Disclaimer: The information below is to serve as general tips and information, not professional mental health and medical advice.
When you struggle with anxiety and depression it is a very real thing. Often, you don’t want other people to know that you’re struggling. Why? Because there is an immense amount of stigma around anxiety and depression. However, by not letting anyone in, the feelings of shame and feeling like you are living a double life grow immensely and the condition worsens.
Combine the military lifestyle with these feelings, and it becomes a complicated situation.
Have you ever thought any of these things?
“I don’t want to go get help on base because they will share it with my spouse’s command and it’s going to look bad for their career”
“I will be the crazy military wife and will be looked at as the unstable military wife”
“Rumors will start to spread”
“I can no longer go to work related functions because everybody will be whispering”
It’s OK to feel this way. But it is also important to understand that even though you have these thoughts, you cannot continue to suppress all your feelings.
There is no substitute for getting professional help when things boil over and everything seems to be too overwhelming to handle. Seeking professional help can be counseling or a mixture of counseling and medication.
Listen, we live an extremely stressful and chaotic life. You will go through times of struggle and difficulty but know that these feelings and the season that you are in now are only temporary. If you are struggling right now, you will overcome.
1. Seek Professional Help. If you have these feelings or you struggle with anxiety and or depression, seek professional help either by speaking with your Primary Care Manager on base to see what you need to do to make an appointment with mental health or you can go through a great free resource, Military One Source.
From the Military OneSource Website:
“In-person, free counseling sessions are available to active-duty, National Guard and reserve members of any activation status, their immediate family members and survivors. All counselors have a master’s or doctoral degree in a mental health field and a license to practice independently.
You can schedule face-to-face non-medical counseling by calling a consultant at Military OneSource (800-342-9647).
If the consultant determines the service is right for you, you will be authorized for up to 12 counseling sessions.
The consultant can put you in touch with a counselor that best suits your needs.
Once you get authorization for a face-to-face session, you have 30 days to schedule it.
2. Stay connected with friends. Whether that is an online community or it is an in-person group meeting of other spouses that also struggle, stay connected.
3. Write your thoughts down. When you take the thoughts and feelings from inside your head and onto paper it makes everything less daunting.
4. Question your thought pattern. Recognize and notate when you start having negative thoughts and anxious feelings.
5. Practice deep breathing. Guided meditation along with deep breathing as a daily practice can help
6. Consider changing your diet. Be cognizant of what your nutrition currently consists of and consider changing things up a bit. Consider cutting sugar eating more natural. By feeding your body clean foods will help give you a clear mind and a strong body.
Let us know your tips and tricks that have helped you manage anxiety/depression. To continue this conversation, Dependa Strong and Organized Chaos have teamed up to create a military spouse mental health pulse survey. Please take a moment to fill the anonymous survey out so we can collectively make a difference and share the truths we hide.