Struggling With Anxiety When Your Spouse Is In The Military
One of the hardest parts of being a Military spouse is when your spouse is away from you. They can be gone for a few weeks, a few months, or even up to a year. In some cases even longer. When you are dealing with that plus dealing with anxiety, life can feel like too much at times.
I never realized how bad my anxiety could get until right before our 4th deployment.
I have always been a bit of a worrier. I worry about silly little things that my husband just can’t understand. I have a hard time with driving. If I haven’t ever been to the place before, if it is too far from home, or if I have to drive somewhere at night, doing so can be a challenge.
I have had to work hard on this because I do have to drive most days. I have to power through. And most days I am able to.
I worry about silly things with my kids. Usually, when my husband is home, I can just ask him what he thinks and then I can calm down and it isn’t a big deal. When he is deployed, I can’t do that so my worry level goes up.
I get anxious about my car when I park somewhere new. I get anxious about locking my front door, did I remember to do it? I get anxious about a lot of little things and all of that can add up.
Right before our 4th deployment, I knew I needed to do something about my anxiety.
I couldn’t see how I could get through the deployment without upping my game a little bit. I had friends to hang out with, kids to keep me busy, and projects to work on but that wasn’t going to be enough this time. It just wasn’t.
I ended up talking to my doctor about what was going on and she suggested medication. I am not against meds altogether but I wasn’t sure if they were right for me. I really went back and forth about taking them. I decided I wanted to see how counseling would work before I tried medication.
So I started going to see someone. Thank goodness Tricare paid for it. Going to counseling was the best thing I could have done. I am not going to say that all my anxiety went away, it didn’t, but talking to someone really helped me, in ways nothing else did.
If I ever get to where I feel the way I did back then, I would go see someone again in a heartbeat.
Anxiety is rough, and for me, a deployment made that anxiety worse.
Studies have found that wives of deployed soldiers are more likely to be diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. This was not a big surprise to me. I know I am not the only one that struggles.
Throw in a deployment, or two, or three or, however many you have to go through, and life can get pretty challenging. I think as military spouses we want to be strong but anxiety or depression can drag us down, and make us feel as if everything is just too hard.
The issue with anxiety is so much more than just worrying. We all might worry about our spouses being in a war zone, at least on some level. Anxiety goes much further than that and should be taken more seriously. Anxiety can make you worry about things that other people don’t even think about.
We can’t just pray anxiety away or go out with friends to get rid of those feelings. Anxiety is something we have to work at on a daily basis. Anxiety can ruin your whole day. Anxiety can make life so much more difficult.
So what should you do if you struggle with anxiety and your spouse is in the Military?
You need to take steps to figure out how you are going to get through what you are dealing with. If your spouse is going to make the Military a career, you will have to figure something out. For some that might be moving back home during a deployment, others might need to take medication or start seeing a counselor. Some military spouses might need to do everything in order to get to a better place. Don’t be ashamed and try to seek help if you can.
Remember that you are only human and if you feel like you need extra help, ask for that help. Admitting this can be difficult but important. You will be a better spouse, a better parent, and a better friend if you can get the help you need.