Most mornings, I wake up with a start. I look around my room and remember where I am. And then I tell myself, “everything’s okay.”
I know this isn’t normal. And I am undergoing treatment for my anxiety and nightmares. But it’s my reality after living for three years under what I can only describe as a personal hell.
I think I’ve been frank about how hard living in Italy was, but I haven’t shared how it’s still affecting me. And mind you, it wasn’t just living overseas, with only a few other American families nearby. It was the constant “hello-goodbye” that was our ship’s movements. Constant worry about being alone again, and the safety of my husband.
It scarred me, and I’m not afraid to admit and talk about it. If you think this is just a normal military life thing, I chose this, and/or you want to use this to tear me down, please just leave this post. I’m sorry it’s not inspiring to you! But this is real life and I know I’m not the only one struggling. (Sometimes I get messages like that, just a disclaimer)
Additionally, I feel a little weird about posting this right now – I am a privileged white woman. But everyone deals with their own anxiety, and I hope this can help someone today.
I’m not ashamed to say I’ve had a reintegration this past year after living overseas in a tough command. It was the two of those things combined. I had minimal time with my husband at home, I was raising a toddler alone, and also pregnant part of the time, and communicating and driving overseas was difficult. Difficult like someone tried to carjack me, and I feared for our lives. It’s actually common in southern Italy, and criminals target Americans.
I couldn’t even talk about that for a long time. I still don’t really want to. It was very very scary.
I’m finally not afraid to share some of this. Because I know with my sharing, I’m going to help others going through the same things.
God took care of us during these times, but I haven’t been the same.
I was so exhausted the entire time and the year after. Now I can see how tired I was. We didn’t do as much travel around Virginia as we wanted to during the 7 months we lived there. My husband was tired too! We had to recover.
He was gone all the time. On and off. One time for 11 months! Sometimes only for a few weeks, then being home for two, and leaving again. It is an emotional toll (not to mention what it was like for little O). And being on the ship so much was hard for my husband! It’s like working nonstop…in a box.
Being home alone so much was like working nonstop for me too. I had no break (until my mother in law, bless her, came to help when I was very pregnant). Maybe some moms don’t experience this, but it was a lot of pressure for me to be constantly “on call” for months.
Sometimes we didn’t know when he would have to leave or when he would be back, too.
This was constant stress.
Chronic stress is a cause of fatigue!
Our family is still healing. I am still healing. I don’t regret our military life or want to quit, but I sure wish it won’t be that hard in the future. I hope my nightmares and subsequent waking up panicked will stop. I’m getting the help I need, and God has really taken care of me with this last year of rest.
I have slowed down a bit on DevotionalDiva, but it’s been worth it. I hope you’re still getting enough encouragement!
On that note, I’m opening up submissions for fall and Christmas starting now! I’m combining these submission periods to give me a headstart, since we are…moving back to San Diego this fall!!! (I am so happy!)
Fall submissions can be about anything! Submit now while it’s open and check out our Become a diva page!
Our Christmas theme this year is “Anything Goes!”
That means any type of story or devotional — it must only be Christmas themed. God always delivers a theme to me for Diva Christmas, and I felt a more open-ended perspective would be nice. For more information on submissions, check out that Become a Diva page!
I’ll announce closing submissions when they are full.