What I meant to say about reintegration…

At last weekend's Live event in Norfolk, our panel addressed reintegration. Actually I think it was addressed by everyone but myself. And yet this is something I've dealt with before. As per my usual, it took me a couple minutes to come up with what I wanted to say. I just never got a chance to say it because we were off to other topics and lots of great input from everyone that came.

So I figured I would share here.

My friend told me once that I was so obsessed and worried and consumed over my husband being deployed and in Iraq that I neglected to enjoy my pregnancy and once our son was born, I basically neglected his care, or put it well below my worry and obsession over my husband.

Ouch. That was a hard pill to swallow. Even though I am pretty sure she was at the very least slightly inaccurate.

Yes, I did worry about my husband. I did carry the phone everywhere and panic when I didn't know its exact location. I even bought a pay as you go phone from a different carrier when for some reason his calls to my regular phone gave him a 'This is not a working number' message.

It was my first deployment. His last deployment had not been a good experience. It was important to me that he knew we supported him and I wasn't going anywhere. I wanted him to feel connected to what was happening back here.

I know that I wasn't failing to live and enjoy and care for myself and our son, but I do think that the 'deployment mode' I was living in for all of that time was part of our problem once he came back. All of the emotion and energy I spent focusing on his being gone was hard to let go. Once he was back in the same time zone and going off to work just a couple minutes away, it was difficult to understand why things felt so less than. Without realizing it, I was expecting to feel from him something like the effort I had been putting in during the deployment.

It took me thinking about my friend's comments to realize how much of myself was focused on making sure he felt secure and connected. And how it really wasn't necessary for either of us to be so amped up once he returned.

I'm grateful for this knowledge and really anticipate it helping me to work harder to mellow out once he comes home from our next deployment.

And so I was wondering, has anyone else found themselves struggling to get readjusted to having your spouse home and having no outlet for the worry and tension you had become so used to?

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Wifeunit is a past SpouseBUZZ Blogger

3 Comments on "What I meant to say about reintegration…"

  1. we PCSed right afterward, then there was getting the apartment together, then finding a job, getting used to it and then – poof – another deployment. So – the stress, worry and tension? never left.

  2. Guard Wife | April 13, 2009 at 8:31 am |

    I had a very hard time "coming down" from that level of anxiety of deployment after round one. A lot of it even centered on just loosening up the stranglehold I had on household & kid-related things to let him back in…I had a system & he was not part of it. It was not pretty.
    I know this deployment will bring with it lots of different emotions and stresses for a multitude of reasons. The anxiety will be different too, I'm sure. So, I'm interested to read comments from those who actually have something to add to the conversation so I can tuck it away in my binder for a year and a half from now. :) Thanks for asking the question!

  3. wasn't really being flippant earlier – just trying to remember how No stress feels. I do remember having to stop saying "but we do it this way"… or trying to correct him doing the laundry his way, or how he treated the dog or the cat. When he offered to do something, it was an effort to not give instructions! We treated each other as guests for a while, it was almost awkward. I finally had to sit down and have a discussion with him (and myself) and allow him back into the house and my life. My schedule, my regimen, my way of doing things had to re-absorb him, I needed to remember that this was his house too. I physically had to leave my phone at home, I made myself NOT turn on the computer the second I walked in the house, or the minute I woke up.
    The worrying – after we were finally settled – I noticed that I was still on pins and needles. When the phone rang, I still jumped, I watched the news compulsively, I still checked the same websites – and again I had to physically stop myself from doing so, I had to tell myself (sometimes out loud) Stop That. This deployment, I've slipped back into that type of life without much effort, almost as though this is normal, and having him home is – not abnormal- but different.
    But I don't have little ones at home, that's a totally different and difficult set of stressors.

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