Jeff Easingwood is retiring from the RCMP after a diagnosis of PTSD, although he prefers to see it as PTS Growth and will use this change to grow his talents and business as a photographer.

Heart of Our City: PTSD won’t define this former RCMP officer

Jeff Easingwood prefers to see PTSD as PTSGrowth

Around three years ago Cpl. Jeff Easingwood was on duty for the Prince Rupert RCMP.

As Easingwood was driving in his police vehicle he was involved in an on-duty accident, which was the incident that burst the dam open bringing every bad thought he had to the surface.

“That was kind of the point where I was forced to face things I just kind of ignored and that’s when I started seeing a psychologist and also got hooked up with a psychiatrist,” he said.

Easingwood is currently on medical discharge from the RCMP and will be officially retiring from his position on Jan. 24.

Three years ago Easingwood was diagnosed with PTSD, and as a result of that, between his doctors advice and the support of family and friends he decided that it was probably best to leave his service with the police force.

Easingwood transferred to Prince Rupert from Saskatchewan after he decided to apply for a promotion following a nine year career serving as constable for their detachment.

Easingwood can’t pin his PTSD on any one particular incident. It was an accumulation of on-the-job incidences that slowly built their way up like a mountain until one day he noticed the symptoms more and more.

“I love it here. I just love it here,” he said. “My wife is a teacher here, she loves her job and it is a great community for the kids. Even though I am leaving the RCMP, right now we see ourselves staying here.”

Individuals can experience a multitude of symptoms with PTSD, every experience differs.

For Easingwood, the first wave of symptoms came when he was unable to sleep, and flashbacks and nightmares of various incidents invaded his dreams.

From there his temper became short and he was easily agitated by the slightest miscalculation.

“You’re not yourself anymore. I think for a lot of people who have it, you’re kind of in denial, you know that you’re not yourself but you just don’t want to face that. It’s not an easy thing to come to terms with,” he said.

READ MORE: Vernon Mountie to walk 239 kilometres and raise awareness for PTSD

Giving up the RCMP was another difficult thing for Easingwood to come to terms with. If you ask him to pinpoint the very moment he knew he wanted to be a police officer, he would not be able to tell you. It was just something he always wanted to do for as long as he can remember.

Now his PTSD is an opportunity to grow and expand into another passion that he’s had since childhood.

“I’ve always also just had a love for photography. I remember being a small kid, with my first camera, taking pictures of the Prince George air show when we visited. And so with this situation, it is an opportunity to try and expand my photography, or maybe turn that into a career at this point,” he said.

Jeff showing off his photography of Prince Rupert on display at the annual Winterfest Craft and Gift Fair. (Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)

When he steps out into the landscape and wildlife, which often times entails long hikes and rides out into the open water, Easingwood feels a peaceful and calming feeling coming over him. The opposite of his nightmares and flashbacks.

Easingwood does not let his PTSD define him. It is no doubt a part of him now, but he prefers to call it PTS-growth, a term he learned from Project Trauma Support, a group in Ottawa that helps veterans and officers cope with their post traumatic stress.

“So how do you grow from here?,” he said. “Realizing that for some people, they think it’s the end of the road, but helping guys and girls realize that it’s not, that they have a lot to give still.”

Easingwood is giving back to the community of support that helped him navigate his way out of his PTSD by donating to the organization with some of the funds from his photography.

“It’s about making connections to lean on each other, and then somebody that’s going through hard times again, remember that they have people to reach out to help lead each other out of it again.”

READ MORE HEART OF OUR CITY: Cruise ships, Cleveland and dumpster notes: Happy in strange places


Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
Jenna Cocullo 
Send Jenna email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Heart of our City

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sunken Gardens bloom from deeply seeded efforts

Garden club members are rooted in dedication

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

Salmon closures announced for Skeena and Nass watersheds

DFO notice expands on May 21 chinook ban throughout Skeena watershed

City to request conservation officer

Predatory wildlife appear to be bolder

City auditors reports are in

“We are now playing catch-up on all major assets,” CFO said

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Most Read