Military deployment can produce a great deal of stress and anxiety, not just on the servicemen and women who are called up to active duty, but on the people they leave behind, as well. Whether your spouse or loved one is leaving for the first time or for the nth time, emotional distress caused by military deployment is inevitable and has to be dealt with constructively.
Active duty comes with risk, danger, and unpredictability, and the stress and tension on military spouses and loved ones left behind is a regular part of every military connection. Don’t let it get you down. You love that guy or girl who’s going off to serve. Here are some tips to manage stress and anxiety while your partner is deployed, and keep your sanity until they are back in your arms again.
Communication is Key
The most important thing when your partner is deployed is keeping communication lines open between you.
Talk to each other as often as possible; having your partner on the other end of the line is the best way to say I love you, and to ease the pain caused by so many miles of separation and the emotional turmoil you are experiencing. Talking will keep you both connected. Hearing – and knowing – he or she is safe will keep your fear in check, and reassure both of you that life will return to normal before too long.
Your opportunity to communicate is limited, so steer clear of negative thoughts and pointless arguments. Be a straight shooter, talk about everyday things, and share your daily life with your partner.
Keep in mind that although you’re distressed, your partner’s situation is may be severe – he or she may be exposed to physical danger and other hardships of combat. Therefore, you need to be rock solid during this time. Instead of seeking emotional comfort, give it, along with encouragement and affirmations of your love. Doing this will give your partner the power to carry on and come home safely.
Being strong for your partner’s sake has an added benefit: You will find that when you assume the role of an emotionally strong partner, internal strength becomes natural. It will grow within you, and you, too, will be able to carry on until you and your love are reunited.
There are now many resources and a variety technologies that can help you stay in touch when you are separated by thousands of miles. These range from email to cell phones, Skype and video. Take advantage of all of these as they will help you greatly. As a personal suggestion, invest in a computer and webcam. And, get a good cell phone with a mobile video chat function. These will allow to receive communications from your partner any time. Military men and women do not keep regular working hours; so expect to chat on the fly wherever and whenever.
You don’t have to go through tough times alone; seek assistance. There are many support groups for military spouses and partners; these exist for people to share feelings and experiences associated with a military lifestyle. Joining and actively participating in a military support group will bring you a great deal of relief. When you connect and share with people who truly understand how you feel, you gain an understanding of yourself and the inner strength that comes with it.
Consider talking to a professional counselor, if necessary. There’s nothing wrong in seeking professional advice if you are finding it especially hard to cope. There are also other sources of support, such as family and friends.
Make Stress Management a Priority
There are also many effective stress management techniques. Experiment and find what works for you. Talk therapy with a professional, or even a friend, can be very helpful. You can also engage in spiritually empowering activities such as visualization exercises, yoga and prayer.
The important thing is to acknowledge your choice to be in a military relationship and accept that stress and anxiety during periods of deployment are part of the life you chose. Remember the person you fell in love with in the first place. The decision to overcome the challenge is yours, and your relationship definitely is worth it.