Emotional disorganization, or stage 3 of the emotional cycle of deployment, occurs during the first six weeks of deployment. My experience with this cycle, as the mother of a soldier, is different from that of a spouse; my husband is still here, my daily routine doesn’t change, and I don’t take on new responsibilities as a single parent and head of the household.
Although I try to prepare my emotions for my son’s departure, I can’t fully concoct, or practice controlling, the emotions that begin to flow once we have said our good-byes and I watch him walk away.
The thoughts and questions that I try to fight off always seem to slip into my mind in the first days and weeks of a deployment: Will I ever see my son again? I already miss him and the sound of his voice.
Josh’s last deployment was his third and I’ve learned new lessons with each. He received the best training in the world for his role as a combat soldier; I was not offered any training or preparation for my role as his mother.
I learned the hard way that when he goes to war—I face my own war at home. His war is physical, mine is emotional. Unlike my son, trained and confident, I was unaware and unprepared for the emotional battle that takes place in your heart and mind when your child goes to a war zone.
I struggled with this phase during Josh’s first deployment because I wasn’t prepared for the emotional trauma. I was overwhelmed with feelings of helplessness, fear, and sadness.
Stage 3 is appropriately labeled emotional disorganization. It was during this phase of Josh’s first deployment that I learned how to handle emotional trauma and I am now able to win the battle for my heart and mind. I share this entire story in Battles of the Heart: Boot Camp for Military Moms
I now spend the first six weeks of deployments practicing and reinforcing the truths and techniques I’ve learned to overcome the emotional trauma of deployment.
Filed under: Deployment, Military families Tagged: | Army Mom Tracie Ciambotti, Battles of the Heart: Boot Camp for Military Moms, military deployment emotional stages, military deployments, military families