When I went to visit Taylor back in January we went to Patriot’s Point where they have two ships you can tour and a submarine. Being that Taylor signed up for submarine duty we obviously went to check out the old sub. As we were walking through I kept hitting my head and ramming into things because it was so small. Taylor on the other hand seemed right at home and walked around touching everything (he touched this button and an alarm went off. The expression on his face almost made me pee my pants). And I remember he said something about if the sub gets hit or there’s a malfunction while they are way down under there is no coming out alive. I rolled my eyes and sarcastically replied, “Oh great. That makes me feel SO much better. That’s exactly what I want to think about while you’re deployed.”
Different versions of this expression seem to come out of my mouth a lot.
“Oh you learned about what happens to people when nuclear reactors explodes? Oh great. Thanks for sharing. Definitely won’t be worried now.”
“You’ll be doing that while on a submarine for months on end? Yep, I’ll sleep great at night for sure!”
All sarcastically of course. I tend to worry…a lot. Especially when it comes to Taylor, his job and what will happen in the future. I have always had anxiety and to be honest I have never really found a way to combat it. People will always tell me to think about something else. Talk to someone. Read a book.
And I think that’s a bunch of bullshit. I literally CAN’T think about anything else. That’s the problem here. If I could I obviously would. Talking to someone sometimes makes me feel better but what about when it’s 2 am and everyone’s asleep? Or how many times can you complain to someone about all your fears about deployment until they are sick of hearing it? And read a book?! My eyes might be skimming through the lines but my mind is still skimming over all the what ifs in my head.
But recently I started going to a therapist just for kicks (I’ve never been to one before and I thought I might try it just to see). And she told me a good method that I found works or at least works to subside the worry.
It is called the 5,4,3,2,1 method. Really creative, I know. But it is meant to be “grounding” or bring you back to the here and now.
It works like this:
Focus on 5 things that you can see. And REALLY focus on them. All the details, lines, colors, really study that object.
Find four things you can touch. And then touch them. Close your eyes and feel what it is like to have that object in your hands.
Three things that you can hear. Listen to them. What is it? Describe what that sounds like.
Two things you can smell. Are you wearing perfume? Is there food near you that you can smell? Does the garbage need to be taken out? Take some seconds and inhale.
And finally, one thing you can taste. Doesn’t even have to be food. Don’t walk around licking things. It can be simple as running your tongue over your teeth or on the roof of your mouth.
After ALL of that, the anxiety should have gone away or at least subsided. While I haven’t gone through deployments yet and Taylor isn’t in constant danger or anything, this might have been nice when he was in bootcamp and a good tool to use whenever he does deploy. Hopefully, it can be a tool for you to put in your toolbox for when the deployment blues and/or anxiety hit.