Coping with War
Coping With War
???On occasion the war was like a ping pong ball. You could put a fancy spin on it, you could make it dance??? (O??™Brien).
War could sometimes be a game such as ping pong, but ultimately has ever lasting effects. War is not the only thing soldiers have to deal with. Soldiers also have to deal with coping with what they have seen, done, heard, or been through. ???In a way, I guess, she is right: I should forget. But the thing about remembering is that you don??™t forget??? (O??™Brien). This quote is an example of the difficulties of coping with war and putting it behind you. There are several different ways soldiers deal with this. They use several different methods, whether it is a temporary fix, or a way for them to put events in the back of their minds to try and never remember these events more than they have to. “Its important to have memories of bad things to protect us from future occurrences but sometimes it almost gets overly active so that you end up with post-traumatic stress disorder or shell shock,” Maren says. “If you elaborate these fear memories and it works too well, you can hear a car backfire and have a flashback” (redorbit.com).Most of the time all coping mechanisms are temporary and the horror of the event comes back to the soldier to haunt him once more. They then have to put the memory away once again until the next time it comes back.
According to dictionary.com the definition of coping mechanism is an adaptation to environmental stress that is based on conscious or unconscious choice and that enhances control over behavior or gives psychological comfort (dictionary.com). This means that soldiers do whatever they can to block all unpleasant things about the war that really bother them. This can range from a number of different things. If a soldier cannot cope with the killing, losing friends, and other things, they would go A-wall, or crazy. There are so many ways that soldiers learn to cope with different situations, but the some of the most common are drug use, violence, and carrying things with them to help them remember a better time or a peaceful place. Some even get Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. According to nimh.nih.gov PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. This can be treated over time.
One of the ways soldiers cope with war is violence. Rat Kiley resorted to violence after seeing his Curt Lemon stepped on a booby trapped 105 round. ???We came across a baby VC water buffalo. He stepped back and shot it through the right front knee. The animal did not make a sound. It went down hard, then got up again, and Rat took careful aim and shot off an ear. He shot it in the hindquarters and in the little hump at its back. He shot it twice in the flanks. It wasn??™t to kill; it was to hurt. He put the rifle muzzle up against the mouth and shot the mouth away??? (O??™Brien). The act of violence by Rat was to hurt something to take away the hurt from losing his friend Curt. ???Nobody said much. The whole platoon stood there watching, feeling all kinds of things, but there wasn??™t a great deal of pity for the baby water buffalo. Curt Lemon was dead. Rat Kiley had lost his best friend in the world??? (O??™Brien). According to changing minds.org this was a projection coping mechanism. Rat projected his unwanted feelings on the buffalo to relieve himself temporarily of the loss of Curt. Soldiers resort to violence to make something or someone else feel what they are feeling inside. Kind of like an act of vengeance. Violence helps soldiers, like Rat Kiley, escape the feelings of loss or hurt inside of them.
???Ted Lavender carried 6 or 7 ounces of premium dope, which for him was a necessity??? (O??™Brien). Soldiers such as Ted Lavender carried and abused drugs to get their mind of the war just for that temporary time that the drugs were in affect. When the drugs wore off the reality of war would come back, so Ted would abuse drugs to stay away from reality of war. Starting the drug just to experience it one time would develop into an addiction, because of the way the drug would make the soldier feel. Drugs would make the soldiers feel invincible or just take their minds on a journey of a world away from the war. According to wwmt.com, ???drug abuse is a common coping mechanism for war??? (wwmt.com). This article proves that soldiers use drugs to cope with the events they experience throughout the war. Drug abuse can also lead to death of the soldier using or others around him in his platoon. ???Ted Lavender popped a tranquilizer and went off to pee. Right then Ted was shot in the head on his way back from peeing??? (O??™Brien). Soldiers under the influence of drugs, no matter what the drug, lose focus on what they are doing and often do things that lead to their death. ???They told stories about Ted Lavender??™s supply of tranquilizers, how the poor guy didn??™t feel a thing, how incredibly tranquil he was??? (O??™Brien). When soldiers use drugs to get away from the war they put many people??™s lives at stake.