Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Best Five Alternatives to Freaking Out During a Deployment

Notice: Starting next week I will be posting every other week, so next week there won't be a post. As many of you know I am publishing my debut novel A White Room, and it's coming out in June, so things are getting pretty hectic, and it's difficult for me to write quality content for you guys every week, so I will be alternating between The Unhinged Historian and Unhinged & Empowered Navy Wives because I don't want to make you read dribble just so it can be on a weekly basis. =)

I greatly appreciate all of my regular readers and subscribers, and I hope this reduction in posts isn't too upsetting for anyone. ; ) 

Thank you all for reading!

photo credit: Loca Luna / Anna Gay via photopin cc
It's like the universe is actually waiting for a deployment so it can go to work and try to drive you crazy by having everything that can go wrong, go wrong. Every single deployment I've gone through, there has always been some kind of urgent situation that I have no idea how to handle. It's the type of thing that when it happens, your first instinct is to get your husband to help even if that means writing him an urgent email. But your efforts are always fruitless because he is generally twelve hours ahead or behind you, so when you're awake, he's asleep.

After years and years being married in the Navy and having experienced many cruises, I really tricked myself into thinking, I was above those types of emergencies and wouldn't have such an extreme experience this time. Yet, no matter how much Navy Wife or life experience you have, the universe shall bring you to your knees during a deployment.

It started when my internet went down. That day I had a unbelievable amount of problems that had to be dealt with via email, but it wasn't too bad because I had my smart phone. I actually remember thinking how in the past, losing internet would have crippled me during a deployment, but with my trusty smart phone, I could continue to check my email and read detailed instructions from my husband about how to get the internet back up . . . that is until that night when my phone died and wouldn't turn back on.
photo credit: charliebarker via photopin cc
At that point I still tried to remain calm. Sure everything was going wrong, but I had endured emergencies before during a deployment and got through it, and I would get through this one too. So I did would anyone would do at that point. I got drunk.

So, next morning I woke up hungover and still having to make an effort to not panic when I got to my sink and guess what? No Water!!!!!! I think this is about the time that I lost it.

 How could all that go wrong all at once? How come this kind of thing always happens when he is deployed? You can not help but feel helpless, useless, and like in some way you failed. Why when he leaves, does everything fall apart? Am I really such a failure at taking care of things? He never has to go through these things and it happens every time he leaves. It must be me.

I talked to my neighbor about this while he helped me fix my water. He is an officer in the military and so is his wife, so he too experiences deployments from the spouse's side. I told him these things always happen when my husband is away.

My neighbor's reply was, "No, these things happen all the time, but when he's here it's no sweat for him. Trust me, if it was the other way around things would happen to him that you usually take care of, and he would be crippled."

"Like what?"

photo credit: caddymob via photopin cc
"Like when the kids get sick. My wife could handle it no problem, but it's a complete disaster for me when she is deployed."

I thought about this insight and it is true. There are many things that I take care of that my husband panics over. I've received urgent phone calls from him while he's at the grocery store!

This means that when things go to hell, we as the wives have not failed in some way because we weren't properly prepared or trained or knowledgeable enough to deal with the problem. What it does mean is that we are constantly becoming more prepared, more trained, more knowledgeable to handle life's little emergencies. What wife knows how to fix a dryer, or can install a wireless router, or knows how to work her sprinkler system better than her husband? A Navy Wife, that's who.

So the next time you are in crisis, try to remember that it's not because you failed, and it doesn't make you powerless. You are a Navy Wife. You are one of the strongest women in the world, and you can, do, and will handle anything.

Top Five Things To Do During Your Emergency Instead of Panicking 

(Based on True Story)

1. Stop Panicking.

If you have a big emergency like I did, there is a point when you realize you are going to have to wait to fix it - wait until morning, wait until your neighbor gets home to lend you his cell phone, or whatever. It's very easy to spend that time waiting in a frenzy of worry. Don't do that. Stop, put on a movie, drink a glass of wine or have a beer. Try to chill. But don't get carried away, trying to fix an emergency while hung over sucks! Trust me. I know. =)
photo credit: j.lee43 via photopin cc

2. Call a good friend. 

Vent and cry. Have her come over and be with your during this if she can. What's an emergency when you got a friend with you for support?

3. Call for help.

There is no shame in calling someone for help. When I first became a Navy Wife, I found calling for help very embarrassing but I'm telling you don't be embarrassed and before he deploys set up people who will be your emergency go-tos. Everyone is very sensitive to a Navy Wife in need and always drops everything to lend a hand. Shoot, I told my internet company that my husband was deployed and they were all over that problem!

4. Take the day off! 

Don't try to go to work or continue the laundry or cook dinner. Give yourself a freaking break while you try to deal with this disaster! Afraid your boss will be pissed. Tell them your husband is deployed and they will shut up!

5 Don't talk negative to yourself.

photo credit: boskizzi via photopin cc
Think positive thoughts. Repeat to yourself over and over that everything will be okay, and you are a strong independent Navy Wife who can handle anything! I started out thinking nothing was going to fix my internet and I would be cut off forever, but then I caught myself and started to repeat over and over that this would get fixed, this will get fixed, I will have internet. Whether that was what got the internet up or not soon thereafter, who knows, but the time I spent thinking I wouldn't have internet felt dragged out and hopeless whereas repeating that mantra made the time until the internet came back up less troubling.

I wish all my fellow Navy Wives disaster-free deployments, but if you are a Navy Wife you know that's probably not going to happen, so instead I wish you easy emergencies and easy fixes.

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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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