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Hey y’all, i’m a female and i’m currently deployed out in the desert for the next 7 months. With COVID going around, I am restricted to base and they discontinued social gatherings or alcohol consumption. The food sucks, it’s hot outside, i’m missing my family, and every day is like ground hogs day. I feel like i’m getting really sad/angry and it’s only been 6 weeks. My bf is also deployed but he’s in Europe and he’s able to go off base to pubs, explore Europe, and have fun with his friends. With my situation, I feel like it’s causing strain on our relationship a little bit. I get annoyed easily when we’re on the phone and recently when he asked what was wrong, I told him my current situation and he tries to understand but he has no idea the level of suck i’m experiencing and I still have 6 months to go. He says i’m comparing myself too much to his deployment experience. How can I explain to him my feelings? And if anyone has been deployed, is there any advice on staying mentally healthy?

Edited by RegularMe
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Have a talk with your commander about finding things to do that would boost moral for the troops...maybe in your down time start a committee, share ideas, plan something. Make up some games, like horse shoes, a soccer game, card games. It doesn't make any sense to expect you guys to do drills, polish your boots, then sit there being bored.

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OIF II and III here. Believe me, you don't want to go down the road of comparing deployments and getting spiteful over differing levels of suck. All I ever knew was stateside training and, transport aside, Iraq. It's easy to get spiteful listening to people tell stories about Germany, Hawaii, Korea, Japan, etc. And yeah, it may be that it objectively sucks less for your boyfriend. It is what it is, though. We signed up for it. While it might be harder to internalize in the moment, I'd try to consider that if boredom is the worst you suffer, that's a good deployment.

 

As another point, once upon a time I was the kind of person who'd see my partner in a happier or more comfortable position than me and get jealous or spiteful. Could be that I was home sick and she gets to go out and enjoy brunch with her friends. She might have still gotten great gifts from her family for Christmas and birthdays while I get a simple card. If I hadn't consciously decided not to date while enlisted, it would have most likely been she wasn't a combat troop in a theater. Then I had to ask myself why I was upset. They weren't harming me in any way in order to be in a more comfortable place. There was nothing she or I could do to change the predicament I was in. Why would I see my partner enjoying something and hold it against them? When I dropped the whole misery loves company angle, I found myself a lot less miserable.

 

If you can't talk about your deployment without getting upset, and if hearing him talk about his gets you upset, then you've gotta do your part to find something worth talking about and which doesn't get you in a tiff. It also may be worth scaling back communication a bit. It sounds counter intuitive, but a lot of times it's too much communication that can hurt morale. But as far as things you can do, my Gameboy Color and copy of Pokemon Red got me through some otherwise pretty unbearable 16-hour QRF shifts. You could also take it as a good opportunity to buy some cheap textbooks or manuals and a notebook to get a head start in picking up some new skills. Or even as strictly leisure. Not only is it good for you, but you would then have more positive things to talk about.

 

Personal development is probably going to be your best bet in getting out of the depressive rut. If you really don't think you can, which is completely fine, I'd see if you can't reach out for some services at a company level.

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It’s definitely difficult to communicate with my s.o. since there’s not much going on. I wish the base would give us options to talk to counselors (this is whole nother topic to cover about the military taking care of its people). if deployments weren’t challenging enough, covid sucked the last remaining life out of them.

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He should understand you. I'm sorry for your struggles and frustrations. Continue to express your feelings to him. In the meantime, have outlets such as exercising diligently so help ward off your misery and depression. Hopefully, you can have moral support from your comrades despite discontinued off base social gatherings and alcohol consumption. Focus on health instead as a healthy body creates a healthier, more sound mind. (Sound body, sound mind connection.)

 

I've noticed that whenever I workout daily, I tend to complain less to those around me, to others and even to myself. There are times when I'm so exhausted from exercise that I don't have energy nor brain space to whine. I'm too tired. All I want to do is shower and feel mentally strong.

 

Thank you for your service, RegularMe. You are special.

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Thanks for your service! I appreciate the sacrifice. I'm sure it sucks and I'm really sorry

 

But I wouldn't let your situation and how bad you're feeling for yourself influence how you're treating him. Because in a way you're blaming him and making him feel bad. There's nothing that can be done to help you at least not from his side.

 

If you continue on making him feel bad it's just gonna mess up the relationship even more.

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Don't compare experiences, it's not a contest. I'm sure there will come a time when the roles are reversed and he is the one stuck somewhere he doesn't want to be while you are enjoying yourself. You are only making yourself feel worse and resentful of him. You should be trying to enjoy the time you have with each other, talking about things that make you happy, not focusing on what you are missing. Be happy for him that he can live a little more. You can even make it into a joke, threatening to get him sent back where you are if he gets out of line.

 

As for your situation, there are plenty of things you can do solo. Movies, games, online courses, books. See if you can't get something arranged to boost troop morale. An online gathering party for bases. Plenty of people are feeling stir crazy because of the pandemic. So an idea like that might be welcome. I know I've attended conventions online when I never would have been able to do it in person. There are all kinds of livestreams for music festivals. It might take a little research into whatever topic you're into, but you can probably find something cool to do.

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It's okay to vent a bit, but make sure you bring joy to the conversations because being negative 100 percent of the conversation might spell the end of your relationship. Think of positive things you can bring up, like coming up, as a couple, with a bucket list of places you'd like to travel to together on a vacation. Since you're bored, come up with new things you can do to enjoy life. How about journaling, or maybe you can even try your hand at writing a novel or short story if that sort of thing interests you. Learn a new language, maybe for the language of a country you and your bf are thinking of visiting. How about taking up photography and seeing how artistically you can capture images? People are attracted to people who have a passion for life, not someone who is always down, so learn to keep those things in balance for your own mental health and to keep friends and a significant other in your life. Thank you for your service. You are much appreciated.

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