Balancing time between family and work is difficult for all professions, and it is normal to wish for more time to spend with friends and family. However, this balancing act can be even more difficult for members of the armed forces.
Multiple deployments and tours can make it challenging to find time with family and even affect what some consider “home.” Veterans are greatly affected by their constant movement — either by relocating between bases or being deployed on tour — and the emotional impact of deployment and displacement can stay with an individual long after being discharged.
Understanding the emotional effects of deployment is instrumental in combating prevalent feelings of displacement. Veterans and families alike will need to approach these difficult emotions to create a healthy, comfortable space to begin their civilian life.
The Stresses of Deployment
Deployment is stressful for all involved, from military personnel themselves to friends and families back home. Uncertainty and stress are common, especially for those expecting to engage in an active warzone.
Mentally preparing for danger has lasting emotional impacts. For families, the uncertainty of a loved one’s safety can induce waves of anxiety. However, deployment can be stressful for many reasons, some less overt than individuals may think.
Not Having a Place to Call “Home”
Being away from family is difficult in such a dangerous line of work. The constant moving around through multiple deployments, being relocated to different bases, and moving from place to place also carries an intense emotional weight.
As a result, it can become increasingly difficult to view a single place as “home.” Moving between houses and across states makes it difficult to build an attachment to any particular house or community, compromising a feeling of belonging.
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Missing Important Life Events
Depending on the length of deployment, a person can also feel its effects on an even more intimate level. Being away from family can cause members of the armed forces to miss out on personal goals or milestones, such as a child’s birthday or an anniversary with a spouse.
All of these things combined can make “home” seem like a difficult concept to truly wrap one’s head around, leading to feelings of barriers even after being discharged. Beginning life as a veteran can create prevalent feelings of displacement that permeate civilian life.
Veterans and Feelings of Displacement
After moving around and going on multiple deployments across an individual’s time in service, it can be challenging to see any one place as a consistent, comfortable home. Veterans often feel ostracized within their communities if they lack connection with others. The culture of constantly moving around can affect an individual’s willingness to engage in community events or build meaningful, lasting relationships.
While building a tight rapport with fellow service members is a significant part of military culture, changing status to a veteran can also leave an individual feeling as if they are being rejected by such established culture as well. This creates a feeling of displacement between these communities where individuals find it difficult to latch on to a sense of acceptance and belonging.
This feeling of displacement comes packaged with intense levels of anxiety, depression, loneliness, and isolation. The feelings can continue to impact an individual’s mental health negatively and may lead to the development of unhealthy coping strategies, such as the use of addictive substances. Combatting such a feeling is not easy, but there are always resources available to address this unique trial that veterans face.
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Finding a Place of Belonging
There is no easy way to overcome the emotional impact of years of deployment and moving between bases and homes. Transitioning to civilian life can be challenging.
Re-Connecting With Loved Ones
For those feeling the lingering effects of displacement and isolation, starting with building communication with immediate family members can be beneficial. Talking about these concerns and feelings of isolation is essential.
All members of military families can feel the effects of displacement in their own ways. However, by establishing this dialogue with loved ones, individuals can begin to address the issue alongside caring, loving family members and establish an emotionally safe space as one creates their new “home” atmosphere.
Dedicated family and rehab centers in Hawaii can help aid in this transition, introducing effective communication techniques and establishing healthy home practices to aid in this transition.
Finding Veteran Communities
Others may look to grasp onto some kind of familiarity as they transition to a veteran lifestyle. Finding dedicated veteran communities or recovery programs to address traumatic experiences is instrumental in connecting an individual with familiar culture and birthing the feeling of acceptance necessary to emotionally establish themselves in civilian life.
For some, these communities can be regular groups with local meetings. Others may look to online digital spaces to connect with others and continue engaging in a familiar culture while establishing a new home.
Multiple deployments and feelings of displacement are common among veterans of the armed forces. Navigating the lingering stresses of these experiences can be difficult. At Hawaii Island Recovery, we understand the challenges that veterans face each and every day, and we are committed to helping you address your stresses, needs, and goals throughout your transition to a healthy civilian life. Our dedicated veteran program is ready to personalize your program, helping you tackle the stresses of daily life, traumatic experiences from your time on tour, and the use of drugs or alcohol that may accompany these challenges. By creating an accepting atmosphere of peers and informed professionals alike, our rehab in Hawaii creates a space for you to take your first step in combatting the lingering emotional impact of deployment and displacement. Learn more by calling Hawaii Island Recovery today at (866) 390-5070.