“Here I go again on my own, going down the only road I’ve ever known.” Whitesnake might not be an appropriate anthem for every deployment situation, but for me and my hubby, this has become the anthem of our marriage! Hi, y’all! I’m Elizabeth, from The Young Retiree!
My husband is in the Navy, and since our wedding almost three years ago we have completed two deployments and are nearing the end of our third! I’m certainly no pro when it comes to deployments, but I have one very important tip that has helped me through ours:
THIS DEPLOYMENT BELONGS TO YOU AND YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER.
Say it with me know, y’all: “This deployment is MINE!”
Not only does it belong to you, but each of our deployments have been very different! Our first was a baby one, just a homeport change cruise from Norfolk, around South America on a “Goodwill Tour” to California. The only dramatic thing about it was the ship being a first responder to that earthquake in Haiti! Our second one was a 6.5 monther called a West-Pac in the Navy (basically from California to the Middle East and back). That one was intense for us: the first one for me away from family, my husband was in the medical dept of a ship where a very famous bad man was being buried at sea from! It was stressful to say the least. This one is an Individual Augmentee deployment where he is serving with the Army in Afghanistan for upwards of 9 months. Each of those experiences are mine. They belong to my husband and I.
The internet is a wonderful place full of great supportive wives who have gone through deployments before and can offer you advice, but you know yourself the best- trust yourself first! If you aren’t feeling sad when everyone around you thinks you should be, don’t let it bring you down! If you want to sit in your sweatpants for a week eating pizza rolls, while I wouldn’t suggest it, you most certainly have the right to! If you want to cry in the middle of the commissary for no reason other than you see someone walking by with your loved ones favorite food in their cart: go for it. If you want to feel jealous that folks who left after your husband are coming home before him- feel it. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for how you feel!
I have created those super motivating lists for our deployments full of goals I wanted to achieve during our separation. I thought this was something I was supposed to do since so many other spouses did. Every single time I get super panicked during the last month of deployment because I only got one thing on my uber long list done. I’ve set weight goals and made working out a big part of my routine! While I haven’t lost a single pound, I’ve dropped a few dress sizes during deployment! Maybe working out will work for you to help get some great endorphins and feel great about yourself instead of moping around. If it’s not your thing, and you won’t stick with it, don’t beat yourself up over it.
Until you can run around town blasting Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back In Town”, know that one day you will! Know that deployments are only momentary and while they will feel like an eternity, in hindsight they will have flown by! Don’t let people talk down to you about how you feel during deployments and know you are the judge and jury with your emotions! Let the rollercoaster begin! Sure, some nights (and days) I stayed in my pajamas and maybe went a few days without showering or leaving the house, but as I get older I am making better choices to get out of the house more!
If you’ve been though deployments, what are some coping mechanisms you found useful that someone might be able to use? My MAIN mechanism was planning homecoming from the day he left! Ladies: I have about a month before our homecoming vacation, and I’ve been planning for a few months already!
Be sure to hop on over to The Young Retiree and pay me a visit! I’d love to connect with you and be a little part of your support system!
Be sure to check out the other posts in this series! You can view them under the Deployment Series tab, or by clicking HERE