1 In Deployment

Deployment ABCs: Fear during a Deployment

The Deployment ABCs is a 26-week series where I cover every deployment-related topic, from care packages to homecomings to OPSEC. Tips, tricks and maybe a resource or two to help military spouses navigate their way through the craziness that is a deployment.  If there’s a topic you’d like for me to cover or are interested in adding your own thoughts to, send me an email and we’ll chat! 

True statement: I am afraid of deployments. Every time he leaves, there’s a part of me that tightens and knots itself up, relaxing only when he’s back home.  I don’t generally talk about this fear because I’m of the mind that the more air I give it, the stronger its grip on me will be. But on the flip side of that, if something is NEVER talked about, it doesn’t go away. Instead folks just go through it alone, suffering in silence and I don’t like that!

So today we’re talking about the fear that comes with deployment because it’s real and it’s common and it’s normal.

What I fear during deployment:

I fear that deployments will negatively affect our relationship. 

This was something that was big when A and I first were together.  I’d heard plenty of stories to back up that military relationships don’t always make it. Spending months upon months away from your spouse probably isn’t the easiest way to make a relationship stronger.  Now that we’ve gone through two deployments and have been together for almost four years, I do worry about it less because I feel more confident in the strength of our relationship.

I fear the unknown with deployments.

Things in the military are constantly changing. Dates, timelines, locations and so on. As a natural planner, that scares the crap out of me. And then you factor in the dangerous people that may be involved? Forget about it!

I fear that something will happen to my husband.

There’s the elephant in the room (who’s also sitting on my chest). I think every military spouse goes into a deployment with that fear lurking in the back of their minds, no matter how “safe” the deployment or job may be.

Ways to deal with fear during deployment:

Talk to someone. Yes I know that sounds awful, but if you feel like talking to someone (a friend, a family member, your spouse or even a professional) is going to help, please do it. Every person, every relationship, every deployment is different and you need to do what works for you.  I have often found that even saying all of my thoughts out loud to the air (or to B) really helps relieve some of the anxiety because once I’ve said it, I’m more easily able to focus on other things.

Keep your mind busy. Use deployment to focus on self care. Make plans and complete projects that you’re passionate about. This always helps me get through it because I’m still doing things I enjoy.” -Pamela from The Coastie Couple

Pamela is so right. I know keeping your mind off something is easier said than done, especially when it’s deployment-related fear, but it really does work.  If my mind is occupied with something (reading a book, watching my favorite show, chatting with friends), I find myself less focused on being anxious or worried.

Seek comfort from positive sources. “My faith is what get’s me through those moments. Trusting that God is in control when I am not.” -Sarah from Servant Mama

Maybe it’s exercise, maybe it’s reading, maybe it’s going to church. Surrounding yourself with whatever thing/person/activity comforts you can be a huge help when fear is nagging at you. I’ve found that exercising and getting up early are really helpful for me because it leaves me super tired at the end of the day. The more tired I am, the faster I fall asleep and the less time I have for my mind to wander.

Fear is normal, but it doesn’t have to be your norm. “Of course we fear the unknown, and deployments have a ton of that. We don’t have to give into the fear. We can chose to stand against it and not let it consume us. To live our lives in spite of fear and embrace every day. Our fear changes nothing, it just reduces the quality of life we have in the present.” –Kara from The Hippy Milspouse:

Dang. She crushed that.

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