When Military Life Breaks You
Military life is hard, we all know that. Military families have to deal with so many challenges. Military children do too. Military spouses have to take on a lot and sometimes the stress can feel like too much. Sometimes the deployments are just too close together or they are too long or there is just too much loneliness because of frequent moves or friends who move away. Sometimes military life breaks you.
What do you do if you are in a place where it feels like too much? What can you do if you feel broken? You know you are not going to walk away from your spouse but you know you need to do something. You know how important his military career is, but you feel like you can’t keep going on like this. You are lost and just not sure what you can do to get through the next few months or years until military life is over.
1) Get Back To Your Faith. No matter what religion you follow, you do put your faith in something. Cling to it. Pray. Meditate. Grow in your faith. Try to find a good place to go each week. Look at what your post or base has to offer. Look online to see what you can discover locally. Write in a journal, sing, go for long walks. Find a way to find some peace in the midst of this lifestyle.
2) Don’t be afraid to get help. Sometimes the best thing to do is call for help. Find someone you can talk with. Someone you can talk to about what is going on. Someone that won’t judge and someone who can give you some good advice on how to deal with what you are dealing with. If you feel like you need some extra help you can find a Military Family Life Consultant to talk with or make an appointment with a local provider. Tricare will cover up to 8 sessions without needing a referral. Just call up the provider and let them know you have Tricare and they should be able to help you from there. I had to do this during our 4th deployment and doing so was worth the time.
3) Let Things Go. Seriously. Let it go. Don’t worry about what isn’t important. Some of what you stress about matters, some of what you stress about doesn’t matter at all. Let go of trying to be a perfect military spouse. For one thing, no one is a perfect military spouse and you will drive yourself crazy trying to be one. Do what you can each day and let the rest of everything go.
4) Depend on your friends. If someone offers to babysit, let them. If someone offers to mow your lawn, let them. If someone wants to bring you dinner, let them. Get together with friends. Make dates with them. Join them for coffee or a playdate. Invite them over for dinner. Friends will get you through, even if they don’t 100% understand what you are currently dealing with. If someone is making you feel bad, let them go. Surround yourself with supportive people. If you don’t have any local friends, join a club, playgroup or even start one yourself. Find something you enjoy doing and look for others that enjoy that too.
5) Make Time For Yourself. Read that book. Watch that movie. Start writing your book. Make a list of all the things that make you happy. When you get really upset, start going down your list. Try to surround yourself with things you enjoy. You might have to work ten hours a day. You might be with kids from 6am to 8pm. But whatever time you have for yourself, enjoy every minute of that time. Even just 30 minutes a day can help. Making time for yourself as a military spouse is very important. Even something as simple as picking up some flowers and putting them in a vase on your kitchen table can help with your mood.
We can’t change a lot of what the military life is going to bring. There will be deployments and trainings and too many goodbyes. There will be lonely nights and tearful goodbyes. However, when you are a military spouse, you have to figure out a way to make it through. Even when you feel like military life is breaking you. Do what you can to figure out how to get to a better place. This will help your spouse in their career and will help you in living a fuller military life.