If your spouse has ever been deployed, then you know how the departure of a soldier can make us feel emotionally defeated or provide a complete loss of stability. While many experts and doctors focus on the feelings of anger, frustration, sadness and loneliness that come in the beginning and end of a deployment, many overlook the midpoint deployment blues.
This can be a very significant time in the life of a military spouse. After months of separation, you may start to feel numb, and not just in a literal sense. Around the midpoint of my husband’s first deployment, I lacked the ability to show emotion around anyone that didn’t truly understand how I felt.
However, my apathy was immediately shot down after a now good friend asked the common question, “How are you doing?” After I gave the standard “just fine”, she said, “You don’t have to BS me, now how are you really doing?”
What I didn’t know at the time was that she herself was a mil spouse to a former ten-year US Army Veteran and had seen much more than I had at that point. What I soon learned was that my efforts to remove the midpoint blues on my own were hopeless and that self-righteous attitude I had wasn’t helping anything either.
With this new insight, I found myself grappling to military spouse clubs and organizations. These organizations were the best thing that happened to me during my husband’s deployment. Everyone was so helpful and provided me with the “glass half-full” outlook.
After a few weeks of regular meetings and lunches, I had a new point of view. I realized at the halfway point that I should be celebrating how far I had come. I saw a new hope and realized I should be thinking about what shoes I should wear with my homecoming outfit instead of having a humdrum woe is me attitude.
Here are the best takeaways I have learned from the military spouse clubs I have joined:
Don’t Hide Your Feelings
It’s perfectly normal to have feelings of anger, frustration, sadness and loneliness, so do not let these feelings get the best of you. You don’t have to hide these feelings, bottling up these feelings will just lead to a breakdown.
Talk about your feelings with people who you trust. This can be family members, friends, counselors or spouse support clubs.
Look Forward not Back
Always be looking forward. Take a class, hit the gym, set realistic goals and even think of how you plan on greeting your spouse and telling them of all your accomplishments. As soon as you realize that things are different now and you quit focusing on the past, the quicker you will feel at one with your new surroundings.
Reach Out to Others
Remember, you aren’t the only spouse dealing with a husband or wife’s deployment; however, everyone has different experiences during their spouses deployment. So, reaching out to others in a similar situation not only will provide you with comfort, but will can help you overcome future difficulties through their experiences and tips.
You Can’t Control Everything
The number one thing I have learned is that you can’t concentrate on the things you have no control over. It’s normal to worry about the safety of your deployed spouse, but you can’t control it, so don’t focus on it. There will be times when you want to hear from your spouse and you won’t be able to contact them for a number of days, but don’t focus on this.
Focus on what you can control, whether that is work, time with family, classes or volunteer work, put your effort into this. In addition to that, if you want to talk to your spouse and can’t, then write! If you need to talk and no one is around, write down your feelings.
Deployment is a difficult time, but with the right mindset, you can make it through. Have faith in yourself as well as others in the same situation, and never give up!
Adrienne May is a military spouse and mother of three. Adrienne is also the featured author for Military Spouse Central and Military Family Central, two blogs proudly sponsored by Veterans United Home Loans. Connect with Adrienne personally on Google+ or Twitter!