James “Face of PTSD”


James McLaren

I am taken aback by the strength and courage displayed here. There are some tough hombres here. There are some truly remarkable and courageous people here. If I can help anyone in any way by telling my story, I will lay my dealio down now. I am a Member of the RCMP for almost 22 Years with about 7 in the army before that. It wasn’t for about a year or so after I returned from deployment to Kosovo when I first started to notice something wonky going on with me. I was hypervigelant to the extreme, sleeping 3 to 4 hours with total self destructive behaviour. I was relying on adrenaline to keep me moving. Couldn’t keep it up and eventually crashed. I found myself ready to launch my pc off a dam into a 300 deep lake just to make the pain stop. A member rolled up on me by chance and broke my destructive focus. I fumbled for a few more months trying to figure out how to kill myself without causing work for my co-workers. I’m lucky I’m not that smart and couldn’t quite get a viable plan together. I continued to be a top performer at work and eventually transferred and promoted. In my new post I finally tried to get help. I went to the Force psych and did the old ” I can’t sleep” complaint. I am sure this is cop code for “help!” to this day my ears perk up when I hear members mention it. I was diagnosed with PTSD in 2004 and I half assed my treatment for the next few years. I spent many day just summoning enough strength to get through a shift and then would hide in my basement in what felt like sheer terror, just wanting the world to stop. My kids suffered the loss of their dad at this time and this is my biggest regret . I was able to cobble together the semblance of a healthy person and got myself some more transfers and promotions. Things finally broke for me in 2011. I was commanding a detachment and realized that I owed my members the best and healthiest commander possible. After a string of broken relationships I also met the love of my life and really wanted to be the best I could be for her and my kids. I stuck my fist in the air and asked for help. I marched into the Force psychs off and laid it all out in raw format. I was sent to the OSI clinic and began some pretty intense treatment. This went on for over 2 years. I worked my ass off to get who I was back for the people I love. I’m not going to say I’m cured but I am better. Good days and not so good days. The dark and scary thoughts still creep into my head but I am their master. In my detachment I am open with my members about my experiences and how I wish I did the work to get better way earlier. There is no stigma attached to OSIs in my office, only respect, support and the odd tear. My members know I have their backs as I know they have mine. It’s the only way to be , only way it can be. Getting help for an OSI is no different than getting help for a broken bone. We don’t nurse a fractured bone along hoping it gets better we can’t do the same with an OSI. Thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Care for each other and we all will get through the bad times. Soon we will be able to laugh once again. Maintains Le Droit , especially for each other – James McLaren.


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