(Differenceswhen you came back from home and when you were in deployed)
Armyveterans face numerous challenges when they come back from combat.Apart from psychological disorders, they find it hard acclimatizingto the new or rather old environments. They are likely to sufferpsychotic, mood, and anxiety disorders that impact negatively intheir daily lives. According to terror novels, veteran soldiers arethe most common patients of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTDs).
Itis a mental status that is typically prompted by a distressing eventeither witnessed or experienced. Most of them suffer due to theexperience [ CITATION USD161 l 1033 ].Thethemes of fear and guilt, faith and brutality, survival andhelplessness are interwoven within the short stories to illustratethe effects of war on the soldiers. Thispaper will discuss the challenges veteran soldiers face when theycome back home. Some of the most common queries emanating from thereturnees include what are the challenges they face? How is familylife after deployment? What is their mental state?
Theredeployment novel is a set of short stories comprising ofexperiences of Army veterans who served in the Iraq war. Published in2014, the book received numerous accolades for the detailedinformation. According to critics, the book is currently the bestthat has been done to illustrate war. The book captures all theaspects the Iraq war evoked including predicaments, heartbreak, andemotions. It possesses biting, whipsawing, sad and hilarious momentsto illustrate precisely how the war affected people. Phil Klay is aveteran soldier and is, therefore, well acclimatized to theatmosphere of war. A civilian reader can have a feel of whattranspired at war and how the involved persons are coping.
InFrago, the readers are taken to the frontline of the wars in Iraq. Itenables the reader to comprehend what occurred in the region, whatthe soldiers faced, and who returned. In redeployment, soldiers whohad to kill or rather shoot a dog for feasting on human corpse haveto acclimatize to new situations when they return home [CITATION Phi14 p 35 l 1033 ].The perception towards dogs changes considerably while at home and indeployment.
Thesoldiers perform their undertakings with a sense of humor. Forinstance, Lance Corporal McKeown suggests that Al-Qaeda produces theworst pornos after viewing the camera where some guys were beingtortured. Comic at war is one way of hiding the fear. Though thesoldiers move from one room to another in search of the enemies, theyhide their fear through hilarious comments as well as funnynicknames. Relating the same to happenings at home may be entirelydifferent.
Mostof the veterans are too entrenched in their past deeds to feel happy.A soldier’s life at war deteriorates family life if the correctmeasures are not taken to deal with the same. Sweet’s injury bringsabout the human nature of the soldiers. Though they had successfullycaptured the area, they were all affected by the damage. Dyer couldbe seen gazing and probably praying to God for assistance. These arecommon occurrences in combat. Such views stick in the minds andresult in psychological disorders while at home [CITATION Phi14 p 53 l 1033 ].
Survivaland helplessness is a key aspect of a soldier’s life at war. Forexample, a good day in deployment is exemplified when no soldierdies. Though Sweet gets injured, the day is still regarded as a goodone since no one died. The soldiers have to comprehend a good and badday differently while in combat and at home. It is even harder whenthey get back home. As the narrator puts it, on seeing her wife, shedoes not know what to do.
Hejust figures out kissing is the most appropriate thing. War typicallyalters a person’s emotional aspects. Expressing love and holding ona conversation becomes harder. Having the wife back feels like afirst date. Her body, behavior and all she does seem new. Thesoldiers become strangers in their homes. Once in combat switchingfocus back to family matters is quite complex. The soldiers are morelikely to go back to war than stay at home. Home is too boring forthem to stay. How they handle things replicates war. For instance, asthe narrator goes over to kill his dog, he shoots like an enemy atwar [CITATION Phi14 p 45 l 1033 ].
Anothertypical behavior while on deployment soldiers treat each otherharshly than normal. They do not treat one another gently or kindly.Either using harsh words or unkind gestures, but most of them do notcare. They are used to such treatment and behavior. However, whenthey come home, these aspects remain.
Leavingin constant fear among other stresses, they become harsh to theirfamilies. As illustrated in the Frago, the narrator yells at his wifeunwillingly. Most of them feel unwanted after the war. This isbecause the family grows independently, doing things by themselvesand a returning soldier does not acclimatize to the changes. Suchfeeling generates anger which can be detrimental to the relatives [CITATION Phi14 p 65 l 1033 ].
Thesoldiers find it hard to settle at home. In one of the stories i.e.“Unless It`s a Sucking Chest Wound,” the relator, a Marine whohas just returned home from Iraq and is out of service decides tojoin the New York Law School. The narrator’s aim is to join a lesspaying career with limited public interest. Though his friends try todiscourage him, the narrator is not willing to alter the decision.
Fearis another common concept among combatants. Though the soldiers areback home, all they can think about is war. The soldiers live in acondition regarded as Orange. In this state, soldiers know that atany moment one of them could be killed either by a sniper, I.E.D., orroadside bombs. It keeps them on constant guard for any attack, boobytrap, or ambush. Some soldiers live in this state when they come backfrom combat. The fear that an attack may happen anytime does notleave them. It is even harder when they realize they have no weapons.They do not see or hear like before. Their brain chemistry isaltered. Walking in the streets probably to shop among otheractivities becomes difficult [CITATION Phi14 p 75 l 1033 ].
Returneesface both emotional and physical challenges. Psychological aspectsinclude worry, emotional numbness, intense guilt, and depression.Anhedonia, which is typified by loss of interest in activities thatused to be enjoyable, is another common ailment. Physical challengesinclude high amounts of respiratory, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal,and neurological disorders. States of tension, worry, difficultysleeping, depression and guilt are some of the physical ailments.
Thereturnees are also characterized by nightmares, repetitivedistressing images, flashbacks, physical sensations like trembling,nausea, sweating, and pain. Apart from that, they have consistentnegative thoughts on their experience. They always ask themselvesqueries that prevent accepting the situations. All these aspects makeit hard for them to relate well with their families. Depending on theextent of stress, most of the veterans do not survive with theirfamilies [CITATION USD161 p 1 l 1033 ].
TheMarines find it hard to live with the loss of a comrade at war. Theycan blame themselves even after going back home. For instance, in“After Action Report,” one soldier takes claim for hiscompatriot’s execution, and then attempts to find a way of livingwith it. In “Ten Kliks South,” a weaponry man contemplates hisresponsibility for the demises of noncombatants destroyed by roundsthat he assisted in launching. However, in “Prayer in the Furnace,”an irritated soldier does not care about the demises of Iraqis hehates them with passion. Instead, his query is whether his actionshas gotten any of his colleagues killed.
Thisidea is also augmented by the protagonist in “Unless It’s aSucking Chest Wound.” He states that he had never related withanyone among the five killed soldiers on a personal level. Therefore,their deaths induced a patriotic feeling rather than self-doubt andself-loathing affecting some of the Marines. Soldiers have to controltheir emotions as much as possible.
Someopt to keep a small circle of friends. Therefore, when a fellowsoldier is killed and is not among his buddies, they only have afeeling of patriotic pride. It is a mechanism used to reducedistressing moments. Such behaviors are also practiced at home aftercombat. The returnees do not relate to most of the people. They seemdisjointed with their only remedy being joining colleagues atdrinking joints [CITATION Phi14 p 57 l 1033 ].
Inbattle, militaries have to blackout feelings that do not openly servetheir survival. In that regard, features of grief, gentle humor, andsweetness are blacked out. They do not have time to grief even if oneof them is killed. This is extremely disturbing to families when thecombatants come back home and portray ice-cold behaviors. They appearto be made entirely of ice. However, it is not their wish to beice-cold. Instead, their adaptation to block emotions that do notnecessarily serve survival are persistent in them. They can go tofunerals and feel nothing completely. They do not shed a tear orappear disgruntled by the occurrences [CITATION Phi14 p 26 l 1033 ].
Anothercommon behavior of returnees is alcohol abuse. It is a prevalentthing among Army veterans. Alcohol abuse begins with a desperate needto get sleep. Since most of them live in fear, sleep is a preciouscommodity they lack. Most of them resort to alcohol use to stimulatesleep. However, it does not help since most of them bounce awakefrequently. It also instigates some irritating behavior affecting thefamilies in the process. Alcohol addiction is quite predominant amongthe combatants to the disadvantage of the relatives [CITATION Phi14 p 68 l 1033 ].
Socialisolation makes life at home and deployment entirely different. Thereturning soldiers tend to be socially isolated. If they lose theability to control anger, the family tends to suffer. In manyinstances, they do not intentionally cause hurt however, theirprevious undertakings make them irrational. Most of them have thepropensity to hide from the rest of the family. They opt to live inbasements to prevent themselves from harming the rest.
Thenarrator in FRAGO unintentionally causes harm to his wife. Heappeared socially distraught and distanced from the wife. Others mayseem to be emotionally numb. They have no idea how to relate topeople. The comprehension between war returnees and civilians becomesdifficult leaving most of them in isolation. Another example isRodriguez who is a Marine. He goes to the battalion’s chaplainworrying that the company, in obscurity and distress of fighting, haslost restriction of fighting, killing insurgents and civilians alike.He worries for a reason. Killing Iraqis was the only thing he couldthink about. Anything else apart from killing was numb. If he is notdestroying the Hajis, then everything else is wastage of time.
Familiesface a hard task of relating to people who can only think aboutkilling. Life at home becomes boring since they do not seem to do anyconstructive thing like protecting their country. As the narrator inFRAGO states, the civilians have no idea what soldiers go through toprotect them. Such notions create a gap between the combatants andthe civilians. Achieving a peaceful family becomes difficult in suchsituations. The combatants do not open up to their families [CITATION Phi14 p 86 l 1033 ].
Transitioningfrom high-stress war zones to a quiet atmosphere at home is one themost sensitive portions of military service. As entailed in the bookdeployment, soldiers face numerous stressful events that affect themtremendously. They lose close friends in dreadful attacks as othersget injured. At war, they are forced to block emotions that do notdirectly correlate with success in war. For instance, they desistfrom grief, gentle humor or sweetness.
Mostof their talk is unkind, and they are used to it. However, when theycome back home, transitioning to the new environment becomesdifficult. They, therefore, unintentionally talk rudely their spousesas well as other relatives. Most of them do not realize any fault atthat instance. Some family members may accuse them of being ice-cold.
Theveterans also find it uncomfortable sitting around without doinganything constructive. In other words, they are not on the frontlineprotecting their country. Most find it boring just to sit aroundwithout a weapon. They are also in the orange state whereby they feelendangered. In this condition, the chemistry of the mind is altered,and a soldier knows that in any time, one of them will be killed.Even when they go out for shopping, most of them are on the lookout.All these aspects create a division between the civilians and thereturning combatants. They do not seem to think civilians care aboutsoldiers at war. Such behaviors lead them to isolation.
Asearlier portrayed, the soldiers develop some features while at war.They use different mechanisms to hide their fear. In a good day forthem, no one is killed. The hiding of feelings for an extended periodresults in emotional numbness. Apart from the numbness affectingtheir families, it leads to psychological disorders. As evidenced bythe country’s statistics, most of the patients suffering fromPost-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTDs) are veteran soldiers. Theveterans are affected by their past experiences in war and thinktheir homes are far much changed to accommodate them.
Klay, Phil. Redeployment. Penguin Press, 2014. Print.
US Department of Veteran Affairs. PTSD: National Center for PTSD. 26 May 2016. <http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/treatment/therapy-med/treatment-ptsd.asp>.