German Soldiers Burning Out Like Flies

And here you thought American soldiers had it bad. Put yourselves in a German soldier’s boots for once already.

It seems that the many Bundeswehr reforms taking place these days (they’re basically cutting the German army down to the size of a large police force which will never be used either) strain German soldiers way too awful much. Particularly “overtime and anxiety about the future” afflict them grievously, I read.

“It is an unprecedented test of severity” for these soldiers and their families, causing frustration, turmoil and exhaustion and… Burn-out! You know, another one of those imaginary disease imports custom-made for German society, or the lack thereof (Burn-out is very fashionable here these days. Just the other day a Bundesliga soccer coach threw in his towel quite publicly. A freakin’ soccer coach?).

And the punch line of this article (which I originally assumed to be of a satirical nature)? Not a word was mentioned about Afghanistan or any possible stress that a German soldier might be experiencing there. I guess that means that it’s less stressful to be a German soldier in Afghanistan than it is to be one back home in Germany.

Although it must be kind of stressful, or at least confusing, being a combat soldier in an army that never takes part in any combat operations even when it is in a war that isn’t really a war because this is Germany and being in wars, although having an army, is no longer provided for. Damn. Just thinking about that has me burning out already.

“Es darf keine Reformverlierer geben.”

Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life

First the good news: Germans are no more depressive than they used to be.

The bad news is that they are now no longer expected to keep their depressions to themselves and are being asked to come out of their closets to tell everybody about it.

The numbers are shocking or something. Fear industry experts at the Foundation for German Depression Assistance say that there are four million depressed people in Germany, two-thirds of them being women. Just like the rest of us, their lives are filled with angst, emptiness and desperation. But unlike others, these folks are much easier to manipulate (by organizations like the Foundation of German Depression Assistance, for instance) and can and will be made to come public with their ailments, real or imaginary, thus “breaking a taboo” and further increasing their number and the throng of psychotherapeutically challenged pilgrims to organizations like, well, take a guess.

The development is in fact so dramatic that comedian Harald Schmidt has been asked to get involved as a sponsor. And anybody who wasn’t depressed before attending a conference moderated by this guy will be by the time he leaves.

Gee. All of this gives German depression assistance a whole new meaning or something.

Vier Millionen Depressive in Deutschland – das kann nicht nur am Fernsehprogramm liegen.

Number one again!

Germany may not be the export champion of the world anymore, but Germans are definitely world champions when it comes to doctor visits per year.

The average German, whoever he is, goes to see his doctor an amazing 18 times per year. A third of those who come in are chronically ill too, or at least think that they are. And the only other nation on earth that comes even close to German sickliness is Japan with thirteen visits a year. No, not for the whole nation, I meant for the average Japanese sick dude.

Makes you wonder. About hypochondria, for instance. And health care systems that somehow encourage this type of thing, for another, Praxisgebühr or not. This German “practice fee” (10 Euros per quarter the visitor has to pay when he/she goes to the doctor’s office) was introduced a few years back in the hope of slowing this madness down, but it obviously hasn’t helped. Being sick is still dirt cheap here, I guess.

Help me man, the German health care system said, I’m sick.

In keinem Land der Welt gehen die Menschen so oft zum Arzt wie in Deutschland.