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Deployment anxieties

Alice,

I recently found out that I am being deployed. I am so concerned with it every minute of the day that I find myself becoming depressed and overwhelmed. What are some good ways to manage these anxieties?

Dear Reader,

Being deployed and away from family and friends may stir up a wide range of intense feelings, such as anxiety, excitement, depression, pride, and anticipation of what's to come. While a certain amount of anxiety is expected for most people, in some cases, this anxiety can become overwhelming and interfere with your ability to function. Fortunately, there are various resources for members of the armed forces and a variety of positive coping mechanisms that you can use to help manage your anxiety.

Given that you mention feeling depressed and overwhelmed, it may be highly beneficial to seek professional help from a mental health professional, such as a counselor or psychiatrist. Professional counselors can help you work through your feelings and teach you how to cope, while a health care provider or psychiatrist may also be able to prescribe you medication that can help relieve or manage anxiety and depression symptoms. Since you're a member of the armed forces, you can also utilize the mental health resources that are offered by U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

Additionally, utilizing various relaxation and support-building strategies may help you manage your anxiety and depression on your own. Some of these strategies include: 

  • Practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, yoga, and meditation.
  • Talking about your feelings with someone you trust.
  • Surrounding yourself with people you care about.
  • Joining a social support group in your military community or in your local area.
  • Speaking with a local clergy member or religious leader.
  • Living a healthy lifestyle by penciling in regular physical activity, eating a balanced diet, limiting or avoiding alcohol, and getting adequate rest.

Furthermore, there are various online resources and books that were created for military members and their families, such as:

  • Courage to Call is an electronic health campaign that is dedicated to helping veterans, active members of the military community, and their families through information, guidance, and referrals.
  • The Military OneSource program, provided by the United States Department of Defense, is available to all active-duty, Guard, and Reserve members and their families. Military OneSource supports families during deployment and provides free counseling in the family's community, with a focus on stress management.
  • The National Military Family Association offers former- and current-military personnel, and their families, support by providing them with information and resources, as well as providing them with several programs designed to assist military families.

Remember — you're not alone. While depression and anxiety may seem overwhelming, they can be managed! And there are plenty of trained health professionals available to help you along your journey in the armed forces.

Wishing you peace, honor, and support,

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Last updated Jun 30, 2022
Originally published Dec 02, 2011

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