8 Simple (But Important) Things To Remember About Deployment Emotions.
In the wake of all of the rising tensions oversees, thousands of U.S. troops were deployed to the Middle East recently. Not only does this affect the service member but the military family members as well. Military families are finding themselves in a whirlwind of mixed emotions that begin when you first learn about the deployment and continue until well after your spouse has returned home. You may experience worry, anger, loneliness, happiness, relief, and anticipation. Here are some simple (But Important) things to remember when coping with the emotions related to your spouse’s deployment.
You must keep the lines of communication open.
I remember when my husband was deployed, and we got into a small argument. Because we were thousands of miles away from each other, it was easier for me to avoid him and the issues. However, it killed me inside because I didn’t speak to him, and worse, I didn’t know what was going on with him or how he was. Remember, talk about your feelings and discuss the issues instead of avoiding them.
You are not alone - Get to know other military spouses who are going through similar experiences.
We are in a day and an age where social media is everything. Facebook has tons of groups where you can get to know more people that have the same interests as you or are going through similar situations as you. Another great way to make new friends is to get involved with family readiness activities and other unit or installation events.
Find things to keep you busy.
Keeping busy during deployment is an absolute must; otherwise, you’re going to go crazy, just thinking. Take a class, volunteer, or begin a project you’ve always wanted to do. When my husband was on deployment, I decided to lose weight. Not only was it beneficial to my mental health, but I also lost weight in the interim.
Don't try to hide your feelings.
Emotion suppression has been linked to higher rates of anxiety, insomnia, and other unhealthy outcomes. It’s normal to feel unhappy, lonely, or mad when you’ve been separated from your spouse. If you don’t have someone to talk to, even writing them down can do what talking would do.
Learning some stress management techniques is a must.
Try out some different ways to alleviate stress, such as taking an exercise class, keeping a journal of your thoughts and feelings, meditation, or deep breathing.
Don't forget about yourself.
I know it’s easier said than done, but try and get enough sleep. It also helps to exercise frequently, eat healthy meals, and be sure to vocalize your emotions. Also, be sure to take some time out to spend alone or with friends if you have children. It’s okay to take breaks for your own sanity.
Most likely, when your spouse returns from deployment, things will not be the same. Be patient, maintain a positive attitude, and don’t try to jump into your old routines right away. Don’t forget that your spouse has been gone for some time, and they need time to adjust. You probably just spent 7 to 10 months separated, so it may be some time before you and your spouse feel comfortable and relaxed together.
Asking for help
Talking with a counselor can help you manage emotions and challenges that come up throughout the deployment cycle. There are many resources for spouses and their families that can help. There are many counseling options for service members and their families, including therapy services that may be available through Tricare or Military Source One.