NEWTON--Vietnam Veteran John Drinkard and retired Police Captain Bob Cubby have a lot in common. Both men have battled Post-traumatic Stress as a result of their service. Both have recovered and now devote much of their time and energy to helping others deal with the effects of Post-traumatic Stress. Both have participated in the making of documentary films about how to recognize and overcome Post-traumatic Stress.
Beginning Tuesday, February 28, the two men will join forces to provide a free "PTS Connection" support group for veterans, police, and first responders dealing with Post-traumatic Stress. The group will meet the fourth Tuesday of every month, 7:00-8:30 p.m., at Bridgeway, 93 Stickles Pond Road, Newton, NJ.
"Both veterans and cops often have a hard time admitting they need help from anyone," says Bob Cubby, retired Jersey City Police Captain. "They entered their field of service on a mission to help others. They have been trained to take charge and remain strong, no matter what situation they find themselves facing. But some situations are more stressful than any human being is equipped to handle without suffering emotional wounds."
"During the Civil War, the condition we now recognize as being caused by Post-traumatic Stress was called 'Soldier's Heart.' Extreme stress, especially when repeated or prolonged, causes a wound to the soul, or 'heart,'" explains John Drinkard, who served in the Marine Corps during the Viet Nam War. "This is a normal, human reaction, which is why we prefer to avoid calling it a 'disorder.' But when you try to bury and deny your normal, human feelings, they tend to eat away at you and can become very damaging to your quality of life. The first step toward healing is to permit yourself to talk about memories you have been pushing down. When others who have lived through similar nightmares respond with understanding and empathy, you can begin to free yourself from the grip those memories have had on you."
"That's the magic of a peer support group," adds Bob Cubby. "In a group surrounded by others who've had similar experiences, it feels safe to talk. Total confidentiality and a judgment free environment will be expected."
The "PTS Connection" group welcomes any veteran, law enforcement officer, fire, EMT or other first responder who has experienced symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress as a result of their service. There is no need to register in advance, but anyone seeking more information can call John Drinkard at 973-865-0605 or Bob Cubby at 973-729-6534.
This Post-traumatic Stress recovery support group is sponsored by NAMI Sussex, an affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. For information about NAMI Sussex, visit www.nami-sussex-nj.org.