Meet Kim Hardy

David B canadian armed forces in front of tutor jet
David B canadian armed forces in front of tutor jet

In 2017, I took part in the first French-speaking female cohort of the Veterans Transition Program (VTP). At the time, the training lasted ten days and took place on weekends. Once the process was over, one thing became clear: my life would never be the same again! Something had changed in me…

Even though the consequences of my post-traumatic stress disorder make me more determined than ever to find ways to heal, I’m still excessively reluctant to embark on a new process. On the way to the first PTV training weekend, I feel nervousness and anxiety gradually creeping over me. I’m even thinking of turning back. I already suffer from hypervigilance, so adding the stress of anticipating a course I know very little about might be asking too much!

“Once the process was over, one thing became clear: my life would never be the same again!”

Nevertheless, I finally arrive at my destination. It’s Friday evening. I meet the other participants, the two pairs of Peer Supporters and three psychotherapists. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. Ranks and years of service no longer exist. Since I already know I’ll have to open up to all these people, I try to be as transparent as possible and reach out to them. At least on the surface, since the traumas I’ve experienced have turned me into a person suffering from a dissociative disorder, a person detached from himself and his environment. Under these conditions, it’s not easy to explore my emotions or share my memories.

shattered glass black and white

Everything changed in 2013. Or more precisely, six months after an emergency mission to the Philippines. Following a typhoon, the Canadian army (the Disaster Assistance Response Team – DART) was dispatched to support the humanitarian aid effort. Conditions are deplorable. The environment is hostile. Incidents are multiplying. The human drama is incalculable. After 45 days in the field, physical exhaustion and psychological distress were reaching fever pitch. Suddenly, without warning, a nightmare occurred: during a mission to which I was sent alone in the middle of the night, a gang of armed men ambushed me and tried to kidnap me. I managed to escape and return to base. But how? I don’t know how. I have no memory of it. My memory has been erased to try and avoid the traumatic after-effects, I guess?

shattered glass black and white

I returned to Canada. For a while, post-traumatic shock helped to embellish other events, to make them almost unreal, as if they had been experienced by someone else. But after six months, it’s all downhill from there. Nightmares, anxiety attacks and aggression came thick and fast, poisoning my life and those of my loved ones.

“Being a Peer Supporter means helping people who have been through similar things to me, while continuing to understand myself better. In this way, I help to save them, just as they help to save me.”

Four years later, I did my first VTP training course. My life changed completely. Then I was lucky enough to do a second training course, which went so well that I was offered the chance to become a Peer Supporter. Which is what I’ve been doing ever since.

If you decide to make a career in the army, it’s because you’re someone who wants to help others. If you’re like me and you choose the medical field in the army, it’s because you want to save others. Being a Peer Supporter means helping people who have been through similar things to me, while continuing to understand myself better. In this way, I help to save them, just as they help to save me. It’s the best of both worlds!

– Kim

shattered glass black and white