Mental Illness In Tim O Brien's The Things They Carried

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During the Vietnam War the soldiers, whether or not they wanted to be there, many of them developed mental illnesses. The things they would experience would cause burdens on them for the rest of their lives. “Ted Lavender, who was scared, carried tranquilizers until he was shot in the head outside the village of Than Khe in mid-April.” (The Things They Carried) Lavender carried tranquilizers until he died, because he was scared. This is one the effects war had on people. Due to cultural aspects these soldiers were burdened by drugs, the environment and social pressure to perform well, ultimately effecting their state of mind. In Vietnam, many of the soldiers developed a dependence on mind-alerting substances. The main two drugs being marijuana…show more content…
Even when Americans were victorious they had to be careful. In the victory people are tempted to rip down flags and steal the remaining useful supplies, but the Vietnamese wouldn’t let them get valuables that easily. They added explosives to flag poles, and supplies, even ballpoint pens could be rigged. The soldiers always had to be focused and ready for any kind of situations. These traps could be anywhere so the people first in line, or leading the group, always had to be extremely observant and gained a huge symptom of paranoia. PTSD is an illness that cannot be easily healed. The symptoms include: Nightmares, flashbacks, triggers, hard time sleeping, difficulty concentrating, you could also be easily startled. There are many situations that you would make you angry, or upset. If you were close to death in a Vietcong dug hole, you may hate being in small places, avoiding them at all costs becoming claustrophobic. This disorder often times does not end up being healed and is something you have to deal with for the rest of your…show more content…
Being in the war for America means that you have expectations, from your family, from American citizens but most of the pressures that are directly on you are going to be from your family. At the beginning of The Things They Carried Norman Bowker thought that to be successful in the war, you needed to earn medals. He goes on to say “If I could have one wish, anything, I 'd wish for my dad to write me a letter and say it’s okay if I don 't win any medals. That 's all my old man talks about, nothing else. How he can 't wait to see my goddamn medals." During this conversation he is getting frustrated that medals is all that is expected of him. Before this went on and on about how important it was to earn medals, but this statement he made shows he only thought it was important because he sought approval from his father. In the end Bowker committed suicide because he felt that he had no purpose, and his life was a waste. The medals didn’t matter to him after the war, they didn’t give him purpose and they didn’t save him. The pressure to perform well by others hurt him more than it helped him. The suicide rate of veterans is 50% higher than people who havent served in the military. People lose self-worth, sending them into depression, which causes suicide. This is another one of the mental illnesses that come with fighting in a

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