Let me start by saying this: whatever you’re feeling is OK. If you’re feeling like a depressed military wife, that’s OK.
Military wife life is hard sometimes. Deployments are hard. Not seeing your spouse for weeks, months, or years is hard. Being a mom is hard sometimes. Managing home life and work is hard. Connecting with your spouse is hard, even when they’re home. Marriage is hard sometimes.
I’m an avid believer that our thoughts create our experiences–that you can create the life you want by changing your thoughts and feelings, which impacts your actions and results. I also understand that to live the whole human experience, we have to experience positive and negative emotions. It’s part of the deal.
Military Wife Depression: When to Seek Professional Help
Before I dive into how to be OK with not feeling OK, I want to make it very clear that I am a certified life coach, not a mental health professional, nor is this medical advice. If you are struggling with severe depression or harmful thoughts toward yourself or others, I encourage you to find a therapist today.
If you can’t function at your normal level because of your depression, a therapist can provide the tools and resources you need. If, however, you feel like your military spouse depression doesn’t keep you from getting through your day, but you want to improve your experience as a military wife, keep reading.
Military Wife Depression: When to Allow Yourself to Feel
We all have days when we feel sad, lonely, unproductive, or unmotivated (like a depressed military wife). We all experience pain or hurt at some point. And sometimes, the fastest way to move through those emotions is to accept and feel them.
While I have lots of blog posts and podcast episodes that teach you how to manage your mind and change your thoughts, today, I want to talk about letting yourself feel whatever you’re feeling, whether it’s military wife depression, annoyance, fear, sadness, worry, or anything else. Rather than judge yourself, hide from your feelings, pretend you feel fine, or stuff it down, here’s what I encourage you to do instead.
How to Feel Military Wife Depression by Allowing It
Storytime: last year, my husband and I were in a low spot in our marriage. We were struggling to connect and communicate while he was home. We couldn’t even blame it on deployment. We were both struggling individually, which resulted in our relationship struggling.
I had hurt my back and felt mentally “lower” than usual–more discouraged and down, not managing my mind like I usually do. I was in a vulnerable state physically and emotionally.
My husband was working through his own things and wasn’t sharing with me because he’s an internal processor. I need words. He doesn’t. And when he’s going through something personally, he has a harder time giving me what I need (understandably so).
And while I know this about him, I still started guessing–coming up with really painful reasons he was behaving like he was: not saying terrible things to me, just not saying anything to me at all.
This had gone on for a while, and one day, it came to a head. I was swimming in painful thoughts about my husband and marriage. I was choosing to think hurtful thoughts about what his behaviors meant about me and our relationship. I was so sad and hurting so much–and knowing he saw my pain and didn’t comfort me hurt even more.
So I laid in my bed and cried.
How to Move Past Military Wife Depression by Feeling It
I was tempted to make myself stop crying, to hide it from my husband and kids, to judge myself for thinking such painful thoughts. I knew I was in so much pain because I was thinking incredibly painful thoughts, so why not just change my thoughts? I considered it, but just then, a new thought popped into my head:
It’s OK that you’re in pain; you’re thinking really painful thoughts.
This thought changed everything about my experience. It allowed me to relax into my pain instead of fight it. It opened me up to the pain I was feeling without judging it. It removed the mystery of why I was feeling it, even though it didn’t remove the pain.
I watched myself continue to think painful thoughts and cry, but the intensity began to ease. It still wasn’t fun. It was still hard and painful, but the more love and freedom I gave myself to feel, the more beautiful, profound, and meaningful the moment became.
You can hear more about this experience in Simply Resilient Podcast episode 105: LISTEN HERE.
Feeling Like a Depressed Military Wife is Not Your End-All Be-All
There are many reasons you might feel like a depressed military wife right now. Studies have shown depression in military spouses to be higher than in the general population, with 92% of spouses reporting increased stress and 85% reporting anxiousness and depression during deployment. As I mentioned, if you experience military spouse depression daily and it impacts your ability to function, I encourage you to seek professional help.
But if you find yourself experiencing hard and painful feelings as a result of painful thoughts you’re thinking, I encourage you to remind yourself that it’s OK.
- It’s totally OK to think unproductive thoughts.
- It’s totally OK to think sad thoughts.
- It’s totally OK to think whatever you’re thinking and feel whatever you’re feeling because you’re human, and it’s part of the human experience.
As a human, you’re empowered to choose how to handle these feelings. Ask yourself: Do I want to manage my mind, or do I want to open myself to the feeling, knowing I’m choosing thoughts that are creating it? Neither is right nor wrong.
If you decide to allow and feel your emotions, just be sure to eventually move through them by changing your thoughts when you’re ready. If you want help learning how to do that, schedule a free mini coaching session with me today. You’re not alone, and I would love to help you navigate your thoughts and feelings to experience the military wife life you crave.
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