Yet again, other military spouses are giving voice to all the demons that haunt me, and this topic vote-what-stresses-you-out. The choices given include: dying, physical injury, finances, affects on children, loneliness, sexual frustration, fidelity issues, PTSD/TBI, communication, and loneliness.
Here's my original response:
None of those things are "fears" per se, for me. Dying is a possibility we all accept, which includes getting on the highway each day. Dying in combat at least has honor.
Physical injury is also a possibility we accept. Cross that bridge when we get to it.
Finances don't bother me.
I know the deployments and absences affect my boys. It's a frustration, but not a fear, because it's a fact with no resolution.
Loneliness-I have my own life separate from my marriage (involved in lots of activities and social things)
Sexual frustration-don't many of us have that even when they're home?
Fidelity issues-if he hasn't given me reason to not trust him, why would I distrust him just because he's gone?
PTSD/TBI are already a factor, that the Army is not dealing with. But they are, according to our family psychiatrist, treatable injuries-if the Army would actually treat them rather than cover them up with the bandaids of pills and counseling.
No, none of these are my overall problem. My problem is the fact that I run the show, I control the reins and make all decisions and I do independence really well. My problem is figuring out how to have him back in my everyday life once he's back from deployment-and worse than that, trying to figure out how to have him back in everday life when he's still not available daily because he's working long hours, out in the field, at a school, on 24-hr duty, or down range. How do you share the reins with someone who is still only home sporadically?
Other spouses had interesting, and just as thought-provoking responses, including Amy, who stated: "What I really find stressful about deployment is that it starts from the moment of notification, lasts through predeployment training, the deployment, and through reintegration," and Jen, who said "Communication issues, in all of their shapes and forms, are the most stressful... maybe because they are the most tangible," causing me to add another "two-cents:"
Ditto on so many things-commo is a huge factor that I hadn't thought of, I guess because I'm so accustomed to just steering clear of it to avoid further problems. But also the note above:
"about deployment is that it starts from the moment of notification, lasts through predeployment training, the deployment, and through reintegration."
That's incredibly true. I always say that he's got one foot out the door even before the orders get here, once he knows he's going. He got home one year ago from Iraq, and forget about reintegration-he's still got one foot out the door for Afghanistan coming next year, and they don't even have orders (though, I think Brigade did deploy already to set up shop). How do you focus on reintegration at all when he's always got one foot out the door (ranges, 24-hr duty, and long hours are, perhaps, just incidental to preparing for the next deployment).
When you can't focus on being a family, including ALL members, how can you be best friends? It's kind of like talking to that best friend from years gone; when you do talk, it feels comfortable, like yesterday, but, if you and that long-lost friend had to live under the same roof again after so much time apart, knowing one would be leaving again shortly, would you be as close? How do you make the best of the time you have when you don't feel like best friends anymore?
This is not all inclusive, but it's what I can do right now...