Mental Health Through the Eyes of a Milspouse

How to Overcome Pre-Deployment Anxiety

Written By: Mary Velez, Army Spouse

Has it happened to you that when you receive news that your spouse is leaving for training or deployment (or anything else for that matter), you get stressed out even if it is a year from now? Yeah, I’ve been there, done that too.

When my husband told me he was in an alert to deploy, I got anxious. But the fun fact here is that even though they did not confirm it, and the actual deployment was so far from the date they told him, I still got anxious. I was also stressed, sad, and a myriad of fears came up from that day forward. 

Since that time that he initially told me, I was so anxious and spent so much time thinking about the million-and-one scenarios that could happen. What a mess.

You know what? We, as military spouses need our sanity back. We need to learn how to cope with these situations because many of our service members will deploy at some point and it is such a scary feeling worrying about the “unknown”.

After my not-so-good experience with pre-deployment anxiety, I learned my lesson and have discovered a few ways to lessen the worrisome voice inside my head.

Don’t believe anything until you have it on paper

There are many times that our service members will get notice of events that sometimes ultimately never come to fruition. Dates will change, locations will change, and that is frustrating and only adds to the feelings of uncertainty. Sometimes I wish I could use the OC app and delete the events I don‘t like but it‘s never like that. Don’t get discouraged when things happen. If you were hoping they don‘t deploy and they do, focus and pray for your emotional stability during that time.

There is life outside the military

You have a life outside the military. GO after it. I used to think everything revolved around the Army but it doesn’t. Yes, there are demands, like training exercises, deployments, duty, etc. and we need to support them but that’s not all there is that this life has to offer you.

1. Get involved in activities outside the base. Find a pool, a park, a zoo, or go on a spontaneous trip on your husband‘s free day. There are many free and cheap activities around that can be fun too! Locate your on-base military family support office to find those activities in the area.

2. Make memories. More than just life around the military, families need to take time to bond before this whole deployment thing happens. Enjoy your time, enjoy the busy days and the rest days. They will help to remind you of the good things you did when they were here.

Prepare a plan for when your spouse deploys.

What are you going to do with your family? Will you pay off debt with the extra money? Do you have saving goals? Perhaps go back to school? Are you on the same page as your service member in terms of finances?

You need to have a plan. This plan also needs to have a contingency plan for the “what if‘s” of life. This might overwhelm at first, but tackling it one day at a time will work and make you feel accomplished.

Anxiety is a liar

The Bible says to put all your worries in his hands. It is sometimes easier said than done but is worth it and it’s possible. That voice inside your head can be extremely loud but you have to find a way to calm that voice. All the anxious feelings are temporary and this season in life that you are in, will not last. There will be a day that you will look back on this time and smile.

Share your lessons too! Maybe someone else needs to read them.

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