There was so much to do that day, and my patience was running thin. He had been gone for a few months now, so most days were better than they had been. Still, I felt on edge and on the verge of tears. I send one kid off to school, took one to hourly care, and took my baby home to get some work done.
A few hours later, I was picking up my middle son at hourly. I knew I had to get home and wait for my oldest to get off the bus. Once he did, we would have to get homework done, figure out a quick dinner, and then back to post for the third time that day for soccer practice.
I could feel the tears coming. All I wanted to do was go to bed early. All I wanted was a hug from my deployed husband, but I knew I wasn’t going to get that, not that day. We were in the middle of a deployment, and I was on my own. I was in charge of everything, and I felt like I had hit some type of wall.
As we headed off post, I sat at a light waiting for it to turn green. Luckily, no one else was around. I then realized that the light was already green, and I was waiting at the green light. It was then that I realized that I needed to take the rest of the day off, as much as I could.
We would order pizza for dinner, have an early bedtime, and skip soccer that night.
Even though this happened so many years ago, I can still remember that day so vividly. This was one of many bad deployment days, but one in which I realized what was happening and ended up changing my schedule so that I could get through the day. I didn’t always do this. Some days I plowed through, only to feel at peace once I was in bed for the night. But for this bad deployment day? I had had enough and raised the white flag.
The truth is, during a deployment you are going to have your bad deployment days. You are going to have days where nothing seems to work right. You will have days where everything falls apart. You will have days where you won’t exactly be sure how you will make it through the week, let alone the four months you have left until homecoming.
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If you hit a bad deployment day, there are things you can do to help:
Remember, not every day will be like this
One of the things I always tried to do during a bad deployment day was reminded myself that not every day during a deployment was going to be like that. That yes, I was having a bad day, but the next day could be much better.
That some deployment days would make me smile. That things wouldn’t always feel so depressing. Reminding myself of this helped me see the bigger picture instead of getting stuck on a bad day.
If you need to cry, cry
If you need to cry, cry. That’s okay. Sometimes that is how we can get the stress of the day out. Sometimes that is the only thing that works to get to a better place.
If you are hanging out with people that think crying is a sign of weakness, find new people to hang out with the rest of the deployment. And if you are someone that never cries? That is okay too. We all handle bad deployment days in our own way.
Make new plans
During a bad deployment day, take a look at your calendar. Can you add anything to it? Do you need to take something away? Do you need to change things up?
Sometimes we suffer because we are not staying busy enough and other times we do because we have too much on our plates. Finding that balance is a must, but can be hard to do. We don’t want to say no to things, but sometimes, our mental health will require it, especially during a deployment.
Reach out to friends
If you have a friend you can share with, reach out to them. If they are local, invite them over, or make plans to meet up. Text someone, call someone or even send a quick email. Reaching out to friends, and even family can be very helpful. They can remind you that everything is going to be okay and that you will get through this bad deployment day.
If you are struggling because you don’t have any good friends where you live, see what you can do to change that. Figure out where you can go to meet new people. Get out there and keep trying. You never know who you might meet when you do.
Take something off your plate
If you are struggling during a bad deployment day, it’s okay to take something off of your plate. Maybe, like me, it is skipping a soccer practice. Maybe for you, that wouldn’t be okay, but saying no to something else makes more sense.
Try to keep things in perspective and know that if you need to do less on a certain day, that’s okay. You are going through a deployment, you simply can’t do it all, and if you need to, you can say no to something that might be a little too much for you to do that day.
Whether you just started your deployment, or are in the very middle of one, getting through a deployment isn’t going to be easy. Somedays you will have to think outside the box. Somedays you will have to change things up. Somedays you will have to raise the white flag and say that you need to take a step back.