It’s okay to be sad.
I feel like I am constantly bombarded by misunderstandings (not you by you wonderful blog friends and readers, but by others in the world and in my life – this is not directed at anyone reading this at all). I will explain the title in just a few moments.
I am referring to how I am dealing with my boyfriend’s deployment, which is to say, not well.
I had the most amazing trip of my life in Phuket with him. We were closer and more connected than ever. It was full of more happiness and peace than I have felt for over two years. I felt beautiful. I felt strong. I felt loved. I felt safe. I learned so much there and it gave me so much hope and faith and trust in the future for his return.
I totally want to do more re-caps but that will come.
On my return home, my heart hurts more than ever. I wanted him to fly back with me and just stay. I felt, just one day after arriving home, the fear again. I feel afraid, terrified, anxious, and alone. I don’t even know what I am afraid of. I just know that I can’t breathe or sleep again. I slept so well there, for the first time in years. We did a lot of stuff, maybe that’s why. And I also just felt safe. And I swam every day. We had a pool right off our hotel room deck! And the water was sooo warm. 🙂
I only had one b/p there. One in 14 days, when I was doing it every day before I left for months. I didn’t even have many urges, and when I did, I felt strong against them. I even felt safe eating meals. I only had one panic attack there too, instead of multiple ones daily. It was so wonderful. I can’t even tell you. I felt so alive again, like my old self.
This gave me so much hope that when he comes home (and that when I move out of my parents house and am able to work on a job or school again too), I can conquer my bulimic behaviors. I know I will always struggle with my eating disorder, but diminishing my bulimic behaviors and panic attacks is what makes life worth living to me. That is my number one goal.
In some ways, in the 5 days I have been back, I have been really strong. I am doing a lot of imagery that I discussed with my therapist on Monday. When I get scared or restless or just to practice, I imagine I am still there. I imagine his arms around me. I imagine the strength and hope I had there, the smells, the peace, the scenery, the feelings. It helps me channel that strength and hope into here.
He took his leave late, 9 months into the deployment, and I am so thankful for that. It makes the second half so much shorter. We have roughly 78 days to go until he comes home, about two-and-a-half months. But in so many ways, coming home after this has caused so many more ACUTE feelings of sadness than when he first left. It feels like my heart hurts.
When he first left last January 2010, we had known that that is when he would deploy for about a year. So since January 2009, I was struggling with the whole build-up and anticipation of this. What I mean is, the stress was more chronic….which is not better AT ALL, just different. When he left, I almost felt a feel a relief that it had finally happened and the clock could now tick down. I felt guilty for this, but I have read that it is a really common feeling. It was like I was so numbed out, I didn’t even know what to feel.
Now, I know exactly what I feel. I feel sad. I feel like I was soaring in happiness and peace, and now I am just scared again, and so so so lonely. I can’t believe I have been through SO much.
On the days I have done okay, I practice my imagery a lot and channel that strength and peace. And I think over and over about how two and a half months is not that long at all.
Today I fucked up a lot of things though. I binged and purged again, twice. I usually don’t talk about that much on here, but I am just being raw today I guess. It is terrifying to feel like I had such control over that and now live in terror of it again. It feels like a demon that just gets me. Then it’s like I am so afraid of my own fear taking over, that it DOES take over because I panic. It’s like I am afraid of myself, or of certain parts of me at least. And I am having panic attacks again, a lot of them. I feel so scared and alone.
I have to keep loving myself to tell myself that it’s okay to be sad. If I have to hear one more person in my life tell me ‘Why are you sad? It’s only 3 more months’, I am going to scream. My mom said this today, one of my friends said it (who’s boyfriend is also in the military and got home in July), my future mother-in-law said it. I feel like it is an unspoken thought between my sisters sometimes.
If I could tell anyone else that is a military spouse, girlfriend, etc, it would be this: IT’S OKAY TO BE SAD. IT’S OKAY TO BE DEPRESSED. IT’S OKAY TO BE SCARED AND LONELY AND FEEL LIKE YOU CAN’T GO ON. IT’S OKAY TO BE DEVASTATED EVEN.
People talk about this military culture where soldiers hold all their feelings in, which thankfully B. is more open with me than many (which I think is so good for us – he doesn’t always get really emotional, but sometimes he does, but he will tell me honestly what happened in some of the hard situations he has been through, and I know he knows he can tell me anything he needs to).
But I feel like there is something that no one really talks about much: that the same thing goes on with military spouses (this includes significant others, I am just simplifying the term). There are FRG groups for each unit (that are meant to be support groups, with activities for the spouses and kids, etc). People in them are often so fake, it’s like a contest about who has the most status or who holds up the best. I know so many of them are hurting inside just like me. There is this unspoken code that you can’t talk about it because you don’t want to be a ‘downer’. I say, Who cares if you are a downer sometimes? You can have a balance between being down and being okay. I know I do in some respect. And while some people DO deal better than others, we have to let it okay to be sad. People have even implied that I need to find some other happiness besides him in my life. I DO have other goals and pursuits in life. But I CANNOT and NEVER WILL BE happy without him here. I never have been and I never could be. That is what love is to me, that shows me how much we love each other.
Society has this weird thing about how we all have to be so independent. But I would rather love fully and let this be THIS hard, then hold back and miss out on so much. Wouldn’t you? That applies to so many relationship, when between are afraid of committment and letting themselves be loved and giving away their heart. I still struggle with fears with giving away so much of my heart, but I am trying to get over that so I can truly enjoy my life and the good things in it. B. maybe seems to have less of a problem with this than me, lol. He old me he loved me after 6 weeks, that he wanted to marry me someday after 5 months. He makes me feel so special. 🙂 There are so many hard things in life, we all deserve to enjoy the good things, whatever that is for each person.
So I am not going to let people make me feel worthless or like something is wrong with me because I am unhappy without him here. Do I need a lot of reassurance? Yes. Am I dependent on him in some ways? Yes. I want that to be okay. He is my partner in this life, we are a team against everything. And I have to love myself enough to let that be okay and let that be something I want in life. It is part of the big balance I am always trying to achieve.
I hope this all makes sense. I hope this can change about how military spouses feel about themselves. It doesn’t mean you give up on everything. It just means that you don’t beat yourself up about being indescribibly sad that you miss someone, that you need them, that you love them with your whole heart.
Maybe it’s just me, but when people give me advice, I want to be told that
I think everyone accepts advice differently, and is almost looking for a certain kind of advice, often what they already know in their heart. We want to be validated. What helps you when people give you advice, what things are helpful for them to say to you? I will try to do my best to remember whenever you need support!
Russell Brand (you know, Katy Perry’s just married husband) just wrote a second book about his struggles with addiction. He said he wanted to be so real in his book because he finds it more inspiring to read about struggle and true feeling than about “lalala, I am so strong”. I totally agree. I gravitate towards blogs where people are real, no matter how hard they are struggling. It’s not that I want anyone to struggle. It’s just that we all have stress, even every day stress, and it’s okay to be human and let it out sometimes, even on your blog. It’s good for us! It releases it so the next moment can be a better one and there is room for the positive.
My happy thoughts for the day:
THANKS FOR HANGING IN THERE WITH THIS LONG CONVERSATION!