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Using Denial to Cope With Deployment

You’d think I’d be in full freak-out right now, the way deployment is chugging towards us like a freight train. But I’m not.

Instead, I’m living in the happy land of Denial. Here in Denial the trees are flowery, the sun is shining and I’m very slender and tan. Deployments do happen in Denial, but they are not troublesome or stressful – they are happy, low key and include romantic reunions free of heartache or arguments over why, for the love of God, he can’t remember to put the seat back down.

Denial is a lovely place.

The problem with Denial is that it is not real. For example, it’s actually raining outside. I am pale and 20 lbs. overweight. And the coming deployment is very stressful.

And yet I think, for me, denial isn’t a bad thing. It doesn’t mean I’m not physically ready  — paperwork ready – for him to go. All of our Powers of Attorney are squared away and our automobile insurance has been adjusted. For me, it just means that instead of getting so wrapped up in the fact that it’s coming, I just enjoy day-to-day life as if nothing was changing.

Because of denial I can spend my husband’s last days with us without thinking “are we using our time as well as possible?” It also helps avoid, to some extent, those super fun predeployment fighting matches.

It’s how I cope. I pretend it’s not happening until it’s there, hitting me over the head as my husband gets out of the car, kisses me farewell, tells me to take care of our babies, and walks towards the bus without turning back. Then I think about it. Then I let the sadness wash over me. But until then? I do my best to emotionally pretend it isn’t happening.

Have you tried denial as a coping mechanism?

About Amy Bushatz

Amy is the managing editor of Military.com’s spouse and family blog SpouseBuzz.com. A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for Military.com where she is an Associate Editor. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on NPR and in the New York Times. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.