Well-Being//

My Husband Could Be Deployed Any Day. Here’s How I Cope With the Anxiety of Waiting.

Mental Health in the Military

Denisfilm/ Getty Images
Denisfilm/ Getty Images

My husband has been coming home very late every night; on the first night of this week it was almost midnight. He was at his office getting the roster ready for who’s going on their upcoming deployment.

It’s official; they are deploying in a few months. Of course nothing is set in stone until they actually leave, but the chance of it not happening is extremely unlikely.

They are getting ready to go to Iraq, which is stressful (but not anymore stressful than Afghanistan, Syria or Africa…). I am hoping that he’ll be here for Christmas and New Year’s at least. It seems he will miss our son turning 1 and other big milestones during his infant months.

Deployments are so much harder when you have a family back home that’s dependent on you. It’s especially hard on the kids; I know Ava will be very upset and we worry that the baby will forget about him when he’s gone — but when he was gone for a month the baby didn’t forget him, so I think it’ll be okay, but I don’t know.

I’m especially worried because my husband is in the infantry, which is the highest mortality occupation within the military…. Even if there are no direct fires, there’s still the worry of IEDs during patrols and other landmines, whereas other MOS’ are usually garrisoned (even on deployments) in big military posts with full-sized PX and chow halls, gyms and other amenities that you would find on a military base in the US.

I feel very overwhelmed.

Ever since the announcement, he’s been working late every night. In early August the whole battalion had an information meeting about the very likely possibility of deployment for the soldiers. It was an informative 30-minute meeting for the battalion commander to tell families what to expect for the upcoming deployment, and what we should do as far as readiness in regards to legal situations while our spouses are deployed.

My husband is traveling to D.C. tonight with his team for the Army 10-Miler race. I miss him so much.

I feel kind of “trapped” at home with the baby. There’s not much to do or places to go with an infant, and I don’t trust others to watch him. I feel this deployment will really take its toll on me.

I’ve always dealt with anxiety and sometimes occasional bouts of depression during certain triggers or stressful situations — but I’ve always been able to adequately identify and treat these issues, a lot which is based on just how strong a person’s self awareness and preservation is.

Even a lot of what counselors and therapists recommend as “treatments” (aside from actual medication) are things I’ve always done anyway since I was a young girl, such as hobbies to distract from the stressors, socializing to have a support network and not to isolate myself, “talk therapy” with others to have a release outlet and get positive feedback and perspectives from situations that might seem hopeless or otherwise negative, journaling to write down thoughts and emotions, counting blessings and things to be grateful for, etc.

These are things that I have always done anyway, even as a kid, especially journaling and hobbies — but I am also aware that sometimes even the most resilient person can have a breaking point, and I think I am conscious enough to know if I need more. My husband thinks I might have a slight postpartum depression; I don’t think so, but we still talk about it with each other, though.

I’m stressed and it’s definitely a trigger for my anxiety, but my anxiety usually does not lead to depression, and I’ve always had good coping skills. I’m able to function and do not have abnormal thoughts about myself or the situation at hand. I do not cry for no apparent reason or wish to harm myself or others — but mental health is a huge problem in the military community.

Sometimes people need help. It’s okay to ask for help. I’m a person that does not trust “shrinks”; my only exceptions are psychiatrists when there’s a neurological imbalance that requires medication like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, postpartum psychosis, etc. Maybe it’s just because I am naturally an untrusting person and am cynical of others — that’s just my personality, though — but others might find that talking with a professional stranger is beneficial for them.

A lot of times it removes the embarrassment of admitting things that you would otherwise hold back from friends or family, and is definitely better than Googling some half-baked “home remedies” like drinking ginseng to stop feeling sad or having suicidal thoughts.

Whatever you do — talk with someone. Even when I don’t go into details when talking with my husband, I always reach out to a friend that is always supportive no matter what the situation is.

Take care of yourself, and each other.

Originally published at nycgalout.wordpress.com

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