Pre- and Post-Deployment Anxiety: How To Deal

Chances are, if you are a military spouse, you have felt some level of stress and anxiety when your husband or wife is about to leave for several months to a year. I never used to be an anxious person-I was always very go with the flow about everything. I knew everything would work out however it was supposed to and  I was the person that my friends came to when they needed some over optimistic positivity in their lives.

I started dating my boyfriend (now husband) when I was 22 years old. I had not a  care in the world and quickly picked things up and moved to be near him and try to figure out how to navigate life together. I will never forget the weeks leading up to his first deployment since we had been together. I had a feeling inside me that was almost unexplainable, like no amount of time was enough with him before he left. I started to think about all the things he wouldn’t be here for while he was away and it was eating me alive. When he left I was a mess. For the remainder of his deployment I was a mess. I made myself miserable and when he returned I finally felt like I was allowed to be myself again.

A year and some change later it was happening again. He was off to some part of some country to do some activity I will probably never get to hear about. I vowed I would not be sitting around, turning into a pile of pathetic mush this time around. So, I taught myself some tricks to help with the missing and the not knowing. Since then I have implemented these tips several times when he goes away, and they have helped tremendously. Also, since then I now have a few babies to occupy much of my time and mind so I almost don’t even notice he is gone. Kidding! (but seriously, mommas you know what I mean).

Keep Yourself Busy!

You are allowed to have fun while they are away! Plan your weekend chock-full of fun activities with your friends and family so you always have something to look forward to and don’t have a cluster of days to do nothing but sit around and think.

Get Sleep

I have always been a fan of sleep, but in times when I am the most stressed out, and needing it the most, it always seems the most difficult to get. Some things I implemented to help achieve better sleep were, exercising most days, eating cleaner, not looking at my phone right before bed, and implementing cbd oil into my nighttime routine. These tactics made sleep come so much easier, which allowed me to be more present and centered when I was awake. You never realize how important sleep is until you can not get enough!

Take some time for yourself

This may seem contradictory to the “keep yourself busy” tip, but this is time that, I have found, when purposely set aside to have to yourself it becomes much more enjoyed than dreaded. I love a good bath, a book or a run outside to have a moment to myself. Acknowledging your thoughts of stress and anxiety is not a bad thing, but they are not meant to consume you. Take note they are there and how they make you feel and then move on with your day.

Remember that it will all be “Normal” Again

It is easy to feel like you are sitting around waiting on life to resume while your partner is gone, but life is still going on all around you. Allow yourself to live it.

Posted by Piper McIntosh, Marine Corps Spouse

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