Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How to Survive Back to Back Detachments

I told one of my readers that I was going to write a blog about the hermit-effect (as I’m calling it) of deployment, but I’m going to save that for next week because the one-week turn-round is literally happening to me on my blog writing day so can’t stand to pass it up. Look back next week for the hermit-effect, and the explanation of what that means.

This Friday is my husband’s and my eighth anniversary, which means I’ve been married into the Navy for eight years (my husband is at 10 years) and this is the first time I have experienced The One Week Turn-Around. This is when your husband comes home from a detachment and then leaves for another one about a week later. Ok, technically he was here for about a week and a half, but that would be too much for the blog title.

Obviously, there have been some frowns and tears because I don’t want him to leave so soon but the really crazy experience has been going through the homecoming psychological process and the deployment/detachment psychological process at the same time!

photo  ©2008  Arnoooo, Flickr
So the mental process for homecoming is kind of crazy because you are super happy that he is home and there is this second honeymoon phase where neither of you can do no wrong. Everything is put on a pause at first. Then after a few days or weeks, that starts to wear off and you begin to feel irritated with one another—he’s being messy, he sweats when he sleeps, he just bought a bunch of crap at Costco that you do not need—and you can tell he’s getting irritated with you too, but both of you are still feeling a little uneasy about being picky or demanding so soon after homecoming.

You feel guilty but then you feel you shouldn’t feel guilty and there’s a lot of back and forth. Then comes the time when you start being picky and demanding and he does too, and you both have to learn to compromise and change your worlds around to fit one another yet again.

That’s the process in a teeny, tiny nutshell, like a peanut shell. There’s more to it, but I need move on.

photo  ©2008  Steffen Zahn, Flickr

The deployment/detachment mental process is a lovely combination of denial and depression. It starts when you know it’s coming, but you just don’t want to think about it. Then as it gets closer and closer, you start to feel sad and longing. Then comes the craziness of wanting to spend as much time with each other as possible before the departure, but having this need to get away from one another because you are mentally preparing to be alone. You feel weak, and you are crying, and you know you have to be strong and don’t remember how you ever did this crap before and poof he’s gone.

It happens so fast—usually you haven’t fully prepared for it. He usually leaves and you have this sense that you should have done more, touched him more, kissed him more, hugged him more, but the few days leading up to it, you couldn’t just spend the entire time hugging and kissing him and if you’re like me you even had to withdraw a couple times to do something by yourself, like watch TV or read a book, and of course you feel guilty for doing it.

Again, tiny nutshell.

For those of you who have experienced these processes, you know they can span several months, weeks at least, and even though you are aware of them, it’s not something you chose to do or can control. It just happens. It’s a mental process. So cramming those two involuntary mental processes into less than two weeks—yeah that was kind of CRAZY!

photo  ©2008  Bill S, Flickr

I’m giddy he’s home, but I’m all irritated with his crap all over the house and simultaneously feeling like I should be cleaning to help him out—but hey you’ve been home for a while you clean—well no your leaving in a few days—I should clean and cook lavish meals since you’re leaving—wait I cooked all last week. I should be all over him to get as much love before he leaves, but I’m all depressed and feel claustrophobic and—don’t touch me! I love you, please don’t be mad at me—wait, did you just seriously ask for a foot rub? Please take care of that giant hornet’s nest baby—I love you—how can you possibly not remember which drawer your own socks go in? I can’t believe I’m going to be alone again. Well at least I’m still in the groove of him being gone; it’ll be easy. OMG, this is so hard. Ok, just get it over with a leave all ready! No, don’t leave me!

It’s been slightly . . . dizzying.  =)  

Then he’s gone. I do a slow turn around the house, which looks like it’s been hit by a tornado—didn’t I just clean the crap out of this place for him to come home to a nice house? And if that isn’t crazy enough, when he gets back, we’re going to do it all over again. Yep, he comes home for a week and a half and leaves again. Oooooo. Ok. Take a few deep breaths and remember, you're not crazy. You're a Navy Wife, which means your brand of crazy is actually called strength.

So how many quick turn-arounds have you guys done and how crazy was that experience? 


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About Stephanie Carroll
U&E Founder & Author
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Photo by Randy Enriquez
I dated and married my husband in 2004 when I was 19. I felt like an outsider for the first half of our marriage. He didn't understand what I needed to know about the Navy, and I didn't know what to ask.

After ten years of learning in the Navy, I founded Unhinged & Empowered. I wanted to spread the knowledge that I needed when I was new, to reveal what took years for me to learn.   
Cover Design by Jenny Q
In addition to being a Navy Wife, I am also a novelist. I write historical women's fiction.

My first novel A White Room debuted in 2013 and is about a woman forced to sacrifice her own ambitions of becoming a nurse to marry a man who can save her destitute family. He moves her to a strange, small town where she slowly succumbs to madness until she stumbles on an opportunity to nurse to the poor despite the fact that her husband prosecutes unlicensed practitioners.

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  1. Poor poor baby love! I'll clean more next time I promise! Ill remember which drawer is my sock drawer! I love you! Oh.... Happy Anniversary.

  2. Thank you baby and Happy Anniversary! Introducing my husband everybody . . . he's awesome and so supportive of me and my blog. He reads every post and he's joking about cleaning and stuff . . . he knows it's not me complaining. I'm using real life examples that are actually kind of humorous. I love you baby and will always support you know matter how crazy I become. Kisses!


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