Becoming a Military Spouse
My fiance recently joined the US Air Force. I have been dealing with Generalized Anxiety Disorder for years along with emetophobia. We are getting married in 2 months and I will be moving away from home for the first time. I am really starting to freak out. I am 27 and have never lived without my parents because of my issues with anxiety. I love my fiance more than anyting but I am reconsidering getting married because of the fear of leaving my home.
Reply from Sound-Mind.org
Thank you for your email! Anxiety symptoms can be so overwhelming that many people make decisions based on their fears and not really what they want to do.
Avoidance is such a huge problem with anxiety sufferers. Not only does it interfere with recovery but it makes matters much worse. Avoidance will only reinforce your fears and make your anxiety symptoms that much stronger the next time around.
Think of it this way - each time you avoid things due to your anxiety, you are giving your anxiety the power to make choices for you. With each decision you make to avoid, you are increasing your anxiety and making it a more powerful influence in your life.
It is very important when dealing with anxiety, panic and phobias that you continue to face your fears daily. This means deliberately taking the time each day to practice facing your fears and pushing yourself to do the work that it will take to get better.
When it comes to overcoming anxiety and phobias, repetition can either keep you paralized through repeated avoidance or it can set you free through repeated exposure using cognitive-behavioral techniques.
It is only when you repeatedly face your fears while reinforcing positive, truthful thinking, that you will begin to retrain yourself to overcome them.
It would be unfortunate and sad for you to make the decision not to get married because of your anxiety. You would actually be making a long term decision based on a short term problem.
Anxiety is highly treatable! Avoidance and the need to be around your safe people will only keep you stuck. What would be more painful is the emotional pain that follows by allowing your anxiety to dictate what you will and won't do.
Erin, I know I don't know you personally but I can completey indentify with the fears that come with being a military spouse. Being far from home, away from our safe people and surroundings is a scary thing. But the truth remains that when people do things they have never done before it's normal to feel this way.
There is always some risk attached to leaving home, getting married, having children, going to college, buying a house, etc. etc. I can list so many things here that could apply. You see, life is full of many differint things. We can see these things as reasons to hide and avoid or we can see these things as opportunities to grow into the people we want to be.
I have experienced anxiety while living far from home as a military spouse and I have experienced anxiety while being back near my family. Truth is - anxiety is just anxiety no matter where you are and it is no better or worse. Anxiety likes people to think that things could possibly get much worse and so they find themselves wanting to protect themselves from the big "what if". It's an exhausting thing to continually protect ourselves from our own imaginations.
I just want to encourge you to make decisions based on truth. Understand that when doing new things, there will be some amount of stress and anxiety. Consider this normal, especially when stepping outside of your comfort zone.
When it comes to military life, you will find that you are not alone. Many young adults find themselves in the same situation - far from home, in a strange place, away from family & friends. Should you decide to get married and actually become a military spouse, you would find that you have a lot in common with others around you.
I will tell you to reach for the stars! It won't be easy, but it will be worth it! Even after all my experiences (good and bad) I don't regret anything! Fact is, I am thankful for everything because it has helped shape me into who I am today.
Life is not where we work to reach some comfortable, safe destination - it's about living day by day, loving those around us, challenging ourselves, constantly learning and growing. Life is such a gift and you don't want to miss it! ;)
You are never without help or hope. Find yourself a great support system and if you need one, find a good therapist. Sometimes it helps to know that we have someone we can count on to encourage us along the way. Please know that you can come back to this site anytime for encouragement!
P.S.) If you are looking for extra self-help tools that will make a big difference in your recovery, be sure to look for
The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook) by Edmund J. Bourne
Hope and Help for Your Nerves by Claire Weekes
Another important book that will make the biggest difference in helping you to recovery is "Peace from Nervous Suffering" by Dr. Claire Weekes. Unfortunately this book is out of print but has made the biggest impact in my own recovery. You can find used copies of this book occassionaly online through Amazon.com but if you cannot find it, try and get this book from your local library! You won't be sorry!
Hang in there!