"A Manageable State of Anxiety"


I was talking to a fellow Army Wife last week. Her husband was deployed during the initial push into Iraq. He's back in Iraq now, his third deployment to that country. We were talking about how, for her, the landscape on the homefront has changed to reflect the progress on the ground in Iraq.

Suzie, we'll call her, recalled how nervous and uptight she was in 2003. Communication was extremely limited and, if you'll recall, we were all holding our breaths wondering if chemical or biological weapons would be unleashed on our troops. We talked about living in a perpetual state of anxiety. Suzie said that was an apt description of the first two deployments. Life went on, but the tightening in her gut never relaxed until her husband was home.

I pointed out that she mentioned the first two deployments. "What about this one?" I asked.

This time around, "I'm in a manageable state of anxiety."

Yes, there's always a fear of the worst happening, no matter where our loved ones are, Suzie noted. But, at least for Suzie, there is a sense that the worst is behind them and that a deployment to Iraq is fairly predictable. I think she meant predictable in military terms, which is indeed a strange animal....

Interesting conversation. I'm curious, for those of you who have experienced multiple deployments to the same location, has the way you approached and dealt with these deployments changed with each one? I realize that deployments are like snowflakes, no two are alike, but I do find from regularly talking with milspouses that there are a variety of factors we weigh when deciding how to "deal." For Suzie, it seemed to be mostly about measuring how dangerous and unpredictable things on the ground are. For some of us, we weigh the actual separation, and all that goes with it, more heavily. Each of us are unique and evaluate different criteria, or rank criteria differently, so there's no universal or right answer. What do you weigh, and in what order?

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