When I faced deployment the first time I felt like a deer caught in the headlights. I was paralyzed. It was an internal paralysis. I think I looked put together on the outside, but I was falling apart daily on the inside.
I am a proud woman. I do not like to share my weaknesses and my pain with others. My stoicism is both a benefit and a liability to me. It’s a benefit because I am very careful with whom I share my vulnerability. It is a liability because sometimes I need to let my family and friends know that I am not faring well. They need to know I need encouragement and that I may not be able to reciprocate that support for a little while.
Here are a few things I wish I would have had the courage to say during my son’s first deployment. I hope this helps another parent or spouse articulate their deep feelings so others can understand what they are going through. Change the words to match your own situation, and let others in your life know what you are going through and what you need. You might just be surprised at the amount of support you do have.
They say “you are what you eat,” and there is some truth to that. We are also what we project in the lines of our attitude. Your attitude affects your actions, as well as your mental and physical health. It can feel like an uphill battle sometimes when you are facing deployments, PCSing and other difficulties of military life, but there are strategies you can use to keep that chin lifted high and to keep that attitude working for you instead of against you.
Military life is rarely ever short on churn and change. Even if you don’t consider yourself a routine-oriented person, making adjustments to your lifestyle on a weekly basis can be stressful.
Change creates a sense of loss, and the idea of losing or ending a known comfort can lead to feelings of anxiety, discomfort and depression, according to Alive and Well News.
Often, the best thing is to focus on the positives and potential opportunities rather than mourn the losses.
Here are some ways to do just that: See More
Deployment can trigger an emotional tide that impacts the entire family.
It can be especially difficult for children, who are suddenly faced with the departure of a mother or father. Young children can struggle to understand the “where, how and why” of a parent’s absence.
Studies have shown that some children with a deployed parent suffer from high levels of stress, which can lead to violence, mental illness and resentment that can change the entire family dynamic.
While you can’t replace that loved one serving abroad, parents, other family members and friends can help children cope by keeping them connected. Here are some long-term projects and other activities that can help children stay engaged in family life during a difficult stretch: See More