Preventing Depression as a New Military Spouse

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Being a new military spouse can be extremely challenging to say the least. Becoming a military spouse is a huge life transition. The military community has rules and unspoken expectations that sometimes take time to learn. Trying to stay in control of all your new roles and learn the military culture, can become overwhelming.  On the outside it can appear as if you are holding everything together, but on the inside, you feel like you are struggling, trying not to fall apart. You are afraid what will happen if things keep getting worse, but you keep up the appearance that everything is ok. After all isn’t it normal to feel stressed?

So, you:

Don’t share your feelings with anyone because you believe that you have to be strong.

Believe that you have to handle everything on your own.

Believe others will think that you are not cut out for this life.

If you keep pushing down the feelings of sadness or anxiety until you can’t push them down any longer, these negative feelings will start to take over your life and you will start to feel distant from yourself.

As a military spouse, you will wear lots of hats and fulfill multiple roles. You are the foundation for your family and it is important that you take good care of yourself. When you don’t take good care of yourself it impacts every member of your family. You and your family deserve the best.  You don’t have to face your feelings alone.  The Military Spouse Advocacy Network (https://www.milspouseadvocacynetwork.org) offers mentorship to help you along the way. The organization was created specifically for you, to help give you the support you need as a new military spouse.

Improve your mood by:

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  1. Being honest with yourself about how you are feeling. Sometimes our emotions are like the proverbial elephant in the room. We know it’s there but somehow feel as long as we don’t mention it, the elephant is not really there.  The first step to improving your mood is to admit that you don’t like how you are feeling and that you want to feel better.
  2. Showing yourself compassion. Allow yourself room to make mistakes and grow. This is a new experience and like all new experiences it takes time to get in the flow of what is expected of you.
  3. Not being afraid to ask others for help when you need it. There is nothing weak about asking others for help. When you don’t ask others for help you fall deeper and deeper into despair. There are many resources available to military spouses to help you be successful.
  4. Creating your own unique life. Everyone in the military has their own unique experience, because we are all different. Create a life that includes the things you and your family love. Even if you can’t do them all the time, the memories, and looking forward to the next time will certainly boost your mood.
  5. Developing the skills you need to cope successfully with your new roles, can help prevent depression. Join a military spouse group online or face to face meet up. Create a playlist of songs that naturally make you feel better. Save a list on your television or purchase DVD’s that enhance your mood. Find a workout buddy or a walking buddy. Remember you are not in this alone.  If what you are doing to improve your mood doesn’t help, don’t be afraid to reach out. There is an entire community out there, that is waiting to help you!

Remember, depression doesn’t always come through the door kicking and screaming, sometimes it comes quietly, manifesting in feelings that we think will pass but do not. The following is a list of signs and symptoms of depression:

If you are:

  • Feeling: hopeless, irritable, excessively tired, guilty or persistently sad
  • Unable to: sleep, eat or concentrate
  • Thinking about: feeling worthless or suicide
  • Experiencing: weight loss, weight gain or lack of pleasure in regular activities that make you happy

Talk with a mental health professional. Mental health professionals (Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Psychologist, etc.) are skilled in helping you elevate symptoms of depression and improve your mood and get you back to enjoying life.

 

Carlie James Petrovics is a freelance writer originally from Georgetown, Delaware.-3.png