Overwhelmed Military Wife

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Q: Like a lot of questions that I’m sure have been asked: My husband is away for 3 months to another state then will be deploying to Iraq for many more months. He was gone just a little bit back for 3 weeks and to me, I felt like I was losing my mind. He is gone now and I’m trying to find if what I’m going through is depression or just a separation problem. I find it sometimes hard to think, eat (the 3 weeks he was gone before I lost 8 pounds in 1 1/2 weeks). I feel tired all the time. cry very often, feel hopeless, and even sometimes think of ways to hurt myself to help the pain of him being gone. My question is this depression or is this something that will need to pass
Thank You

A: I can’t make a diagnosis on the basis of a letter. I don’t know if this is a depression. I do know that you are having a very, very hard time. My best guess is that you are more worried about your husband being in Iraq than you are letting yourself acknowledge. Many, many wives (and husbands) feel much the same as you. Often the spouse left behind wants to be supportive and doesn’t want to worry the one being deployed. She/he bottles up feelings that eventually grow and overwhelm her/his ability to cope.

In military communities, there are often support groups where families in the same situation meet to talk with each other. I think you would find comfort and help in such a group. If you can’t find a group, I suggest you talk with the base chaplain or look for a counselor who works regularly with service families both for information about available services and for support for yourself. Please take care of yourself and make the effort to find the help you need. You don’t need to tough this out alone.
I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 14 Jun 2006

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2006). Overwhelmed Military Wife. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2006/06/14/overwhelmed-military-wife/