Louise's Blog


My thermostat broke

It has been a while since I last managed to write any words…nearly a month to be exact but the truth is my thermostat broke. I was explaining to a friend recently and the best way to describe how I felt was like a radiator thermostat, it regulates things but mine broke and I couldn’t regulate my emotions or feelings for a while.

I was sad, irrational, lost and just a bit broken.

The thing is my husband is a habit of mine. If you smoked for two years my assumption is it would be easier to give up then if you had smoked for 10 years…I met my husband when I was 18, we’ve been married 15 years I find it harder to be apart from him the longer he’s in my life.

When real life stuff  happens that is when I find life with him not in it the hardest, some health things came up for me and our daughter, I needed my husband and he wasn’t here. It isn’t all about me through this deployment it isn’t a bed of roses for him either, he also struggled because he wanted to be here more than anything but being 3,530 miles away he couldn’t be.

I needed to dig deep, call on friends and family, get reflexology, stop blogging and concentrate on wading through the days until the sun shone again. Feeling so alone is the worst feeling in the world, not being able to have a cuddle when you need one and only having your own thoughts whirling round in your head is consuming.

As I forever say though tough deployment times can’t last forever, they are temporary moments in time and chapters you WILL look back on as the pain fades and wonder why you found it so hard. (I absolutely promise this happens, I have been there so many times….in October my blog will be ‘What was all the fuss about’)

We aren’t completely through the woods yet, we have two months left of this deployment, the move is creeping closer and I have done nothing and there are still some health bits and pieces ongoing but I am not waking up with a dark cloud over me every day now.

What changed? How did I turn the corner?

There is no magic wand but for me seeing our countdown chart looking more full of crosses and moving into the single figure weeks to go really helped me see that there is light at the end of the tunnel, I now feel like this deployment won’t get the better of me….I CAN DO THIS. We are no longer counting how long he’s been away but how long until he comes home!

I have learnt the manipulation of time too…I count down in all different ways; weeks, calendar months, 4 week months, weekends left… ANYTHING to make it sound like less time to go!

The sunshine also helps, the self care helped, the giving up alcohol helped, the not constantly talking about the deployment helped and being honest with a couple of family and friends about how hard I was finding it also gave me the strength I needed. I am eternally grateful to those who continually pull me out of dark deployment holes, thank you.

We have also reached the point in deployment when this is now our normal, I no longer wake up and instantly miss my husband, the truth is I can’t remember what it is like to have him here daily, to have that other person to think about because I haven’t had that for over 4 months now….time makes those things disappear. My husband hates this part of the deployment because it makes him sad and in the cycle of things it is short lived because it only lasts for a month or so then you become excited for their return. This state of normal has help me though, reaching this point it has become less painful.

Deployment really is a roller coaster and for me it never gets any bloody easier if anything the older I get the harder it seems to get, if you too are going through a separation and are finding it hard please don’t think everyone else around you is breezing through…I have lived this life for 18 years, done countless deployments and here I am still rubbish at it!

You are not alone, it is OK not to be OK sometimes.

Right now though I have my eyes on the end and I’m feeling a little refueled, well enough to get me through the next 8 weeks I hope anyway!!!

Louise xx

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About Louise

Louise herself served in the British Army and saw active service in Kosovo. Her husband is a serving soldier who has undertaken six operational tours of duty since their daughter was born in 2003. Louise is passionate about helping all the Little Troopers at home through the anxiety of deployment and also the stress of a long course or exercise having experienced first hand the impact it can have.

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6 Responses

  1. It’s been 18 years for me too. My husband is on his penultimate posting and is unlikely to deploy for any great length of time again. I totally empathise, I have not coped well with this lifestyle at all, and my mental health is not where I’d like it to be. I’m quite introverted and socially awkward too so haven’t fitted into the wags social groups. So I have found it all extremely difficult, lonely and quite frankly totally exhausting. It sounds like your friends and family look out for you, so it is up to you to let them know when things aren’t going great. It’s ok to struggle. I am glad you are now counting down to the end of the deployment. Just don’t be alone, there are plenty of shoulders to cry on and people to talk to, if you know where to look. Thinking of you, good luck xx

    1. So exhausting isn’t it and the emotional fuel tank really does empty as the years go on! Having been a soldier going away and the one at home I find being the one left behind definitely the harder of the two. So glad you have some stability coming up, we have a couple of years breather at our next posting too and I just can’t wait! Thanks for you comment, means so much we can talk about this strange life we lead together! Louise xxx

  2. Oh Louise, after a week of escalating grouchiness and anger, I too broke at the weekend. Saturday was mainly spent in tears. You’re right it doesn’t get easier, but no matter how slowly, time does pass. We have just 5 weeks left and they can’t go fast enough. It is emotionally and physically exhausting keeping the family and house, work, study etc etc running by yourself especially if you have no family or close network locally go call on. Sending you love and hugs and hoping the sun keeps shining for the next couple of months xx

    1. Time really does pass and that is the one thing you can always be certain about over a long deployment, for me the first three months are the worst then I don’t know it sort of seems downhill a little more. You have just 4 weeks left now and we are just behind you by a few weeks 🙂 sending lots of love xxxxx

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