Former N.S. RCMP officer writes memoir, hoping it will help others suffering with PTSD
MONCTON -- A former Nova Scotia RCMP officer is hoping to share his past experiences on what it was like to work as an officer and how he and many others struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Patrick Guy Roy worked as an RCMP officer in Nova Scotia for 25 years. At the age of 62, he decided to put his experiences on paper by writing a memoir.
“It’ll have an insight on what policing is. It’s not what you see on television,” said Roy.
He hopes this memoir will not only provide insight into the life of a police officer but also hopes it will help others who are struggling with PTSD.
Roy told CTV News that he comes from a family of police officers. He started his career right out of high school, at the age of 19, with his first posting in Ingonish, N.S. His last posting was in Truro, N.S.
Two years ago, Roy received unexpected news. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s - one of the main reasons he decided to document all of his memories.
“Some days are good and some days are worse. It’s really tough when you can’t remember what you had for breakfast,” he said.
He told CTV News that his mother also suffered from Alzheimer’s when he was younger and that he now understands what it must’ve been like for her.
Since January, he has been working with Beverley Hotchkiss, a ghostwriter in Ontario, to help him write his 330-page memoir.
While on the job, he recalls being thrown into several life-threatening situations that eventually led him to develop PTSD. He said PTSD is very common in the force, but wasn’t met with any sense of urgency at the time. He recalled telling his brother that he needed help, which eventually led him to see a psychologist long after he experienced a traumatic shooting while working.
“He was surprised that he hadn’t been told what I was there for. He was mad actually; he said you should’ve been here the next day,” said Roy.
While struggling with his mental health, Roy says it felt like he was “swept under the rug." He says mental health and PTSD were not topics of discussion that came up a lot during his career.
“I still have stress problems and I probably always will have them,” he said.
After getting to know Roy, Beverley Hotchkiss said his ability to speak openly about his trauma as an officer may pave the way for other men who have been suffering in silence.
“I talked with him and some of his co-workers. Then I started to understand what this life was about for front line workers and police officers in particular,” said Hotchkiss.
Hotchkiss has been helping Patrick write his book titled ‘Fighting The Good Fight’.
“The main thing for him was to leave a legacy for his children and for them to be able to understand their father better and also as a project to help with his memory retention,” said Hotchkiss.
While speaking to Roy’s traumatic moments, Hotchkiss said officers were expected to get up and go to work the next morning as if nothing happened.
“In a shift, he could be going to a suicide, a domestic violence situation and then pulling someone speeding over and it’s just constant rotation,” she said.
Much to his surprise, Roy said he can still remember his time working for the RCMP very clearly, while other things don’t come as quickly to mind.
The two are hoping to get Roy's memoir published soon so that he can hold his book in his hands while his memories are still present.