When you have deployed spouse its hard not to get into a rut where your days feel like the same one over and over again. I call this "The Groundhog Day Syndrome" Its where you feel like each day, doesn't matter what day of the week it is, feels like the one you just had yesterday.
For a lot of us, just trying to keep our sanity, without losing it, while staring at the four corners of your living room can be a bit of a challenge. And when you are one of those couples that doesn't have the hectic schedule of children added into the mix the art of staying busy is like trying to grasp at straws. Loneliness is one of the biggest things, besides depression that plague us Military Spouses. That desire to have an adult conversation, go out or even something as simple as having a meal with someone. I admit that there have been times where Siri has been the only form of adult conversation I have had in 24hr window. Sad really, when you think about it. But it makes my point.
Deployment Blues is an other killer for us, spouses. As much as we try to keep up beat. Putting that X on the calender as a way of a count down of sorts. We still tend to get down. Depression and loneliness are like bosom buddies in the realm of Military Spouses. In a weird twist, you are happy they have found each other to keep themselves company, but not great for you. Its hard not feel like these when our spouse deploys. As we miss them, we go about our dailies, some of us come home to an empty house or some of us come home to the chaos of children. Either way we wish that we would have either some help or someone to relax with.
So how do we over come "Groundhog Day Syndrome"? As hard as it may seem, I know I have tried a lot of things, but here are some that have worked for me...
Find yourself a good therapist. Seriously. Your mental health is one of the most important things you need to take care of. Depression is no joke. A good therapist will help you keep track of your emotions. They will be there for when you have that anxiety. They are that third party that doesn't have any emotional connection to what you are dealing with.
Find people you can relate to. If you are part of a command, like a ship, contact your Ombudsman. Most likely they will put you in touch with a Spouse Association attached to the boat. If you are not part of a command like that, most bases, through Family Support, will have Support Groups for family members who have a deployed spouse. These are fantastic. They are always child friendly. And the people who run them know that life can be tough, especially when you have kids. And don't be afraid to join even if you don't have kids. A lot of these groups will do social events (Especially around the holidays), which is a good way to get out a meet people who are rowing in the same boat.
Remember who you can trust. Neighbours, Friends, Family.. you name it. These are the people who are going to help you out in a pinch. When you need someone to pick up the kids, or watch them if you are having one of those days where the world has gone to hell. These are the people that are going to understand. They don't have to other military either. Sometimes the civilian world gets it.
Be Active. I am not saying go run a marathon. But join something you like doing. If you have time while the kids are in school, find an activity that motivates you. Painting, Yoga, Rock Climbing.. you name it. And if you have little ones, maybe a Mommy and Me activity. Something that gets you out!
Be easy on Yourself. You are only but one person. You are going to have your bad days and your good days. Its ok to feel blue. Its ok to feel overwhelmed. You after all only human. Don't feel guilty that you are having a good day and your spouse isn't there to enjoy with you. Hold on to that good feeling. Cherish it. Remember that each day is a new day. New beginnings, new challenges. New experiences.
This too, shall pass. Continue marking your calenders with those X's. Its one more day that has passed till your loved one comes home.