Originally published to Milspouse Conversations – 11/25/19
Let me tell you all a secret about me- although I am usually Little Ms. Sunshine, sometimes that’s a front.
I married very young.
My husband and I were high school sweethearts from Podunk Town, Mississippi. He wanted to join the Navy, and because that was his dream, I eagerly followed. I had no idea what military life entailed. No one close to me had ever served. Hell, I thought that (one of my all-time favorite movies) Top Gun, was the Air Force because of the pilots. I simply assumed that if you flew a plane you were in the Air Force. That’s how green I was.
I’ve held it together through most of the years. Many moves, babies, promotions, deaths, and deployments later- here I am.
I Harbored Resentment Toward My Husband
My husband has the Navy- and I have myself and my three kids, along with the absolutely amazing people I have met along this journey.
For a while, I did harbor a certain amount of resentment toward my husband. Even now, it’s hard some days. I’m here in good ole’ Tennessee with a full-time job as an office coordinator, various volunteer commitments, a side business as a Wine Guide that I am trying very hard to hang on to motivation for, a 9 yr. old girl with high anxiety, a 19 yr. old who knows it all, and a 5 yr. old who has the attitude of a 21 yr. old, while my husband is deployed overseas.
This is where my passion for mental health surfaces.
Not only am I handling all of this the best that I can, but I was also diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder a couple of years ago.
This isn’t the “I’m pissed off one minute and smiling the next” bi-polar that so many people get confused about. This is the real deal folks. This is the “I’m so happy and hyper that sometimes I can go for days with no sleep, clean EVERY SQUARE INCH of my house, and scale a wall side, to the wake up one morning and can’t move from my bedside”. I physically cannot get up out of bed to do something as simple as shower. This is the manic depression side of bi-polar and can last from a few days to weeks. The higher the high, the lower the low. How true this is.
I Make Sure I Practice Self-Care
It’s a really crappy feeling when you have zero control over your own emotions. Luckily with therapy and the correct medication, I can mostly control this disorder. I still have to make sure I self-care by avoiding certain things in life that make my emotions spiral ridiculously out of control. It’s even harder with a nine-year-old baby girl who has horrible anxiety and is a mama hen. She “mamas” me to death some days. Because of her anxiety, I don’t always get the luxury of the meltdown I need some days. She feeds off my life fire with oxygen. So while I can internally meltdown, I can’t do it physically.
Sigh….this is everyday life for me. It’s a struggle some days to just exist. However, I keep my negativity to a minimum, because quite frankly, dumping my negativity in someone else’s lap isn’t going to make my day any less shitty.
I’m not telling you this so that you will feel sorry for me
Quite the opposite, actually. I’m not one for pity or sympathy.
I’m telling you this because I know I often portray that I have it together. That I am Little Ms. Sunshine and all is well and beautiful and bright in my world. I’m not superhuman. I’m emotionally shredded, can’t seem to cry another tear, big open-hearted blubber of a mess that loves everyone and has really bad days sometimes.
I pick myself up each morning, put a smile on my face because well, I fake it til I make it, and carry on smartly.
Why do I do this day after day?
That’s simple enough to answer.
1- Because I owe it to myself,
2- because my kids are watching everything I do, and
3- because other people have it much worse.
We don’t always have to have it together. WE can all have really bad days. It’s OK, natural, and needed to take some time to lay low and lick our wounds. It is not, however, OK to unpack our bags and live there.
So for today… it’s a rough one, and I assure you- although I may always appear to have it together…..I promise you…… I. MOST. CERTAINLY. DO. NOT.
And guess what? That is OK…………..
Rebecca Hyde is a Navy spouse of 22 years. Her husband, three kids, two dogs, and a partridge in a pear tree keep her quite busy. A professional volunteer, she dabbles in a bit of everything, but the non-profit Dependa Strong is where her passion is. She co-founded Dependa Strong in 2018 in hopes of encouraging other military spouses to be transparent about their own struggles with mental health. “No one knows the unique struggles faced by our military spouses better than a fellow military spouse. Together we can take charge of our mental health and well-being. We share a common bond and can only grow stronger when we lean on one another.” Raising awareness, having compassion for one another, and encouraging people to reach out to what Dependa Strong is about. Although Rebecca’s husband will be retiring soon, she fully intends to remain involved in building a stronger, more resilient military family, one spouse at a time.
Join her in her continued efforts to strengthen our military families.