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Build A Safety Net

 Cartoon Friends : Social media 3d characters talk in speech bubbles joined in chain links


You have tried so hard to do everything possible - in a controlled way – to keep life normal up to the dreaded goodbye and pretty much managed, to a reasonable degree. When you least expect it, all the worries and fears of them deploying catch up with you and you feel a wave of complete sickness and dread. But when they are still there, despite your ripples of depression (and lets admit – a bit of anger) at least you could make things up with a huge cuddle so you know that everything would be okay and you could deal with it together.


When they go, you realise that they aren’t there every time you need them and then you have to learn to deal with things yourself. Somehow you need to build your own safety net.


A person does not deserve huge problems that are not of their own making but there is some truth in the saying: “do not worry about what you can’t change”.  I am sure if we could change it, there would be quite a few more civvies amongst us!


All you can do now is argue with the walls but of course, the walls won’t cuddle you back to calm you down. You have to work it out on your own. You moan and groan and sob and weep on your low days all at varying levels of hurt and you need to handle them in some way or other. You can throw massive tantrums but nobody will hear or see them. It’s an impossible task to separate those mixed feelings and we have all been through them.


To survive them you have to form a structure unique to you that helps you discover the recipe of coping. Different methods work for different people but only you can find the way that suits you best. 

You will master it! 


Decide which people can help you get through with their support. Who are best for telephone cuddles? Who won't mind you calling during the night? Who are the people best to help you out with practical home problems? The "Mr Fix its" Someone who is good for invaluable advice to help you with finances, official forms and bills etc. Be sure to have neighbours who can help you out in an emergency day and night. You may feel insecure at times by living alone so it makes sense to be able to feel a neighbour is keeping their eye out for you. I am sure you will have a friend who can help you with any tough jobs you cant deal with. Everyone you know can be your proverbial safety blanket in some way or another. Never feel shy of asking for their help. What are friends for? Most will be only to pleased to be within reach by phone or by living close for times when situations crop up


Try to be as positive as you can at all times. It is always easier said than done but try and keep your chin up. I know that sounds a bit patronising but its not meant that way. There is no cure for the emotions you are feeling.


Most normal people have moments where they fear for the safety of their loved ones, some people have to cope with their loved ones working away for long periods of time and some people are forced to move away from their family and friends due to their partners work commitments.


Potentially, you will have to cope with all three at once. Its no wonder you can feel so awful.


Happy vibes are catching and will boost your day. Treasure those times. Spend as much time as possible with your family and friends back home. Some don’t really understand, but they care, and giving you the feeling that you are not completely alone will make a big difference.


Equally frowns are catching too so beware. Most of the ups can be formed to outweigh some of the downs. It’s getting the knack. Sometimes, the “patch” is a brilliant place to be as you are surrounded by loads of other people going through the same things as you. Other times, it can compound the misery as you feed off each others fears. All of it is a balance.


The most important thing is not to bottle up how you feel. Chat to other people, realise you are not alone and don't worry about feeling miserable. It is completely normal and just shows how much you care.


This is the biggest roller coaster in the world and you unfortunately took your seat on it and you are riding it with all the others.

Some days you win and others you lose.  


Books by Judith Bray

Washing Line to Frontline: Surviving Your Soldiers Tour

The Battle At Home When Your Soldier's At War

Both available to buy from