by Robert Cubby
Many of us have been touched by the changes trauma has brought to our lives. These changes have been grouped into a category of PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Let’s break that down a little. Post means after. After what? Trauma – hence, it is past the trauma; after the trauma took place. Stress, what the body goes through to cope with an insult to it. Disorder, the interesting part. It connotes that at sometime we had order and now we don’t.
We know from our experiences that things now are all out of order. We learn to deal with them, to try to bring order to the disorder. During our therapy, we hope to eventually gain the ability to cope with our disorder. Sometimes, by doing so, we come to the conclusion that we’ve changed somehow and that we need to deal with that change. We accept that change and embrace that change. But what about the others in our lives? We get to the point that we get it, we understand what’s going on with us, but others don’t. We know that they try hard to deal with us during our struggles, but what happens when we accept who we’ve become and deal with it, but they don’t recognize us or cannot deal with the “new” us?
Imagine what it must be like for them to have to cope with living with a stranger. We are not who we used to be anymore. Yes, maybe the light and life came back into our eyes, but somehow we’ve changed, to us as well as to them. Some are just grateful we’re back. Some cannot accept the changes that took place.
At work, we don’t laugh at the same jokes anymore. The mishap of others somehow lost whatever comedy it had before. Maybe we’ve become kinder and more understanding, empathetic to others who are suffering. Our friends cannot cope with the new you. You overhear such things as, he’s lost his fast ball or he’s gone soft or I can’t count on him anymore because he’s changed so much. We find we’ve lost friends or some have distanced themselves from us. They are polite, but cold and distant. You call them and they don’t return phone calls. They politely say we should get together for lunch sometime, but never make the date. You call and leave a voice mail and they never respond. You text them and they never return the text. You sit there wondering what you did to offend them or cause this reaction.
We know we’ve changed and we are happy about that. To expect everyone to be as happy as we are is unfair to them. If they accept you no matter what, then be grateful. If they move away or move on, don’t regret the loss because we will win over others as they see and understand what we already know.
Time may or may not heal, but it gives others the opportunity of experience and understanding. Inevitably, someone close to them or they themselves will be touched by trauma. They will get a taste, a brief brushing of what hit us head on. They will get close enough for you to say, “Welcome to my world. What you saw for a moment, I live everyday.” Maybe through that moment, thinking and attitudes will get an opportunity to change. Maybe through education and training. We can only hope and pray.
About the Author: Robert Cubby was born January 4, 1950. He attended Montclair State College (University) earning a BA degree in psychology. Shortly after graduation, Robert was sworn in as a police officer for the Jersey City Police Department. After attending the Police Academy, he was assigned to the patrol division. After seven years of working in two patrol districts, he was transferred to the Emergency Services Bureau where he was an instructor for the Police Academy. After 8 1/2 years, Robert was promoted to sergeant and assigned to the Property Unit. This was followed by assignments back in patrol as a sergeant, lieutenant, and captain. As a lieutenant, Robert was deployed to assist in the efforts during the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City. As a captain, he was assigned out of title 50% of the time as an acting inspector/city commander. Captain Cubby retired from the Jersey City police Department in 2011 after 38 years, 4 months of service. As the result of his service to the department, he was diagnosed with PTSD and continues to struggle with it on a recurring basis. Robert also appeared in the film, Code9 Officer Needs Assistance.
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