I’m so glad this story was written. I feel like it’s assumed that police officers or soldiers in the army would have PTSD or similar issues after spending years in the type of work they do, but I haven’t read that much on it in the media.
Personally, I’ve had major issues with anxiety. Seeing dead bodies while covering a news story is difficult to deal with, and unfortunately I’ve seen more than one. After I was hit by a drunk driver, I had major anxiety attacks. It wasn’t quite PTSD, but it was more than just your average freak-out. I still struggle with it in some ways.
It’s really hard to express to people how difficult it is to deal with these things and try to live a normal life, and all my issues seem like a walk in the park compared to this man’s experience. So I’m glad he was brave enough to step up and share his story. It’s a great article and definitely worth a read.
BRACEBRIDGE, ONT.— Bruce Kruger insists on having the perfect seat.
He’s fled airplanes, cried in restaurants and rearranged furniture at friends’ homes — all for the perfect seat.
That seat is backed against a wall.
So no one can attack from behind.
Most of the time, the retired Ontario Provincial Police officer appears to be enjoying an idyllic retirement.
He has four grown children and 11 grandchildren with Lynn, his wife of 43 years. He has a charming home/bed and breakfast on the banks of the Muskoka River.
Kruger runs two joint Swiss Chalet/Harvey’s franchises, one each in Bracebridge and Huntsville. He’s the official town crier of Bracebridge.
He seems successful and “normal” in most every way.
But “it’s a mask,” says Kruger, 63, who calls himself “the great pretender.”
Kruger has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder connected with his 29-year OPP career. He suffers from anxiety, depression, guilt and periods of rage.
He contends the OPP has failed to deal adequately with his PTSD and that of many other officers. Kruger is so passionate in that belief, he has complained to Ontario Ombudsman André Marin and urged other past and current officers to do so.
Later this month, Marin is set to release a landmark, 150-page report on how the OPP handles “operational stress injuries” within its ranks. He says it will “shake up” the police community.
Police culture today treats mental illness as a weakness, Marin told the Star. Officers who suffer from workplace stress are told to “suck it up” or are ostracized.
The Star spoke to about a dozen officers in total, eight of them retired and active OPP officers. Most of them are among the 78 OPP members and 29 municipal police who contacted the ombudsman about their PTSD (the Star also interviewed three municipal officers).
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