January 25th has been designated “Let’s talk” day, a day to raise awareness about mental health and the stigma surrounding it. This morning on Facebook I read the posts of some military spouses who are dealing with mental health issues. I commend them for talking about it. Mental and emotional stress can take their toll on us.
Moving is stressful. One British survey suggests that moving is the most stressful event after the death of a close loved one and the stress of moving can last three months after the move has completed.
Imagine not just moving from one house to another, but moving across the country or to another country. You have immediately doubled or tripled the stress. You have no family or friends in the new region. Now, imagine that you do not speak the language in the new region. You are not familiar with the culture in the new region. You are an outsider.
When arriving in this new place, you are expected to set up house, get the kids enrolled in school, and find a job. All of this can be overwhelming. Even trying to figure out how to get your trash and recycling picked up can be a time-consuming challenge because every municipality does it differently.
Managing your financial affairs, trying to find a health care provider, helping with children’s homework all when your spouse is deployed or on exercise (during this time it is most likely that the water heater will explode and the car will break down) is stressful too.
Depression can set in when you realize that your life is a blur and you feel you’ve got nowhere to turn. Anxiety can set in because you are always on edge in anticipation for the next stressful event to arrive. You don’t feel that you can confide in your friends, either because you’ve lost touch with them since the last move, or because you’ve just met them. Additionally, most civilians have no idea what military life is like. There is a three month long waiting list to see a therapist in your new city.
If you’re a military spouse reading this, please know you’re not alone. Even though we all go through it, we’re all different people. Get help. It’s tough, but stay strong.
You are welcome to talk about your issues in the comments below. Feel free to use a pseudonym if you wish to remain anonymous.