Friday, January 28, 2011

Lessons Learned from Two Deployments

As we begin the process of gearing up for Chris to once again deploy, we also face the looming 1 year anniversary of his return from the last deployment. As a rule they usually have a soldier wait longer, however, with the poor economy he volunteered to go to a unit who would pick him up. I have learned some things during each deployment and after enough time away from them I can look on them and recognize them for what they were - lessons learned the hard way, but necessary nonetheless.

1. I learned that while in theory you should be able to be completely honest with your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, not everyone is at the same place you. In learning this, it means I value those fellow siblings in Christ who do understand and are amazing.

2. Maureen during deployment w/o antidepressants or an anti-anxiety drug IS NOT A GOOD THING!!! I have done two deployments - one on medication and one with no medication. Here's the thing, once I got deeply depressed, I didn't realize what was going on, I was too close to it to realize that it wasn't good and I needed help. For the sake of my family and especially my girls, I choose to go on medication of some kind so I can be level and even keeled.

3. I am okay with finances when there is plenty, but Chris is awesome with money period. Since we knew a third deployment was coming, we've been talking about what we want to change with this one - one of them is to set up a special savings account so we will have a good chunk of change saved for a bit.

4. The coming home and vacationing is a good plan. When Chris returned home this last deployment, we'd slowly paid for a full vacation to DisneyWorld. We found a great condo that worked for us very well it was close, but not too close and since the majority of it was paid for, then we were able to really enjoy it. So again I will plan a good vacation for our family (we have once again discussed DisneyWorld. We have all been talking about it for the past year - even the adults).

5. A good support system is key. It really is, the second deployment was easier in some ways because I had a very good system in place of friends and family who were awesome and very helpful.

6. Sometimes it is important to trust your instincts. I know that while taking some college classes is important, so is ensuring that I am here for the girls. So while I am tempted to go back to college, I will have to wait and see how it's going before I try it. A lot will depend on how the girls are faring this time. Chris has been home 24 hours a day 7 days a week for the past year - it means this coming deployment will be very tough.
I also know that sometimes it is best if I stay away from people. It's not because I'm trying to push people away, it's to protect them. Once I hit a certain breaking point, my filter kicks off and I will tell people off. Since this usually means that I am stressed out beyond belief it also means that I will usually misunderstand what they mean. Having said this, I think medication will help curb some of that a bit.

7. The music you listen to really does carry weight in how well you do emotionally. When I hit that point where I sunk into depression - that is when I stopped listening to primarily Christian music and began to listen to secular again. While I do enjoy some stuff, I also think it is important to listen to encouraging and uplifiting music as well - never is this more important than when you are raising your daughters by yourself for a year or so.

8. Don't make snap decisions when it comes to the kids. This holds true during deployment and even when it's not deployment. I find that if I wait a bit before responding it gives me time to think about all the aspects of a situation or a request from the girls.

There will be more in the months to come. I will once again write about how to help a family with a deployed soldier in time as we get closer to deployment.

I hope you all have a very good weekend.

Love in Christ,

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