When your spouse arrives home after a long deployment, chances are that everyone in your family will be dealing with varying emotions. While you may be thrilled to have your spouse home and feel excited and ready to jump back into your daily routine give them some time. Re-entering civilian life can be a significant challenge for military members. It’s not uncommon for families to struggle during this reintegration process. There are many ways that you can support and help your spouse as they transition back into civilian life.
Help Your Spouse Get Specialized Treatment
It’s not uncommon for veterans to return home with some mental and physical health issues. One of the most important ways that you can support your spouse may be to help them find the specialized care they need. By familiarizing yourself with the unique health issues that veterans often face, you can help your spouse. Identifying those health issues early and feeling supported can help you all take an active role in finding treatment.
For example, many veterans often experience musculoskeletal injuries and pain, but medication and physical therapy can often help. Noise and vibration exposure are also common and may result in issues like deafness, pain, and numbness. Some veterans may have also been exposed to dangerous chemicals or infectious diseases.
Many veterans also experience mental health issues from the trauma of having served. Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, are especially common. No matter where and in what capacity they served. Mental health issues can lead to secondary problems, like drug addiction, paranoia, and alcoholism. Your spouse may not be aware that they are experiencing mental health issues. So you may need to watch for these symptoms and help your spouse to get the help that they need.
Know How to Find Help for PTSD
PTSD in veterans can present with many different symptoms. Your spouse may experience negative changes in their mood, become jumpy and emotionally reactive, and try to avoid all things that spark those memories. Veterans with PTSD may also experience suicidal thoughts. It’s important to help your spouse find resources dedicated specifically to treating PTSD in veterans.
Treatment options for PTSD are still increasing and improving, but there are many available resources for military members. Virtual reality is even being used to treat PTSD in veterans. Through virtual reality, veterans can safely experience the environment that triggers their PTSD. Allowing them to narrate their trauma to a therapist and ultimately alter their behaviors, thoughts, and emotions.
Veterans may also benefit from using CBD for mental health. Though CBD shouldn’t be used to replace prescribed medicines, it can be a supplementary option. CBD can help to decrease some of the stress and anxiety that veterans may experience. It can also help to improve sleep quality.
Show Support Post Deployment
When your spouse returns home make sure that your support extends beyond the initial exciting homecoming greeting. Showing your spouse that you support them on this journey can help them to feel more comfortable. Helping them turn to you for the help that they may need. From celebrating Veteran’s Day to recognizing the sacrifices your spouse has made, you can support your spouse throughout the years to come.
While it may be tempting to jump in and try to help your spouse find a job or reconnect with their friends, remember that your spouse may not have those same priorities. Instead, have a conversation and ask your spouse about what help they need or want and what steps they want to take first.
Rather than immediately finding a job and jumping back into their previous lives, some spouses may want to take some time to reconnect with their families. Maybe your spouse wants to go on a road trip or take a short vacation. This helps your spouse make up for the time that they’ve spent away from you. If this is the case, you can show your support by helping to plan the trip, finding affordable travel options, and enjoying the time with your family.
View Reintegration as a Journey
Remember that reintegration is a process that’s going to take time, so prepare yourself to make that journey with your spouse. Every family’s journey is different, and unfortunately, there’s no one road map that can help you to understand how to handle the challenges.
A return to civilian life doesn’t always go smoothly for military members or their families. So if you run into some bumps in the road, you’re not alone. Don’t hesitate to find military counseling services to help you and your spouse navigate this time.
Ultimately, you’ll need to be patient with both your spouse and yourself during this process. With time and support, veterans can re-enter civilian life and life for your whole family will start to feel a little more normal.