Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Ten Ways to Deal with Fear While Home Alone During Deployment

Day 020 by Holly Lady via Flickr cc.
A good friend of mine recently reminded me of how frightening it is to be alone during a deployment. She lives in the mountains and now that her boyfriend is away, she's terrified living there alone and is actually moving in with a friend to escape that fear.

The first time my husband deployed, I was so terrified being along that I had nightmares about intruders and attacks.

We've grown up living with families, and then for many of us the next step is moving in with a roommate or a boyfriend. Then suddenly ... 
you are alone.

Don't feel bad for being afraid. It's perfectly normal and reasonable to be afraid when you've been with others for so long. Nevertheless, it's no fun! As a wife who has overcome her fears of being alone, I'm going to share my best tips for defeating this fear, so you can live your life even during deployments.

1. Get a Roommate or a Pet
This isn't always an option, but it's probably the easiest in many ways. Facing your fear is a little bit tougher, emotionally. You won't have to deal with that if you can move in with a friend, or back in with your family, or actually rent out a room. You can do this before the deployment, so you get used to your roommate or you can do it while he is on deployment.

That might seem scary, so go through friends to find someone or get someone over while you do interviews and only interview people you feel seem less threatening, like women.

Pets can also be useful because they make it feel less like you are alone. Also a big dog can help you feel safer in general.

2. Check It Out
You come home to an empty house and are freaked out about someone hiding inside, or you hear a weird noise and are scared that something is upstairs. Check it out. It's scary at first, but the best way to overcome these fears is to go see for yourself. If you just hide that fear will keep poking at you. Eventually, you will come to recognize that no one is there, and that noise is the cat or an old pipe.

Now checking things out when you are scared may conjure up horror movie tropes, but the next step will help with that.

3. Call Someone
I used to have buddies who knew my situation and who I could call when I got freaked out. If I heard a noise or felt scared when I came home, I kept them on the phone while I walked around and checked things out. It was really helpful not only because I had a lifeline but also because they could help talk and distract me from my fear as I went through opening closets and turning on lights.

4. Establish Helping Buddies
Contact several people and establish them as your emergency freak-out call buddies. You should have several in case you can't get a hold of someone. Have people you can contact when you are scared but also people who are nearby who can come running to help with either an emergency or if you just need general help like a broken air conditioning. 

It's good to set these buddies up beforehand because when you get scared, you often feel like no one will understand, or you don't want to burden people, but if you have already told them the situation and told them to expect these calls, you and they will be ready for the follow-through.

You might be surprised to discover many are happy to do it. A lot of people hear your situation and wish they could help but what can they do? This is something they can do. It's also an immediate confidence-booster to know you think of them as a person who can keep you safe in some way.

5. Keep the Lights On and Get Some Noise Going
When my husband leaves, I keep the lights and television on at all times. I keep the drapes closed, and a couple lights on so it looks like people are up in the house. Plus, I can see stuff if I hear a noise.

However, for the most part, I won't even hear those scary noises because my TV is going! It also helps me feel like I'm not alone, plus distraction. If you are not a television fan, music, the radio, Youtube, or Podcasts are good too.

6. Make Plans, Be Prepared
You know when you watch a horror movie and you say, she should have grabbed a gun or she should have run out of the house! Well think of those things and come up with plans for yourself. I used to sleep with a knife by my bed, and I always took a phone with me, even into the bathroom.

Think up emergency escape plans in case there is a fire or an intruder. Prepare for these plans. If you have a fear of an intruder breaking in while you are in the shower and then being unable to run out because you are naked (yes that was a fear I had), keep some spare clothes in there. Keep a spare phone in there. Whatever makes you feel more comfortable.

7. Don't Worry If You Feel Crazy
Keeping "run for your life" clothes in the bathroom and doing bunch of other weird stuff might make you feel like a loon, but so what? It's not like you would do this normally. It's just temporary. And seriously, if you have to endure a deployment, you get some extra slack for acting weird! 

Also keep in mind, this is stuff you won't always feel like you have to do. My husband can leave now, and I don't carry around a knife or have pants in my bathroom anymore. I'm not as afraid after all these years.

8. Take Security Measures
If you can afford it, install a security system. They are getting cheaper and really efficient with new technology like doorbell cameras and glass broken sensors.

If you can't afford the high-tech stuff, there are still things you can do to keep your home more safe and feel safer too:

9. Get Techie with Safety Apps
Things certainly have changed since my days as a freaked out Navy Wife. There are all kinds of apps out there that are designed for people who are trying to stay safe while alone. Poke around and see if any are right for you.

10. Arm Yourself
If you really want to get serious, get a gun carrying permit and learn to shoot. Buy pepper spray or a taser, they are really cheap. Or look up local self defense classes. They area really common. You just have to Google. Or Youtube it! Although I highly recommend you go to a class because you won't know if you are doing it right without a legit trainer.

Overcome Your Fears For Good!
This is the hardest one of them all but with more exposure to your fears the less afraid you will be. Having my husband go away isn't frightening any longer. I can even find reasons and ways to enjoy the solitude and quiet. So even if you are afraid now, do not worry. With time you will overcome those fears.

Face Your Fear of Being Home Alone

Face Fears In General
9 Ways to Face Your Fears in General

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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.

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

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