Evidence of the knife wounds and cigarette burns are reminders of the nightmarish home invasion that forever changed Jamie’s life.
But the deeper scars – the ones others can’t see – are embedded in his mind.
“Sometimes I can’t sleep because I have visions of these people jumping out at me and I’d wake up,” said the Truro man, 42, who did not want his full name used. “And I have vivid, vivid nightmares. So, sometimes you just want it to stop.”
Eight years after being injured in a home invasion, Jamie continues to suffer from both the mental and physical effects of the attack.
He deals with post-traumatic stress disorder, which causes panic attacks around strangers or in close quarters with others. He also has blackouts or periods of amnesia.
“I’ve had some interesting encounters with the police,” he said. “If I’m out walking in the middle of the night, which I do a lot, I’m already anxious and worked up because I’ve had a nightmare or visions or whatever you want to call it.”
Jamies freezes up during such encounters and cannot speak. One calming techniques he has been taught in therapy is to tap his leg or hand. But too often those actions are misinterpreted.
“I’ve literally had a cop pull a taser on me because I was tapping my leg. I was all freaked out already and then he pulls a taser on me.”
Wanting to avoid such encounters, Jamie, through consultation with his clinical therapist, has created a card that is sanctioned by the health authority, and which he now uses for communication.
Related: Dealing with PTSD: Jamie’s story
Truro police see potential
The card bears the health authority logo and has PTSD written in large letters on the front. The reverse side provides identification and other information about his condition.
“The card has helped me more than I could ever explain because I’m able to focus on something that makes me feel good,” he said.He is also hoping he can expand on his idea so that it can benefit others, although he is still in the exploratory stage of that process.
Jamie met this week with Jim Flemming, deputy chief with the Truro Police Service.
“I looked over the card,” Flemming said. “It looks like a good start.”
The pair intend to have further discussions about setting up an identification program for other individuals, which Flemming said could work hand in hand with a vulnerable persons registry the department is developing.
“And with his card I think that would be a good next step,” he said.
The aim of the registry would be to have information put in place in the event that someone with dementia, autism or even a drug dependency went missing or became involved in a public altercation.
Flemming hopes to roll out the vulnerable persons registry early in the new year and in the meantime, will be working with Jamie to help further his efforts.