After 11 years with the RCMP, Kimberley Tent is on a mission.
The former Williams Lake resident and self turned author returned to the Lakecity to sign copies of her recently published poetic memoir Parts of Me at Saturday’s Street Party.
“I knew right away,” Tent said of experiencing PTSD.
“I was supervising my own watch and dealing with other members’ brothers and sisters who were experiencing PTSD and helping them through it I knew I had it as well, but I wanted to be the strong one for them so that’s when I first noticed.”
Before retiring from the RCMP this past March, Tent added there were a couple of events that left her emotionally scarred including a crash and also an assault that had left her mouth wired shut for months.
“In the evening I felt like I was going to die, I was going to choke. I wasn’t able to eat regular food and went down to nothing but skin and bones and that was when I developed an eating disorder. From the time that I had my mouth unwired, I was bulimic right away,” she said.
“PTSD that’s just one of the ways that it came out for me. I think the biggest thing for me was hiding it.”
Writing her thoughts down on paper each day, it was not until recently Tent would reread them and decide to publish them into a book that could be shared and read by others with the ultimate goal of offering hope.
“The importance is a little different now than it was when I wrote it,” Tent said.
“I didn’t just up and decide to write the book one day. I was suffering from PTSD badly. I wasn’t able to leave the house and I was just in a very deep dark place, and I’ve always been a writer. When I was going through the hardest places, the depths of PTSD, I would write down every day how I was feeling and so that what this book is.”
“It wasn’t until this past year when I went back and had a look at all the writings that I did over the couple years; just thoughts, feelings, it could be a sentence or two, and I looked and I saw the different stages that I had been in,” Tent continued.
“It went from so dark and troubled to light and I thought I need to share this not just for first responders but people who struggle with anxiety, stress, any form of trauma; the feelings that they go through too they’re not alone.”
Now retired from the RCMP to focus on writing full-time, Tent currently resides in Cranbrook. She said her mission is to spread awareness of PTSD.
“There’s been a lot of awareness lately but I want to specifically bridge a gap between people suffering from PTSD and their families, their spouses, their girlfriends, and their kids because that’s the first step and I believe this book will do that,” she said.
“It gives that raw truth which we were all trained as police officers you don’t show. It was hard for me and once I did here I am, so I made it and there’s hope for everyone.”