Dear Ms. Vicki,
I recently turned 22, I've been in the Army for just over two years and I am currently at Fort Hood. About a year ago, I married my high school sweetheart and she moved down here from Chicago six months ago.
In the six months that we have been living together, we have spent a total of two months and 23 days together due to all the training events I have had to attend. I am writing to you because I need to know whether I am depressed.
Work is horrible. I go to work in the morning with a good attitude, hoping that I will have a good day, but before PT is over I already have somebody climbing down my throat about something I knew nothing about. I'm constantly getting yelled at, constantly getting in trouble and constantly arguing with someone for some reason.
Before I come home each day, I sit in the car and calm myself down by smoking a cigarette, then I come in the house with a good attitude. I cook dinner for my wife every night. I am a loving, kind husband and I try my hardest to give her what she wants whenever she wants it, even if we can't afford it.
I work side jobs on the weekends to make sure she gets the things that she wants and needs, but somehow we still argue every single day. We have not had sex in 422 days. At the most, we sometimes cuddle.
I have been debating every single day whether to divorce her. I am unsure about my marriage, my job, my family back home -- my life all the way around. I don't even want to go out or hang out with anybody. I would just rather stay at home and lie in the bed and sleep, or drink a 24-pack of beer and play my games.
I don't have anybody to talk to who understands my situation. None of my buddies who are married have ever gone through this with their wives. I wonder if my wife even loves me or if she is with me just to be away from her family and away from home. The only time it seems like she's actually happy is when I take her out shopping, but on my paycheck going shopping is not an option every week.
So the big question now is would you say that I'm depressed? If not, what would you call it?
-- Young PFC
Dear Young PFC,
Thank you so much for taking the time to read the column and to write to me. First off, it sounds like you are experiencing a lot of stress -- stress at work and at home. Moreover, you are away from your close family and friends and living in another state.
You're being yelled at all day at work only to come home to a wife who doesn't greet you with open arms. Instead, she wants you to greet her with an open wallet. And you haven't made love to her in over a year! Jeesh, let's be honest -- sex is a great stress reliever!
Now, let's answer your question: Could you be depressed? Well, yes you could be, and with good reasons. But honestly, I think it's more situational.
Your home life is where something is going to have to give. I would suggest marital counseling. If she doesn't want to go to counseling, then you should go by yourself. I hope you didn't marry the wrong young lady, but it does sound like she wasn't ready for marriage.
Lastly, don't go into any more debt trying to make her happy. You will definitely regret that. She should be the one working instead of you working additional jobs just to satisfy her.
Unfortunately, you will not be able to do much to change your situation at work -- it's the Army, after all -- but there are some coping skills that can help you get through each day: Take timeouts, use breathing and relaxation skills, exercise, and try to build a network of supportive friends at work. Please keep in touch!
Sincerely, Ms. Vicki