Saturday, February 25, 2012

The stages of deployment & what I've experienced with our first and current deployment

Stage 1: Anticipation of Loss

"The wife will have some unexpressed anger, and the couple may bicker even though they usually do not. This can be upsetting if it is viewed out of context. Although unenjoyable, these arguments can be functional. They provide one way for the couple to put some emotional distance between themselves in their preparation for living apart. It is hard for a wife to feel warm and loving toward her husband when she is mad at him, and as one woman said, Its easier to let him go. Other frequent symptoms of this stage include restlessness (productive), depression, and irritability. While women feel angry or resentful (Hes really going to leave me alone with all this), men tend to feel guilty (Theres no way I can get everything done that I should before I leave.)"

What I experienced:
During this stage, I find that we're more loving than usual. We try to suck up every second of each other we can. There r little arguments over stupid things but that's normal for us. We never really fight about anything serious, if we fight at all. So it's just not us. But I understand why some couples would. The anticipation is the most stressful part in my opinion. U know he has to leave, u know it's gonna happen, but it still feels unrealistic. Especially when u think about the length of time he'll be away. Which brings on...

Stage 2: Emotional withdrawal
"In many ways, this is the most difficult stage. It occurs sometime in the final days before departure. Such statements as, I know I should be enjoying these last few days together but all I want to do is cry indicates a sense of despair or hopelessness. The marriage is out of the couples control. Although they push ahead trying to complete the list that never gets any shorter, the wife often feels a lack of energy and is fatigued. Making decisions becomes increasingly difficult. During this time, the wife may experience some ambivalence about sexual relations. The brain says, We've got to have sex; this is it for six months while the heart may rebel, But I dont want to be that close."

What I experienced:
This stage is mostly nothing like what I experienced. Other than crying before the first deployment. When I dropped him off on base for the first time, I almost got into a car accident on my way home from crying so hysterically. I don't recommend it! Try to wait until u get home! Our sex life, if anything was better knowing he was leaving and I didn't go thru a lot of these feelings until after he left because I wanted to enjoy what time we did have left together.

Stage 3: Emotional confusion/disorganization

"Wives often report feeling restless (though not productive), confused, disorganized, indecisive, and irritable. The unspoken question is, What am I going to do with this hole in my life? Whereas wives experience a sense of being overwhelmed, husbands report feeling lonely and frustrated. Unfortunately, a few women get stuck at this stage, either unable or unwilling to move on emotionally; they will both have and cause problems throughout the cruise."

What I experienced:
Now, I can definitely relate to this. Right after our first deployment I felt lost, and confused. We had JUST moved to a new state, I didn't know anyone or my way around. I went from having my parents take care of everything, to Kraig handling it all, to it all suddenly being piled up on my shoulders and I was definitely overwhelmed, afraid of being alone and screwing up financially, etc. Not to mention the loss of appetite. But above all things I really missed my husband! There were countless nights I called my mom crying in the middle of the night and she had to talk to me for hrs to calm me down. I would e-mail Kraig telling him in great detail how horrible i was dealing with everything. Which only made it even worse for him. But let me just stress that I feel it was important to feel that way because it really helped me find my independence, which I'll explain later. Now, this deployment I was already in deployment mode since he was only home for a few months before being shipped out again. So I just jumped right back into my routine and didn't really experience this stage at all... other than just missing him a lot. As for the women that get stuck in this stage, my best advice is to look towards the future and try not to worry about now. Get out and get a job or be with friends as much as possible so u can move onto the next stage...

Stage 4: Adjustment/Recovery

"At some point, wives may realize, Hey, Im doing OK! They have established new family patterns and settled into a routine. They have begun to feel more comfortable with the reorganization of roles and responsibilities. Broken arms have been tended, mowers fixed, cars tuned up, and washing machines bought. Each successful experience adds to their self confidence. The wives have cultivated new sources of support through friends, church, work, wives groups, etc. They often give up real cooking for cruise food; they may run up higher long-distance phone bills and contact old friends."

What I experienced:
This stage is the most important. And basically where I'm at now with our second deployment. I realized I'm actually better at handling our financial situation than Kraig was! I got a job and making my own money made me feel really good about myself and made the deployment go by a lot faster. I also realized I can fix most things on our car myself.. which that in itself made it a lot less stressful for me. I had a ton of new friends who were going thru the same thing as I was so it was nice to have people who could relate! I got used to coming home to only my dogs and not a husband and I was ok with that. I became set in my ways and realized how nice it was to clean and have it stay clean it not get messed up the same day. The late night calls to my mom had slowed down and I realized the e-mails to Kraig weren't helping either one of us and they stopped and were replaced by more positive ones. I was living on TV dinners and fast foods first deployment, because I just didn't know how to cook for one. This time, however, all my friends already moved to our change of home port in VA and I'm stuck in WA waiting for our PTS to get approved so I can move too. I quit my job because it became too caddy and stressful to deal with along with a deployment.So it's a little rougher this time around. But I did learn how to cook for one! Lol. So I'm hanging in there! The worst part is the two extensions. I still missed/miss my husband but it's getting better everyday! I'm definitely anticipating...

Stage 5: Expectation of reunion

"Approximately four to six weeks before the ship is due back, wives often find themselves saying, Ohmigosh, hes coming home and Im not ready! That long list of things to do while hes gone is still unfinished. The pace picks up. There is a feeling of joy and excitement in anticipation of living together again. Feelings of apprehension surface as well, although they are usually left unexpressed.

This is a time to reevaluate the marriage. That hole that existed when their husbands left did get filled “ with tennis classes, church, a job, new friends, school, - and now they instinctively know that they must clean house in their lives in order to make room for the men. Most experience an unconscious process of evaluation, I want him back, but what am I going to have to give up? Therefore, they may feel nervous, tense, and apprehensive."

What I experienced:
I went thru this stage to a tee! It was the most overwhelming stage for me. When we first moved in we only had a bed, a tv, and couches. So I made it my goal to make our house into a home before Kraig came back! So I felt pressured to finish it, and when I did, I was stressed that he wouldn't like it! I had to go shopping and get everything that he likes in the house, all his fav food and snacks. I had to hang out with my friends who had become family over the months because once the guys came back we all wouldn't be able to see each other everyday like we were used to. But none of that mattered as much as I thought it did at the time. The most important thing was...

Stage 6: Honeymoon

"This stage, too, is one in which the husband and wife are together physically but not necessarily emotionally. They have to have some time together and share experiences and feelings before they feel like a couple again. They both need to be aware of the necessity to refocus on the marriage. For instance; After one of the wives husband had been home for a few days, she became aggravated with him when he would telephone his shipboard roommate every time something of importance came up within the family finally declaring, "Im your wife. Talk to me!" During this stage, the task is to stop being single spouses and start being married again."

What I experienced:
Was nothing like what I heard or thought it might be. The second we were together again we were joking around and acting like ourselves. It was like he had never left at all and we went right back into our normal daily routines. There were some differences tho. Like now I was more independent and I had friends and we wanted our husbands to meet and etc. Don't get we wrong, there were some frustrations too. Like how messy I forgot he was and I was so used to keeping a tidy home while he was away. But it was mostly just perfect. I was warned a lot of couples have to go to counseling after a deployment because they find it hard to live together again. Which is totally understandable. I'm not saying it's wrong if u have to or had to go thru that. Because that is normal. Some people have a harder time with each of these stages and might not have experienced the same things I did. And that's ok! Eventually u will get back to normal and reach...

Stage 7: Readjustment

"Sometime within the four to six weeks after the homecoming, wives notice that they have stopped referring to "my car, my house, my bedroom" using instead our or we. New routines have been established for the family, and the wives feel relaxed and comfortable with their husbands. There is a sense of being a couple and a family. They are back on the same track emotionally and can enjoy the warmth and closeness of being married."

What I experienced:
Exactly that! And I can not wait to get back to normal after this deployment is finally over!:)

Some people will have an easier time, and some might have a harder time. This is just what I experienced and I thought I would share it and stress that there is hope in a deployment. I have my bad days, of course (obviously u know that if u read my previous post!) I miss my husband everyday, but I mostly have good days. The best advice I could possibly give anyone going thru a deployment is to stay as busy as possible. Staying busy not only keeps ur mind off it, but it also occupies ur days and makes them go by faster.. making deployment go by faster! Even if it seems like it's going by slow at the time, I can almost guarantee that once it's over u will think to urself "Wow, that really DID go by pretty fast!" and u can just enjoy ur time together!:)


Mrs. Monkey said...

Great post. Informative and insightful. I'm your newest blog and twitter follower. See ya round.

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