I’ve heard about depression among military wives and talked to many who are taking medicine and seeing doctors to try to help or at least manage it. Since I’ve been studying psychology (in college), I’ve been learning a lot, and one topic that comes up again and again is the emotional side of human beings, and how it can affect the physical side. Relationships with others are so important. People in relationships with others suffer fewer illnesses and tend to live longer. They’re usually happier and less likely to commit suicide.
Now, throw the military lifestyle into this mix. As a quick disclaimer, I’m not bashing the military at all. We need our soldiers to go out there and do the difficult things to protect us and help others, and those soldiers need their families too. There really isn’t any way around it. But there are challenges…and there are battles never shared…
While I’ve never been separated from my spouse since we’ve been married (four months today!), I’ve read that separation often invokes a grieving process. I remember crying a lot and feeling numb after seeing my, at that time fiance, off at the airport. I knew he would be back in a month, but losing our relationship for a month was hard. There is pain in losing a close relationship, even if for only a time. I worked through the separation, tried not to worry about him too much, kept busy, and looked eagerly towards his coming back. But that doesn’t mean that there weren’t times where I felt really low. Stress, coupled with constant moves, worrying about one’s spouse, and being away from those they know and places they are familiar with would cause stress for anyone. Make this into a lifestyle and it carries even more challenges.
Army Wife 101 had some good things to say in her post, War at Home: My Battle with Depression and Anxiety, and helped me to understand it a little more. I particularly appreciated her emphasis on the fact that anxiety and depression disorders are not disorders that you can just block out. Sure, you can learn how to live with them and manage them, but you can’t just “get over it.”
Now, I don’t want to imply that the military life is one of constant heartache and struggle. It’s not. There are definite positives that only military families experience. The military community (at least as far as I’ve experienced) is one of the friendliest and most helpful communities generally that I’ve ever been a part of. It’s like belonging to a nationwide club. Each of you know, really know, what it’s like and are more than willing to go out of your way to help each other. Also, military families can be quicker to truly appreciate the time they have together and take it seriously. It comes far more naturally than I believe happens with many civilian families. Military families get to see more of the world, and experience what it is like to be part of something bigger than just their immediate lives. There are more positives, but as a new military wife, I’m still learning what they are. 🙂
May God bless!