Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Calling All Navy Wives for a Deployment Challenge!

If you’ve read my blog before, you may have seen me talking about my deployment action-plan, which I am now calling the Navy Wife Deployment Challenge, and I am writing this special post to challenge you to join me.

In this blog, I write about those little experiences that make us Navy Wives feel crazy and ways for us to embrace those natural experiences and overcome them. Some of my posts have talked about the Hermit-Effect – that bizarre tendency to isolate yourself and never go out while he is gone; Deployment OCD – that need to check everything five times before you leave the house but only when he’s on deployment; and Port Madness – freaking out with worry and jealousy while he’s in port and feeling guilty for feeling worried and jealous while he is in port.

So what’s the deployment challenge? My husband is scheduled to go on a deployment soon. While he is gone, I plan to combat these deployment side-effects by forcing myself to get hobbies, stay in touch with friends, make an effort to go out at least every other weekend, pursue a major project (publish my first novel), not allow fears and anxieties get the best of me, and not put my life on pause waiting for him to come back.

photo credit: mikebaird via photopin cc
But I’m not the only wife with a deployment coming up or who is already dealing with deployment, so I’m challenging you to join the Navy Wives Deployment Challenge 2013. All you have to do is make an effort to get out of the house and fight back against those deployment side-effects that turn us into loons then come here and write about it. Post your success and your challenges in the comment section of the Navy Wives Deployment Challenge page of this blog or if you really enjoy writing, join me. Go to my guest blog page and find out how you can write a guest post for the Unhinged & Empowered Navy Wives blog.

I and my readers would love to hear how you survive deployment, and I would especially love to see some experiences from Navy Wives with children since I don’t have any yet and can’t share that side of the deployment equation.

I don't care what it is you do. Start playing softball, run a marathon, travel, learn how to ride a horse, learn how to play the guitar, star fire dancing, take a painting class, go to one of those zombie walks, anything that you have always wanted to do but don't usually have time for, or thought it wouldn't be fun without him, and especially anything you have never done specifically because you're in deployment mode. It might be as simple as going to a fair or a wine tasting without him. Start planning now and share your plans in the comment section. It will keep you accountable.

Really challenge yourself though to get out there and do something fun during this deployment. I can’t wait to see the adventures we get into! 

I’ll be reporting my experiences regularly, and I hope to start seeing your posts too. 

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About Stephanie Carroll
U&E Founder & Author
Buy Her Book A White Room!
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.

Learn more at and connect with me @CarrollBooks on Twitter, Facebook, or on Pinterest!

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hi Stephanie,I've been dating my sailor for four months now, and he left on deployment recently for the next six months. Going into our relationship I thought I knew how hard it would be for us being away from each other so long. I was so wrong. I don't think any significant other is aware of how hard it is to be away until they experience it. My life went to always spending time with him and when we weren't able to see each other always talking to him on the phone everyday to barley speaking to him at all. I cherish him. I love him and we plan on getting married next year. I just hate not being able to hear the voice I love so much. When I do get to talk to him its short brief email letting me know he's okay. I don't have anyone I could really talk to about it. My family isn't really supportive of our relationship. His family is, but they live ten hours away. I know when he comes back it will be one of the happiest moments of my life, but how do I get through the next six months without him? My world revolved around him, and that sounds bad, but when we first started dating I knew we only had a limited amount of time together until he had to leave. So I wanted to spend every second with him. I know there are support groups I just have no clue where to start. I feel silly too because we aren't even married yet, but I'm still with him. I'm still going through him being gone and away. Marriage before he left had came up and we thought about it. As much as I would have loved to marry him then and be his wife today. I didn't want that to be the reason we got married. I want to experience planning our wedding with him, and not being rushed into it. We both agreed to wait.

    1. Hi Christina,

      I believe you also commented on another page but perhaps retracted it as it did not appear when I approved it, but I wanted you to know I did receive both.

      First I want to say that you deserve a huge hug and some kind of cash prize, perhaps one that comes with a trip to a tropic island. You are a strong person and you can certainly handle this situation.

      To start, gather support like your are collecting stamps. It is hard to figure this out at first so don't feel bad. Definitely visit our Facebook support group: Beware other online forums, check them out before you put yourself out there. Some of these groups are filled with unsupportive people and that's not what you need.

      It's difficult sometimes to reach out to friends because you fear you are a burden (we all do) but don't let that stop you because if you do you will isolate yourself which is worse. Make a list of people you know who will be supportive, contact them and ask them to be your support, let them know that you are afraid of being a burden and ask for their help. Tell them that you don't want to burden them and this will open up the communication so you don't have to fear burdening them. They will let you know if you are. You can also try to rotate through your list so your're spreading out your support needs.

      It's also good to connect with others in your situation because sometimes you feel like your civilian friends don't get it. The Facebook group will help with that but you may also want to connect with your Sailor's shop's Family Readiness Group which although is made up of wives is also usually open to girlfriends. Ask your Sailor to get the email of the FRG president and the Ombudsmen. The Ombudsmen is the official liaison for families and she will keep you up to date on everything going on with your Sailor and squadron and you can go to her for support and help. I once had my only car break down and these wonderful ladies drove me around until I got the situation figured out. They are there to help.

      Finally, it is understandable that your world was all about him before he left but now it's time to make it all about you. Make it a goal to pursue a big project or goal, take a community education class, enroll in college if you have/want to, put together an art series or write a novel. It probably feels like you have this huge chunk of time that you have nothing to fill, this project will fill that hole and make time move so much faster. I highly recommend doing at least one thing with other people, like joining a book club or taking an art class or something like that because the socialization is huge for survival.

      To that end, also force yourself to step outside of your box and schedule time with friends. A part of you wants to hide in the house in your pjs and watch pride and prejudice over and over but it's far more helpful for moving time along if you are out with people. Schedule trips to visit friends who have moved away or if you really want to get crazy, schedule a trip with a friend to somewhere you've always wanted to visit.

      These are by far the most helpful things I have discovered for surviving the deployment and you can survive it. Give yourself more credit than you think you deserve and remember that the moments when you think you are being weak or crazy are actually the moments that you are being strong because you are enduring all of this for him.

      Reach out anytime you need.
      Wishing you and your Sailor all the best in the future!
      Stephanie Carroll
      U&E Founder & Author


I love, love your comments and questions! Just remember to not mention any security info about your Sailor! Thank you!

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