In the military community we always hear about how depression affects the military service members. They come home from deployments, battle tired and worn down. Before long our headlines are filled with how 22 Veterans a day die by suicide due to some form of depression or PTSD.
With the recent events of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain dying by suicide after suffering from depression, it has begun to open up a much needed conversation.
Depression can affect anyone. Anyone.
It’s not just the Veterans home from war, the new moms struggling after birth, or the college students too stressed to study for finals. Depression knows no race, no gender, no age. Depression only knows humans.
With all the talk of everyone reminding others to check on your lonely friends and strong friends, there is a population that is often overlooked for many things.
Many of our friends will know us as the strong independent individuals who are professional volunteers or career chasers. What many don’t realize is that even though we are very similar to our civilian counterparts, there are parts of this lifestyle that can weigh heavily on us.
On average a military family will move every 2-3 years. That means every 2-3 years we have to search for a new house, rebuild our village, find our kids new friends, start new jobs, school, or volunteer opportunities. It’s every 2-3 years that we pack up all our memories into cardboard boxes and take them across country to our new location.
While we are strong, and independent, and fierce, and ready to tackle anything in front of us. This lifestyle can wear on us too.
Sometimes we struggle with saying goodbyes because we finally found our people. We found where we belong, we found a job we’re good at, we found our happiness, and in an instant it gets ripped away from us.
We move to a new location hoping for the best, but sometimes we struggle to find our footing, can’t meet anyone that we connect with, and your child hates their new school. You crawl into your hole and start hating this new adventure that was promised to be so good.
So we hide. We retreat to our home, to our safe place and stay put. But it won’t take long for the isolation to start eating away at us. It won’t take long for the loneliness to creep in, and despite our best efforts, we end up with depression.
Military spouse depression.
So while you’re out there checking on all your friends, don’t forget to check on your military spouse friends, and their children too.
Written by: Megan Harless, Hampton Roads Doula