A while back I shared my advice for someone facing their first deployment and all of that holds true, but if I were to offer advice to someone getting ready for a second deployment, I would tell them that every deployment is different. Each comes with its own unique challenges, its own learning curve and its own adjustment period.
Every deployment is different so be patient with yourself.
Before he left, I totally thought that A’s most recent deployment would be a breeze. Why you ask? Well, because I already had done one, of course! What I didn’t consider was that now A and I were married and were still kind of in the middle of our newlywed bliss session, I had a tougher work schedule and less time at home, it was going to be a longer separation and I didn’t have some of the same support system available to me as the first time around. All of these things made the second deployment harder in completely different ways than the first one.
And while I did (and you should too) take the lessons I learned from the first deployment, I found that I still had more to learn. I needed to give myself just as much patience as the first time around. I still had good days and bad days (although fewer bad days) the second time around. I still got frustrated or lonely or a little mopey every now and then. The more I tried to snap myself out of it or told myself I shouldn’t feel that way “because I’d already done this once”, the worse I got. About mid-way through, I stopped doing that. I accepted that this deployment in this set of circumstances was a lot like starting at square one and I needed to learn my through it.
Every deployment is different so try to avoid the comparison monster.
I’m totally guilty of not following my advice on this one, at least prior to giving myself said advice. I was in the middle of my first deployment and really not handling things the way I hoped. I missed A, hadn’t heard from him in weeks and was still bitter that his homecoming date had gotten pushed back by a whole month. That’s when I saw a friend share her plans to visit her deployed husband on Facebook. Talk about jealous! How unfair was it that A was off in a super dangerous, unreachable spot while her husband was basically on vacation!
Yeah. That wasn’t a pretty version of me and it’s when I learned this: to someone else, your deployment is easy; it’s what they wish for. Each branch has different types of deployments and then each job within that branch may have slightly different circumstances. While you’re busy being jealous of the guy who’s deployed to Europe, someone else is jealous that you got to talk to your husband within the last 4 weeks.
I know it’s hard to see sometimes, but we’re all fighting a tough battle. And that battle is constantly changing.