Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The 5-Step Method to Not Freak Out after an International Incident

First off, Congratulations to Hannah C. who won the Major Giveaway from Harlequin’s MIRA of Five Print Books thanks to our fellow Navy Wife and Author of “Yours is Mine” Amy Bird. Thank you Amy for that generous giveaway and for sharing with us about your Navy Wife and writer experiences and Congratulations Hannah C.! You will be contacted by email.

So I had commented at one point that today I was going to post about Navy Girlfriends making friends, but I realized that one of my other posts Navy Girlfriends You’re Not an Outsider covers that topic, so instead I’m going to write about the prevailing news right now and how that effects Navy Wives and Navy Girlfriends.

What’s happening in Syria right now is really scary. Click here for the full story but basically, Syria is a country in a civil war. This has been going on for a while, and all the other countries have basically stayed out of it, until August 21, 2013 when the Syrian government allegedly used sarin gas on a suburb of civilians in Damascus because it was believed rebels were in the area. For those of you who don’t know what sarin gas is, it’s a poisonous gas that melts your skin off . . . yeah, it melts your skin off . . . and attacks your nervous system forcing your body into spasms that break your own back and that's just some of the affects. 

Damascus - A Major Syrian City where the Sarin Attacks Occurred 
photo credit: khalid almasoud via photopin cc
If you have ever seen The Rock with Nicholas Cage and Sean Connery, it’s the stuff used in that movie. Yeah, that stuff is real, and it was used on women and children, so the world is kind of pissed off about it. Several countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, have discussed intervention. Now, I am not commenting on what we should or shouldn't do, and I am no political analyst, so I'm not commenting on what I think will happen. As of this posting, these are the most recent news articles on the subject: President Obama: America's Credibility on the Line in Syria and Obama Wins Backing for Military Strike but Congress to Vote Next Week.
If you didn’t read my I’m no Longer a Navy Wife post, then you may not know it, but my husband left the Navy after 11 years about a month ago, and yet my first reaction to all this Syria stuff was fear that my husband would go to war. Well, actually my first reaction was horror that sarin gas is real (I thought it was exaggerated in that film) and horror that human beings would chose to use it on innocents. Then my second reaction was, will my husband go back in to the service and go to war? (Note: I'm not saying that involvement means war, but when your frightened your mind leaps to the worst situation not the likeliest.)

I'm sure I'm not the only woman out there having that reaction because it's not the first time I've experienced it. We almost all probably think at at one point whenever something like this happens and every Navy Wife has and will experience it. For many Navy Wives, this initial reaction led to tears as their husbands are a month or so away from returning from a six-month long deployment and now they are wondering if homecoming will be canceled and their loved ones will stay out for another six months. For others it's wondering if he will be called away to go out for a unplanned deployment any day. For Navy Girlfriends who have never experienced any of this stuff, well I’m sure not knowing and letting your imagination go nut is leading to all kinds of concerns.
photo credit: thefuturistics via photopin cc

This is one of the unpleasant things about being the woman at home. International incidents can and do happen all the time. It's a part of the military life. They may have nothing to do with our government, but our country may still get involved. When you are with a person in the military, international incidents suddenly have the potential to directly impact your life. Anything could happen at any time, and you have no control or say over where they go or what they do at that point.

So how do you deal with that? Live day to day with that and not freak the $%@# out when a situation like that does occur?

1.       Don’t believe the rumors. You will hear all kinds of stuff. People will say we are going to war and that such and such carrier or sub will stay out or come back or such and such squadron will be deployed. Don’t believe or spread anything you hear even if it’s coming from Sailors. I'm saying your husband and boyfriend might even relay you rumors. Don’t believe it until you get official Navy word. You can take your Sailor's words a little more seriously, but I still wouldn't take it as fact until I hear something official. This is a good rule for all things in the Navy. Things can and do change at the last minute all the time.
2.    Don’t forget about OPSEC! (Operational Security) It’s easy to chime in onto all the Facebook conversations and blog posts popping up on Syria, intervention, or going to war. All of a sudden your world might be turned upside down and it's news! Everyone is talking about it. You are living a part of it, and it’s really easy to get carried away. It's okay to talk about it and vent that way. Just don't give away any information that you wouldn't want a terrorist to know. Don't repeat rumors, don't discuss Sailor, carrier, or sub locations, don't discuss anything that could potentially endanger your loved one. The reason is that in an online world, you never know who is reading this stuff. You might think you never would endanger your Sailor, but when people get riled up, they'll say stuff without realizing that it can endanger people.
3.      Don’t obsess! Don’t glue yourself to the TV or the online news. Try your best to stay occupied and busy until official word comes down about what will happen next. Otherwise, your getting all worked up about all the what if's, and it's just a waste of your time and energy. It’s okay to stay informed, but cut yourself off at a certain point. Trust me, the news isn’t going to give you official information about you and your family before the Navy does. You may even hear something on the news that makes it sound like one thing is going to happen and it doesn't.
4.     This is nothing new. Remind yourself that these types of things happen a lot, and most times they blow over without anything happening or changing. Here is a list of International Conflicts – some of these we have gotten involved in, but when we did it wasn't a huge thing (excluding one incident on the list). Still, most of the incidents on this list, we have not gotten involved in. Most of them you haven't even heard of.
photo credit: The U.S. Army via photopin cc
5.     Accept that this is a part of the life and be proud of yourself for dealing with it. It’s honorable and important that you – YOU – are sacrificing your comfort and sense of security by simply agreeing to stick with your Sailor even though this is a part of the life. Not everyone has the strength but you do. Cry if you must, be afraid, freak out even, but at the end of the day be proud of yourself for sticking it out. Consider your freaking out as your service. The fact that you are there supporting him is a type of service to your country, and this is a country that does not do horrific inhuman things to its civilians. That’s something to be proud of. Be proud that you help to protect that.

Discussion: What are you guys thinking? Feeling? Freaking out about? What was your first reaction to all this? What can you add to this list? Don't just want to comment but want to discuss? Pop on over to the Facebook Forum and have at it! I'm keeping it OPSEC safe so you have nothing to worry about. =)

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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.

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  1. Thank you for this, Ben and I have been together since we were freshmen in high school when he joined I was so proud of him but after the last two years it's been getting harder and harder. Reading this makes me have more faith in myself and him, I'm excepting in January and know I wont be able to fly out to see him when the baby comes. I appreciate this more then you will ever know. Thank you so much! I also didn't know a lot of the benefits if we get married (which is more then likely soon).

    1. Dear Lakeysha,

      I'm so sorry it's been hard lately, but you have the strength to get through it. Sometimes things get hard and it feels like we are not strong enough, but the fact that you are there enduring those hard parts proves that you are.

      Keeping you and your Sailor in my prayers.
      Stephanie Carroll


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

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