Here is a not-so-fun fact: Service members and their spouses are at a higher risk for depression than the general public.
Being a new spouse to military life can be a shock to your system: Where do you fit in? How do you make friends when you move every few years? What do you do when you’re so far away from your family and/or friends? And let’s not even talk about the whole new language to learn (PCS. OPSEC. MOS. TDY. Say what?) It’s like living in a foreign country.
Throw a deployment into the mix and you may find yourself with increased responsibility– for the finances, children (if you have any) AND worrying about your spouse’s safety.
Too often, new spouses don’t realize that the stress of this lifestyle– while normal– may be indicators of something more. Namely, depression.
Before my depression diagnosis eight years ago, I thought I was going through a rough time. I blamed my job and figured once I left, things would get better. Only the problem was deeper and it took a little extra help from a doctor to get back on my feet.
Know the Signs of Depression
The signs of depression vary for each person. How do you know if you’re depressed? You may be experiencing one or more of the following:
- change in sleeping pattern (either can’t sleep or sleeping too much)
- not finding joy in things you once loved
- no longer interested in hobbies
- overeating or loss of appetite
- trouble concentrating or remembering details
- feelings of despair, guilt, or hopelessness
- irritability, restlessness
- thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
Keep in mind that you may not have ALL of these symptoms– everyone is different. Personally, I slept close to 15 hours a day, had zero interest in anything outside of my home, felt completely hopeless, and suffered from migraines.
If you have any of these symptoms, please make an appointment with a mental health professional or your primary care doctor. You may also reach out to your Family Readiness Officer and a friend who is willing to listen.
You shouldn’t be ashamed to admit that you’re feeling down, sad, or depressed. A large majority of people suffer from depression at some point in their lives. Some are able to pull themselves out of it and some of us need a little extra help.
Who do you talk to when you’re feeling down?