Invisible Wounds: The emotional journey of a police officer’s battle with PTSD by Norm DeVarennes

Mr. DeVarennes tells us, in detail, of the emotional ups and downs of being a police officer and the heavy toll it takes on a person’s mental health.

This story is an eye-opener of what a police officer faces when he leaves for work. It is no wonder the situations they encounter can have such a devastating effect on a person, be they in the military, a first responder of a police officer. The bulk of the everyday job is dealing with lawbreakers, mean and angry individuals, death, fatal car accidents, the list goes on. As ghastly as many incidents are, police officers are expected to tuck it in and move on to the next call.  What we don’t hear about is the how big a price is paid by the honourable men and woman that have sworn to protect us. To complain or look for answers is to suggest that an officer is “weak” or unfit for the job. There is an undercurrent in Mr. DeVarennes’ story that this must change.

DeVarennes is quick to point out that not every encounter a police officer has with the public is a mental strain. There are many good people that respect the police and the work they do.

The difficult part of Mr. DeVarennes’ story is how the effects of PTSD changed his relationship with his family, the problems it caused, the isolation and worry it created. How it can and will lead to suicide in some cases. It becomes clear that his only “safe” spot was with his fellow police officers, only they could understand and talk about the pressures they experience.

 “The mental breaking point doesn’t happen suddenly. Instead, the breakdown starts slowly and progresses in stages, bit by bit until it reaches a point of no return.

Invisible Wounds was written as part of Mr. DeVarennes’ recovery and as a warning that the signs and complications of PTSD must be dealt with in the early stages of a person’s career. This story can help others and should be a must-read for anyone engaged in similar work.


About the author: Born in Grande Digue NB, Mr. DeVarennes’ first posting was in 1988 was in Joliette QC which includes close to a year working in Akwesasne Reserve during the Oka crisis. Transferred to Richibucto Detachment in 1993. Worked there from 1993-2011 working in Elsipogtog (Formerly Big Cove), highway patrol, shift supervisor and operational NCO (acting appointment). Transferred to Beaver Creek Yukon from 2011 to 2014 where he was the Detachment Commander. Transferred to Haines Junction Yukon from 2014-2015 also as a Detachment Commander (Retired after 28 years of policing).
Presently working with the Federal Labour Program since June 2015 as a health and safety officer but presently assigned as a course developer for the Labour Program. He presently lives in Scoudouc, NB.

  • Paperback: 117 pages
  • ISBN-13: 979-8554331114
  • Publisher: Independently published (Oct. 27 2020)

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Allan Hudson

Growing up in South Branch, Allan Hudson was encouraged to read from an early age by his mother who was a schoolteacher. He lives in Dieppe, NB, with his wife Gloria. He has enjoyed a lifetime of adventure, travel and uses his many experiences as ideas for his writing. He is an author of action/adventure novels, historical fiction and a short story collection. His short stories – The Ship Breakers & In the Abyss – received Honourable Mention in the New Brunswick Writer’s Federation competition. He has stories published on commuterlit.com, The Golden Ratio and his blog - South Branch Scribbler.  

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