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Struggling? You Aren’t Alone

Once upon a time, someone started a ridiculous rumor that military spouses should be the strongest people on the planet because asking for help and verbalizing life struggles are signs of weakness. What a silly fairy tale, right? Unfortunately, so many of us (myself included) have believed this “story” to be true for much too long, and instead, took the struggling path.

Today, I want to encourage each and every one of you: If you are struggling with anything, please know that you are not alone.

In the grand scheme of things, I’m very blessed. I have a supportive and loving husband, two children, and a professional life that is fulfilling. But, that doesn’t mean things are easy. Life is not all sunshine, lollipops, and magical unicorns that poop rainbows.

Sometimes life is just the poop part.

We all have challenging moments, and sometimes those challenging moments turn into days, and the days can turn into a season.

At that point, we have to do a courageous thing and verbalize our struggles. Asking for help or telling someone our frustrations can be one of the most encouraging, burden-lifting, mental-health saving things we can do.

So what keeps us from talking to our doctor, counselor, pastor, chaplain, etc. about our personal struggles? I think there are several “lies” in our hearts that need to be dethroned:

1. “I don’t have it as bad as _______, so I should be able to handle this.” 

This is the age-old problem of comparison. We look at other peoples’ problems or challenges and, because they seem “worse” than ours, we convince ourselves that if they can do it, we can do it. But that is comparing apples to oranges! We don’t know the whole story. Our personalities, background, life experiences, and the other stuff we don’t see has a powerful impact on how we cope with things. There is not one scale to measure the hard stuff of life. Things like infertility, the newborn stage, raising toddlers, deployments, professional life, learning how to live with a no-plan plan, loss and grief, substance abuse, adultery, marriage, anxiety, depression… Every single issue is different. So you do you and take care of you.

2. “I’m a military spouse. I should be stronger than this.” 

Ugh. This one totally grinds my gears, mainly because I convinced myself it was true. Things like “embracing the suck” and “keeping calm and soldiering on” all have their place, but sometimes we need to take a time out and realize that we don’t have to be everything to everyone all the time.

3. “It’s not their problem. I should deal with this on my own.” 

Look, friend. Here’s the thing. There are resources out there for you, me, and our neighbor down the street. If we were meant to be alone in our struggle, there would be no need for Military Family Life Counselors, Family Life Centers, Chaplains, churches, pastors, Military OneSource, private counselors, medication, or therapy, but all of these are booming. People are literally getting paid to help others, and often insurance will cover the entirety of their services. Asking for help or speaking out in hard seasons is an economical business decision. Let’s capitalize on it!

 

 

Friends, this isn’t a post about seeking sympathy—it is a post about solidarity.

When I shared some of my recent struggles with anxiety with my primary care doctor, he was encouraging and affirming. Much to my surprise, he didn’t respond with, “Take a knee, drink some water—you will get through this,” or, “Suck it up, Buttercup.”

Do you know what he actually said? “Let me just say that you aren’t alone in this. I see many military spouses for this exact same thing, and we’ll take care of you.” 

Did you hear that?! We are not alone! We aren’t crazy! We all struggle.

My doctor started me on a low-level dose of medication to help with my anxiety, and I’ve entered into counseling for zero dollar bills (thanks, TRICARE!). I’ve only been working on all this for a very short amount of time, but I already feel like a new woman.

Honestly, I can’t believe I waited that long to say something and reach out for some additional help and support. I struggled by myself, fighting in my head, for way too long. Now I’m on the path to freedom, hopefully which includes encouraging others who are in the same boat (or at least in a nearby lake).

Readers, be brave, be courageous—verbalize your needs. Share your heart. And please, be encouraged that if you are struggling today, you are not alone.

Author

  • Sharita Knobloch

    Dr. Sharita Knobloch has been married to her beloved infantryman husband for 12 years. She holds a Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling: Pastoral Counseling from Liberty University. Sharita is mama, a smallish dog owner, aspiring runner, writer, speaker, and spiritual leadership coach. She has been with Mission: Milspouse (formerly Army Wife Network) since February 2014. In 2020, she was named Armed Forces Insurance Fort Bliss Military Spouse of the Year. Sharita gets really excited about office supplies and journal shopping, is a certified auctioneer, overuses hashtags on a regular basis with #NoShame and frequently uses #America! as a verb.

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Supporting Our Military Children

Supporting Our Military Children

One thing that has been most important to me, as a military spouse, is figuring out how to best do this life while supporting our children with the changes and difficulties. When my children were very small, there were many times that my husband was away, and I had to parent my children alone.

Mission: Milspouse is a
501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

EIN Number: 88-1604492

Contact:

hello@missionmilspouse.org

P.O. Box 641341
El Paso, TX 79904

 

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