appointment with the psychiatrist at the OSI, I sent an email to the inspector to let them know that I was still alive. Little did I know that in the background of all of this, a plan was being put in place to force me out of the RCMP due to my medical condition plus mental health issues that developed over the years being a police officer.

I felt abandoned inside by people that I once trusted with my life

On January 18th, 2018, I spoke with the inspector from the Detachment and told her that I would like to get back to work in the office doing something I could handle. I felt that I could be useful and could still contribute. That’s when she told me that we can’t always get what we want and reminded me that another option was to voluntarily release from the police force. Once again, I felt abandoned inside by people that I once trusted with my life and held to high regard.

In the week of May 6th, 2018, I received a phone call out of the blue from the inspector where I was told the disability manager was having meetings at the detachment with everyone that was on medical. I was told that it was not anything to worry about and was just to talk about my updated medical status. My psychiatrist had drafted a return-to-work schedule for me with restrictions to enable me to succeed. That’s when I told the inspector that I had been cleared to go back to work two months ago and I didn’t hear anything.

On May 16th, 2018, at 0830hrs, I met with the inspector and disability manager from the RCMP. When I walked into the meeting, I did not know that this was going to be the end of my career. During the meeting, they had to stop three times to make sure I was okay. I had in fact seen black spots and the walls of the room were closing in. I was told it would be a good idea to start my disability claim, despite both of my doctors stating that I needed to stay there to succeed and for other reasons that would affect my mental health.

I was told that I didn’t have to pack my locker today, but I chose to because I was done, and I didn’t want to come back to the detachment. Someone that I had no connection to, was watching over my shoulder while I packed my locker, belongings and then left the detachment.

October 23rd, 2006, I walked out on the RCMP training academy with a sense of pride and accomplishment. Then, on May 16th, 2018, I packed my career into a cardboard box. At this point I was mentally destroyed. Now I am going to lose my career, a career that got me sick in the first place. Naturally, I was mad and sad all at the same time.

On April 24th, 2019, I officially medically retired from the RCMP. I had lost my career and my only known identity and had to start over and still deal with my demons inside. It was a very rough road from that point on. Suicidal thoughts and acts, depression, rage, overeating, numbness was all there. I was so bad that at one point I face-timed my now 2nd ex-fiancée (we met in June of 2018) with a knife to my throat wanting to kill myself. I had also been running knives on my wrists. She didn’t call members out of fear it would push me over the edge. Instead, she called my father who came and calmed me down. At one point I told myself that it was enough, and I asked Veterans Affairs Canada to send me to a trauma and recovery program at an excellent Treatment Centre. They were able to help and sent me to a 49-day program.

It was during these 49 days that I had been sober in over a year. I had been granted medicinal marihuana to ease my mind. This worked well for a while until I had begun abusing it. Getting high in two in the afternoon when I didn’t have my son. Then I began chasing a high wherever I could. It numbed the pain and during my time there, I went without it but replaced it with more prescription medication.

I had met some awesome people there to which I still stay in contact with some. Sadly, that centre was not strong enough to help me overcome my demons. I did my 49 days at the centre and wanted to do a week more. That didn’t occur. During my time in treatment, I had constant suicidal thoughts to which I would get spoken to about regularly. I would yell emotionally abusive language to my fiancé over the phone. On two occasions I just flipped out. First one was after being triggered by observing two males get into an argument. I began slamming chairs around, yelling and going after one of the males.

I eventually was put in a choke hold by a friend to snap out of it. The second was on my 49th day, I got triggered by a counsellor and began yelling to leave. Members were called on me this time but were called off when I calmed down and began packing my items. My spouse attended to pick me up and was told that there was nothing more they could do to help me. I went home and for a week I would cling on to my spouse. Things continued to spiral, and it eventually affected my relationship again. I would yo-yo from months of being good to back to bad. At some point my spouse would come over to my place (we hadn’t moved in together yet) and told me to get out of bed, shave, and shower. My place would be a disaster. I would need help shopping and struggled with all my ups and downs. It was never ending and still is not.

In September of 2021, my spouse, the second one now, left me because of my mental health. As I type this I am healing from a very hard summer. I had tried to come off medication and it did not turn out well, eventually ruining a relationship. I remind myself that I passed two psychological background checks and tests by two different police agencies and cleared them both. So, at one point I was healthy. My mind now does or had done the following to me:

  • Paranoid of the public.
  • See fights in my head that are not real, but I relive them like they are.
  • Overeat so I can numb the pain.
  • make me lay in bed for a week.
  • not take care of my hygiene.
  • I stutter now.
  • Memory loss.
  • Mood swings.
  • Addiction issues with marihuana.
  • Rage outbursts.
  • Due to my medication side effects I have mini type seizures.
  • Suspicious of others.
  • Tourette type outburst.
  • Cry easily when triggered or will want to fight.
  • My anxiety causes me to spin in my head.
  • Passive suicidal thoughts.
  • At times unable to emotionally control myself to which I can be emotionally abusive.
  • Detach from reality and unable to sympathize with others when they are in need.
  • Heightened startle response.

I’ve been in the care of a psychiatrist, psychologist, counsellor, went through two occupational therapists and have a case manager through Veterans Affairs Canada.

VAC has been able to do the following for me:

  • Send me to rehab.
  • Get me in touch with an occupational therapist.
  • Continue support with a psychologist.
  • Continue support with a psychiatrist through the BC OSI Centre who have been great themselves on my journey.

My journey with mental illness has been tough and as of late even tougher, however you must know that you cannot give up, despite how hard it is. The purpose of sharing some of my story is to hopefully help someone who may be needing to read this. I’ve been through hell and back and I am still here. So, whatever you do, do not give up.

By sharing our struggles we are saving more people.

(Retired) CST. T.R. (Tim) BEDARD, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Edited by Peter HOWELL from  TheFirstResponder.ca 

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