Sunday, August 12, 2007

stage three

This morning I was "cleaning" and I came across a paper we were given a couple of months ago, when we found out about this deployment. (I say cleaning in quotations because it's not so much cleaning, as it's moving piles of junk from one room to another.) This paper explains the "emotional cycles of deployment". I thought I would just live in the first phase, summed up as anger, the entire time he was away but I seemed to have moved onto stage 3 without even realizing it. Darn. Let me tell you, the anger stage is much more fun than this stage is.

They say stage 3, titled "Emotional Disorganization" (ya think?!), is defined by these characteristics:
- Initial sense of relief
- Old routines gone- new ones yet to be established
- Feeling disorganized, depressed and restless
- May feel overwhelmed by family responsibilities

Woooo Hoooooo! I score 4 out of 4! I guess it's normal to feel like you've been thrown in a blender with the switch on high. I'm just trying to be that pesky piece of banana that won't get chopped up by the blades, no matter how many times you rattle the pitcher or push it down with a spoon. It's exhausting to be that banana, really.

You would think, after spending over half of my marriage away from my husband, that I would be used to this by now. But there's a big difference in him being gone for a few weeks or months and this. If he's gone a few weeks or months, I can just to maintenance and the basics to get by. It doesn't bother me to eat the same thing over and over for a few weeks and nothing needs to be deep cleaned so I don't need an extra hand to entertain the kids while I get high on bathroom cleaner or try to clean out the closet. I can just do topical cleanings to get by until I have consistent help again. There's no way I can do that for 15 months.

Besides all of that, there's an added element of stress, as he's pretty much a big walking bullseye for evil people to carry out their evil work on. That alone makes me lay awake at night, reminding myself to breathe. Now when I don't hear from him for a few days or hear a knock at the door or the phone ring I have to down a bottle of tums, wishing it was a shot of whiskey, and work really hard to remove my stomach from my throat.

The paper says this stage lasts from the time of deployment to six weeks after they leave. But if it's anything like me trying to get used to bringing a new baby home from the hospital, it will take 8 weeks to get used to our new life. So until then, you will have to deal with my "emotional disorganization". Lucky you!


Anonymous said...

Maybe it's all our fault for calling you JoAnna Bananna? You always were at the front of the your perfect stage 3 score doesn't surprise me; I just wish you weren't taking such a hard test. Big hugs to you and the kids. And remember the 600+ at your back!

Andrea said...

Funny, I did the same thing.. ran across that "stages of deployment" handout a couple weeks after he left and though "wow this thing is really true!" Weird. I think I tossed it, I wonder what stage I'm on now. I feel like I'm on the "seems like he's just never ever ever coming home" stage.

Joanna said...

Andrea, you're on stage 4 and yes, it lasts FOREVER! But the good news is that you should feel like you "established new family patterns and settled into a routine, developed new sources of support, your children have settled in, and you are more comfortable with your roles and responsibilities" Hang in there!

Andrea said...

Wow, that is right on. Who wrote this thing? Somebody who actually knows what they're talking about? Kind of hard to find that in the Army sometimes. Thanks for telling me about stage 4 :)