The first time Mark Farrant experienced a debilitating anxiety attack, he tried to push it aside. The 48-year-old had recently served as a jury foreperson for the murder trial of a Toronto woman — a service he explains as “the last mandatory civic duty left in our country” — and he couldn't understand why these fits of fear kept interrupting his life. Rather than fade, as other memories had, the horrific flashbacks of the trial grew in strength. Farrant startled easily and began avoiding social interactions, eventually isolating himself entirely. He soon fell into suicide ideation; life had become too painful. He believed his new son would be better off with no father than a tormented one.
The Mountie, who was never charged, has not worked since the mid-2000s. He's not the only RCMP officer who has been on paid sick leave for years.