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Dealing with PTSD: Jamie’s story


NOTE: Contains graphic material.



A former professional bronco rider, Jamie was managing a horse ranch in British Columbia in July 2009 when drug-crazed intruders tossed a can of bear spray through his bedroom window.

There were six of them, high on drugs.

They thought because I had a big home I had a safe or money stashed, which I didnt, he said.

He had just moved into the 3,200-sq.-ft. log home in Lone Butte, near Kamloops.

All I had was a big mortgage. They didnt believe me.

For the next hour and a half he was duct-taped to a chair and tortured. His hands were burned with cigarettes, he was beaten over the head with boards and kitchen pans and was sprayed in the face with bear repellant.

I got stab wounds here and here, he said, indicating his right bicep, where they kept slicing me.

When RCMP showed up, alerted by his house alarm, Jamie said the intruders grabbed their guns and machetes and forced him out into their truck.

They were arrested after a short pursuit and Jamie was released. The nightmare, however, goes on.

Jamie previously had concussion syndrome dating to his bronc-riding days and the head trauma he received during the invasion left him unable to properly read or write.

Released from hospital, he headed to Nova Scotia, where his mother was living, and never looked back. He arranged to have his house sold through a real estate company. Friends recovered his clothes and some personal photographs.

For the first two years I was back, I was put on disability, he said. He couldnt even walk into a grocery store without having family members on each side of him.

Massive panic attacks forced him to become a shut-in until a couple of years ago when he found a job that enabled him to work outdoors and on his own.

But he never did properly address his post-traumatic stress disorder issues and when his mother died last year everything went downhill as his past came flooding back.

It was rough.

Following a couple of suicide attempts, Jamie said he finally connected with a mental health therapist he is able to work with.

Life is improving somewhat, he said, though his ability to work is currently on hold. And he still lives with the misguided guilt that he is at fault for what happened.

I do that all the time, he said.

Why did I ever build such a big house? The sad thing is, if I didnt build that nice home and I didnt have a nice truck and car and all that, I dont think it would have happened.

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