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The Post in Which I Am My Own Psychologist, and Diagnose Myself

I have been having a lot of anxiety lately.  Situational anxiety, the acute kind, no panic attacks, but a looming sense of head spinning and feet with no traction.

Deployment.

So, I come to SpouseBUZZ where there are thousands of wives doing this under far more stressful circumstances, and I am going to try to explain my fears.

The last time I did this, I managed well, but it was exhausting, I had two children under two, alone for 18 months with no family.  Some of you may recall I wrote a post a couple of months ago about coming out of the autistic parent closet.  My oldest son has Asperger’s, this is not “new”, the diagnosis is new but his syndrome is not. He exhausted me the last deployment, mostly the knowing he was not “normal”, and he required so much extra attention. Let me add here, he was not a champion sleeper.

The deployment game changes when you have children.  I have been blessed to have my husband at home for a very long time, but now I am on the sidelines, and our time is coming. The game has changed because the children are no longer infants, or toddlers.  I will have a 7 and 9 year old this time, the needs are different, my job as a mother is different.  We have IEP meetings at school, therapy appointments, schools, scouts, lessons.  This is surely difficult enough when you run a “normal” household, but I have no idea how I will manage as a household with a child with some special needs.  WOW to those of you who have done, or are doing it, because it is far more complex. I can no longer anticipate the needs of the children.

I also have children who now have a relationship with their father, who know the meaning of the words war, terrorist, and bomb.

The anxiety was not quite in my power the other night. The night the time change happened, I turned to look at the clock and it read 3:20am. I wake at 6:30 to prepare the children’s breakfast, pack lunches, get myself ready for work and them ready for school. I then became even more anxious because of the insomnia. I need 6 hours of straight sleep these days, otherwise I am not much good any longer.

I looked at the ceiling, thinking about summer programs for the children, yet another meeting I need to have at the school for my son to participate in an activity, the dry cleaning notice, the bills, the dental appointments I need to make, and it kept flooding and flooding until my list looked like I have not done a thing for 20 years.

The next day I woke with 3 or less hours of sleep, not at all in a good mindset, and quite full of self-defeating words in my head. Words shooting at me like “no way can you keep this up for a year.” , you are older now who are you kidding?” I was exhausted. I managed to get myself to work, the kids to school, took them to the park and made dinner but I was spent. I did get to bed quite early that night, sheer exhaustion I suppose.

Sleep is a good healer.

The next morning I woke and managed a cup of coffee and some self inventory. I made a mental list of what I was most afraid of. #1, the loss of my husband, which sounds dreadfully pessimistic, but most military spouses have this thought, and I know most try and mentally prepare for it. My #2 fear was FAILING my family. That is what the anxiety was, fear of failing as a Mother, and Wife. I simply want to do EVERYTHING I can to keep us all on the road we are on. I want us all to keep climbing higher to reach our goals, I want us all to be happy, and calm.

Fear of failure. Who would have thought it could be so ugly? Failure is not an option, GAME ON.

About Rachelle

Rachelle began her Military Spouse career when her future husband proposed to her in a letter during Desert Shield. Mail took over a month to arrive back then, and they only had three phone calls with each other in the ten months they were separated. They were married at a small ceremony a week after he returned home. Rachelle's husband moved her to Ft. Bragg, NC, all of their combined possessions filling her small, two-door car. In 1992, they left active duty and moved back to their home state where she went to nursing school and he joined the Army National Guard as a traditional Soldier as he went to school. In 1999, Rachelle's husband was offered a full-time National Guard position in Arkansas, where they lived for eight years.

In 2002, their son was born (MFO Deployment) and in 2003, their daughter was born (OIF2). In 2008, they moved back to their home state to live close to family. Rachelle has been an active contributor with SpouseBUZZ since 2005. She currently works full-time at a physician’s office, and is active with her church and school's PTO. Her son has recently been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a subject that she is exhaustingly studying and learning to work with day-by-day. In 2010, Rachelle's mother-in-law moved in with the family, and they added a German shorthaired pointer named "Poncho" to the tribe as well. Rachelle enjoys spending as much "down time" with her family as possible - usually something outdoors or movie nights. Her favorite foods are sushi, steak, chocolate, and coffee. Her special skills include being an awesome cook, identifying odd accents by state or country, having an incredible sense of smell (almost bloodhound-like), and watching people at airports during long, unexpected layovers.

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