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the artful dodger

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“Some people are ruminators and some people aren’t, and the ones who are can turn one bad incident into a lifetime of trauma. ‘You can’t let yourself think how close this shit is,’ O’Byrne explained to me later. ‘Inches. Everything is that close. There’s just places I don’t allow my mind to go. Steiner was saying to me, ‘What if the bullet—’ and I just stopped him right there. I didn’t even let him finish. I said, ‘But it didn’t. It didn’t.’

from War, by Sebastian Junger

 

 

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The guy who is an “anxious ruminator” is named Steiner. He is a soldier fighting in Afghanistan. The enemy shoots at him– and the bullet bounces off his helmet instead of entering his brain and ending his life. That’s what he is “ruminating” about.

According to a YouTube psychiatrist, one cure to rumination is to use our senses to ground the mind in the present. What can I hear, see, smell? For example, I hear the TV in the other room, I hear a car going by, I hear the air blowing through the air conditioning vents, my foot is a little sore from basketball, I like this red pen, I like colored pens in general, I especially like those pens where you can click the top around and write with different colors, the ink chambers are designed like bullet chambers, clicking that pen is like playing russian roulette . . . remember when Christopher Walken’s character shoots himself playing russian roulette in The Deer Hunter? After all those times he has played, and he has never shot himself, his friend shows up, and his mojo deserts him. Do friends bring good luck or bad luck? Define friend. Who are my real friends? If I died who would be at the funeral?

Oh, it doesn’t work after all. Try tapping on your forehead.

Probably there is no complete cure for anxious rumination.
Some people do it, some people don’t. I bet you wish . . .

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