200 Miles Is An Eternity

Lately, it seems like it’s every day that I wake up on the wrong side of the bed; either I’m in a cranky mood, or my depression seems like it is consuming every aspect of my life.  I rarely feel even the slightest hint of happiness anymore. I’m unsure if this is because I know that Jackson (read my previous post called “Over The River And Through The Woods“) is going to be sent back out at some point in the relatively near future or whatever the military wants, or if its just me getting tangled in the web of thoughts within my own mind. I know his temporary departure is inevitable, but it is beginning to drive me insane.

The distance.
The unknown.
The loneliness.
…the waiting; they all keep me on my toes, wishing I could have more information, that I could know when he is to come and go. The distance…over 200 miles separate us when he’s at his home base…miles that seem like eternity. Given that it is the military and that we aren’t married, I’m not allowed to know most things, like when he’ll be back from things like deployments, and technically, I can’t be on his emergency contact list (who they’d call/visit if something bad or unthinkable were to happen to him).  And then there’s the loneliness…there’s no way to really describe the loneliness of a military girlfriend. All I know is that it gets harder every day that I’m not with him. The more I struggle with my depression and trying to get my life in order for me to move in with him, the worse I feel. Sometimes I wonder if he sees it, if he’s tired of dealing with it, and how much longer he’ll put up with it. My depression is something I’ve had for longer than I’ve known Jackson…it began developing when I was 9 years old, I met Jackson when I was 16 (I’m now an early/mid 20-something).  The depression has always made me feel lonely and isolated, but the feeling seems to keep getting worse as time goes on with him so far away. Last but not least, there’s the waiting: waiting for everything from knowing approximately when he’ll be leaving for another military thing again, if he’ll be re-stationed, what’s going to happen if/when he re-enlists, seeing if he and I would make enough to afford all of our insurances, rent, bills, etc. when we finally do move in together. (I don’t want him to be paying for me, I want to split 50/50 rather than him 75% and me 25% although I only have a part time job [currently, that’s all I have time for; when I move, I will likely have time for more.] Also, I was raised to make my own way in the world.)

Okay, sorry for turning this into a rant…it’s over now, I promise.

What I’m trying to point out in this post is that many people might look fine on the outside, but feel like they’re dying on the inside. I act like I’m fine with the distance and everything with the long distance relationship and all the secretive military stuff, but in reality, it’s all killing me. I want to feel important, I want to feel included…I know Jackson loves me and that he’s a great guy, not trying to hurt me like this; that he’s considering the re-enlistment as a good move for future finances and whatnot, and allowing him more time to think about what he wants to study in college rather than jumping right into it after his first enlistment. Also, yes: I know I could say something, tell him how awful this military thing makes me feel, but he needs it for his future, and I will stick by him…I’m in this for the long run. You see, I don’t want him to feel badly, I want him to do this for himself and to pave the way for his future, but I don’t want to bring him down, I want to support him and his decisions.

Being a military girlfriend is hard, I’m not going to lie. Between hearing everyone talk about date night with their significant other or a first date, you begin to miss that and crave it; everyone getting engaged or married or having babies, you begin to feel even more alone. The distance is hard, the loneliness is hard…but the most difficult part, is wanting to tell them things like stupid stuff that happened during your work day, what goofy thing your pet did that day, show them a silly video you saw while scrolling through Facebook, and not being able to because you can’t contact them while they’re doing military exercises or deployed. I miss the nightly phone calls, the random Facebook tags in funny posts, the monthly/bi-monthly visits…curling up for the night and hearing his heartbeat as I drift into dreamland.

I’m not saying don’t date a service man or woman, I’m just saying it comes with a lot of generally over-looked factors. You have to embrace change, something that I absolutely despise. You have to be strong, stand up for your military man/woman while they are away and unable to. You have to be understanding, they usually don’t know what’s going to happen next until sometimes as close as the day before. You need to find support; it can be friends, family, coworkers, a group of military spouses/girlfriends/boyfriends.

If you are a friend of someone who is the girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse of a military person, don’t leave them even if they seem obsessed with their love, if they become annoying with their depression caused by deployments, exercises, etc. It’s hard to cope sometimes. I know from personal experience that it’s even harder to deal with it all when your friends and family stop showing interest in you because you’re slowly losing your mind due to the military expectations.

(As always, if you’re going through something similar or virtually identical and need someone to talk to, feel free to contact me, I’m more than happy to chat!)

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