The Wellness Spotlight series highlights military spouses and their real world health and wellness journeys in a Facebook live series. Below is an excerpt of Amy’s feature.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY AS A MILITARY SPOUSE?
I met my husband in first grade but we are by no means high school sweethearts. We met up again in our mid twenties and started a friendship. During the summer of 2006, he deployed to Iraq with the 82nd and we were friends on Myspace. I sent care packages and he would email or call when he could between missions. Upon return 15 months later we started dating and married a few years later.
It wasn’t until 2011, when we were married, that I truly understood what life was going to be like as a military spouse because until that time I wasn’t immersed in the military lifestyle. That whole time of dating I still lived in NYC – working in my marketing career and living my normal life. In November 2011 we PCSed to Vicenza, Italy and that was my first duty station truly as a military spouse.
What is a low moment when your health suffered the most and how did you overcome it?
My lowest moment was after the birth of my first child. I had a very traumatic birth experience, where if anything could have gone wrong, it did. When she was a few days old her father left for training in another country. A few days after that I went to the clinic thinking I had mastitis but that was not the case. It turned out that the stress/trauma of birth caused my body to have shingles. Not only that but I was also starting to feel overwhelmed and pulled away from people. Friends from back in the states started pointing out to me that I seemed different and asked me to talk to those I was close to about getting help. I didn’t think I had postpartum because I wasn’t sad or depressed, I just felt off. I had this weird sense of panic or anxiety come over me when certain people came around and couldn’t figure out why.
One good thing about being overseas is the abundance of people that are willing to help. However, I didn’t want strangers in my home, certainly not handling my new baby. I waited for my husband to get home from training (he was thankfully released early to help) and I leaned heavily on the emotional support of friends from the states and my core 3 ladies in Italy.
Through the support and help of my close friends from home and my core ladies I sought behavioral health. These 3 ladies I leaned on more than they knew. While we weren’t the best of friends at the time, they pulled me out of the hardest time of being a military spouse. They supported me through going to my appointments and watching my daughter. We enjoyed going on group trips, wine tastings, dinners, girls nights, coffees, walks, etc. These women who just 2 years prior I may not have known soon became family.
What is your favorite form of self care?
My favorite form of self-care is getting regular manicures and pedicures. I take the time on a regular basis and it is my time of quiet with no kids, no work, no worries. I can listen to music and even have a cocktail at my nail spa. It is my mini get-away twice a month and I truly love it.
WHAT IS A HEALTH AND WELLNESS RESOURCE YOU WOULD SHARE WITH THE COMMUNITY?
The Cohen Clinics that are now available in several states are a invaluable resource. I don’t say this because I work there. I say this as someone who has been at my lowest and needed behavioral health. An important part of wellness is mental health and the Cohen Clinics offer free to low-cost behavioral health care to veterans and their families.
IF YOU COULD RECOMMEND ONE BOOK TO MILITARY SPOUSES, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
“I Heart My Little A-Holes” by Karen Alpert. For one, I have a dry, sarcastic sense of humor and this write is just like me and two, this book is every parent. We all love our kids, but lets face it, kids can be jerks.
(Purchases using the links above will help InDependent cover administrative costs for our programs at no extra cost to you!)
ABOUT amy williams
Amy Williams has 2 daredevil children and a laid back pup. She has a well versed career spanning marketing and events, and currently works as the communications specialist for the Steven A Cohen Military Family Clinic at Cape Fear Valley. She is also a Community Ambassador Volunteer for InDependent at Ft. Bragg.