After multiple deployments and separations as a military spouse, you’d think the deployment meltdown wouldn’t exist. This is simply not true.
A few deployments ago, I hit a catastrophic wall right around the one-month mark. I am unashamed to say it was probably one of my worst meltdowns since becoming a military wife.
In the middle of the day, I sat in the chair of my living room pecking away at my keyboard, crafting an angry email addressed to my husband. I literally took everything in my life that I could possibly be angry about and rammed it straight into the keyboard–letter-by-letter.
The deployment meltdown.
I certainly wasn’t blaming him for my deployment anger. Because if there was anyone who understood what I was going through—it was him.
Some military spouses might feel embarrassed to admit they had a deployment meltdown. But here’s why you shouldn’t…
First of all…you’ll feel better.
According to science, having a good cry releases stress and helps you feel better both physically and emotionally. In fact, people who don’t cry feel worse than their weepy counterparts.
This is because emotional tears (not tears from onions or a lash in your eye) help release toxins from the body that typically build up during times of emotional stress. Crying also reduces your body’s manganese level which heavily impacts your mood.
If you find yourself easily frustrated by long lines at the commissary, ID checks at the military base gate or lack of communication with your deployed service member, go ahead and cry about it.
If you find yourself fed up with living far from your family, a service member who is always away, or career challenges, go ahead and cry about it.
Research studies show that chemicals built up from emotional stress are removed by tears. Think of it this way, each tear running down your cheek during deployment is another drop of emotional baggage you’re leaving behind.
It’s like therapy, only cheaper.
It shows you’re human and you care.
Being upset when the most important person in your life is gone shows that your military relationship means something to you. That you don’t want anything to happen to them and that you want them part of your everyday life.
Having an occasional deployment meltdown is healthy and normal.
There is never a time when my service member leaves on a legitimate deployment and I think, “Oh, goodie!”
The moment that I stop feeling sad about him leaving or the moment deployment stops affecting me on some level is a red flag to me.
Of course, you want to stay positive and avoid wallowing in military life misery, but when you love and care about someone, it’s natural to feel sadness over their absence. It’s a true testament you’re your relationship is healthy and thriving.
Taking a few steps back will help you leap forward.
It’s awfully tempting to stuff all those emotions into a box, put the lid on tight and lock it up. But you can’t expect much in terms of personal growth if you don’t allow yourself to experience emotions and process them.
Each time you are courageous enough to face your emotions head on, you improve your coping skills and become more resilient in future separations and deployments.
You learn how to calm yourself down and handle the anger even when…and this is huge right here…the most important person in the world isn’t there by your side.
That’s a pretty big deal.
When it feels like you’re regressing in your ability to “handle the deployment” what you are actually doing is taking a few steps backward so you can take a running leap forward.
Moving forward post meltdown.
Each time I “lose it” during deployment, I come out stronger. My guess is that you do too.
After a good ugly cry, you’re going to purge all those negative emotions and move forward better than ever. You’re going to feel more balanced and level-headed. You’re going to start fresh, which will allow you to SEE the real solutions sitting right in front of you.
You’re going to understand what it’s like to take a running leap forward, push through the deployment, and come out stronger than ever.
Believe me when I say, a good deployment meltdown only means one thing: You’ve got this.
If you are struggling with emotions and sadness beyond what you feel is reasonable, you can find a counselor here through military one source. Asking for help takes courage and is always okay.