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The Things They Carried


The classic, ground-breaking meditation on war and the redemptive power of ...
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What tricks do the soldiers use to keep themselves sane? Do you employ any of these – or any other – methods when you're in an unusually stressful situation?

Created: 03/04/20

Replies: 9

Posted Mar. 04, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 3058

What tricks do the soldiers use to keep themselves sane? Do you employ any of these – or any other – methods when you're in an unusually stressful situation?

What tricks do the soldiers use to keep themselves sane? Do you employ any of these – or any other – methods when you're in an unusually stressful situation?


Posted Mar. 08, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 668

RE: What tricks do the soldiers use to keep themselves sane? Do you employ any of these – or any other – methods when you're in an unusually stressful situation?

They certainly used "gallows humor" a lot. When I was employed (retired now) my co-workers and I often made the same kind of bad jokes. Obviously the scales are vastly different, but when one is faced with an intolerable situation which has no set end, humor is one coping mechanism.


Posted Mar. 09, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
brendad

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 5

RE: What tricks do the soldiers use to keep themselves sane? Do you employ any of these – or any other – methods when you're in an unusually stressful situation?

One of the tricks would be what might be called "gallows" humor. It is often used by those who are in extremely stressful positions like doctors. It may be a way of dehumanizing the horrors that they see by resorting to humor.


Posted Mar. 11, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorinned

Join Date: 10/13/14

Posts: 176

RE: What tricks do the soldiers use to keep themselves sane? Do you employ any of these – or any other – methods when you're in an unusually stressful situation?

Talking and acting out with the dead bodies they had killed or found along the trails - perhaps this is the "gallows" humor mentioned by the other two participants in this discussion? Dreaming of home, girlfriends, mom and dad was another way to take the mind off the horrors they were witnessing. Making up stories about the person (enemy) they killed: the happening-truth was they were afraid to look at the faces of the dead person; the story-truth was they described the dead person as they imagined he was in life and in death and in the end the conclusion was "I killed him." I think it's fairly commonplace to use humor to try to relieve a stressful situation, though the degree of stress in ordinary life is certainly different than that described in this book.


Posted Mar. 12, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
djcminor

Join Date: 03/14/19

Posts: 184

RE: What tricks do the soldiers use to keep themselves sane? Do you employ any of these – or any other – methods when you're in an unusually stressful situation?

The soldiers do use sick humor; they are in an untenable position and are in constant danger, so we cannot expect them to react as they would if they were in other stressful situations like a car accident or a fight with a spouse. The soldiers have to find a way to relieve the stress at least for a moment in time.


Posted Mar. 13, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gigik

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 15

RE: What tricks do the soldiers use to keep themselves sane? Do you employ any of these – or any other – methods when you're in an unusually stressful situation?

In all situations I use humor, sarcasm and sweets to keep myself sane. Sometimes I wonder how I still have friends. I have never served in the armed services or the pastor of a church.


Posted Mar. 13, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gigik

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 15

RE: What tricks do the soldiers use to keep themselves sane? Do you employ any of these – or any other – methods when you're in an unusually stressful situation?

In all situations I use humor, sarcasm and sweets to keep myself sane. Sometimes I wonder how I still have friends. I have never served in the armed services or the pastor of a church.


Posted Mar. 14, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ritah

Join Date: 05/26/11

Posts: 66

RE: What tricks do the soldiers use to keep themselves sane? Do you employ any of these – or any other – methods when you're in an unusually stressful situation?

As I answer this, we are facing coronavirus as a nation. These soldiers used the same tricks that many are using right now: humor, friendship, communication. Additionally, they carried something that reminded them of who they were because they knew they were killing but were not killers. So, they carried letters, pictures, bibles, talismans.....whatever kept them connected to home.


Posted Mar. 15, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
BuffaloGirl

Join Date: 01/13/18

Posts: 150

RE: What tricks do the soldiers use to keep themselves sane? Do you employ any of these – or any other – methods when you're in an unusually stressful situation?

The two methods that I recall being used most frequently were gallows humor and practical jokes. Some of those described were pretty hard for me to take and illustrated how some of the soldiers had lost their humanity. Yet other soldiers did not engage in these behaviors and managed to cope. I believe that had a lot to do with the soldier's core values. I honestly can say I engage in neither of the above to keep myself going when things seem tough. I was raised to put o ne foot in front of the other and just keep going. Although I wasn't raised in a faith based household as Kiowa was, I also find solace in God.


Posted Apr. 15, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Liz K

Join Date: 08/09/19

Posts: 4

RE: What tricks do the soldiers use to keep themselves sane? Do you employ any of these – or any other – methods when you're in an unusually stressful situation?

In addition to gallows humor - daydreaming; imagining a better future; denial; fantasizing about love, even when there's evidence to the contrary. Our expectations color our lives and can bring our moods up or down. We can imagine the worst, and then the situation may turn out to be easier than we anticipated. Or we can imagine the best and be disappointed. I think we all do these things at various times and to various degrees. While our circumstances do affect us, how we view them - our filters - can make a big difference in how resilient we are.


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