Deployment diaries – PTSD: It was just over a year ago that we said our final goodbyes to Jake in the parking lot of his local In-N-Out Burger. I can, however, feel the emotions as if it was yesterday. Understandably, I cried as we drove out of the parking lot. While saying goodbye, I tried not to cry. After all, I didn’t want my soon-to-be-deployed son worrying about his mom. He already had enough to worry about.
I can’t say that it’s ever easy to leave him, but last year it was a million times harder. There was a finality to it that comes with the great unknown of what his deployment would bring. We’ve all watched the news, and read the stories and one can’t help but worry that something similar will befall their loved one. When we left him, we left not knowing when he’d be leaving. All of those details had to remain unknown until the very last minute.
Now that he’s home and safe, the weight of the world has been lifted from my shoulders. Nevertheless, I can’t help but reflect upon the stress of his extended deployment and the weight comes back. Suddenly world events became an insurmountable source of stress. I found myself worrying to the extreme or angry that the press ignored missiles that were launched his way. It’s an odd feeling to be both angry and worried. Moreover, it’s not an existence that one can sustain without losing their kind. I found myself having to unplug.
As we settle into the post-deployment space, I worry about him and his colleagues assimilating back into regular life. After living with a heightened sense of alarm for greater than 10 months, I can’t imagine how going back to normal must feel. In their post-deployment meetings, they did two through the stages of assimilation, which is good. Nevertheless, the specter of PTSD for anyone deployed is always present. Jake and I have talked about working through the stages and burying one’s mental and emotional health during these transitions. Fortunately, my boy has the best commanders and shop in the business. They have taken care of him better than I could have ever hoped for; for which I’m forever grateful. For now, I’ll relish having him stateside. I love it!