Basic Male Military Spouse Advice from Bill Keller
Depression affects quite a few male military spouses and not everyone handles it the same way, some better than others. In part two of William McEvoy's Man-to-Man interview, William shares how he has been able to successfully manage his own fight with depression. We're not saying this is the best way to beat all forms of depression. His strategy worked for him, it may not work for you. Either way, this interview is a good place to start for those who feel they may need help.
No prior military experience
With wife since 2003
I got off my ass and went to a therapist…went to the base…took advantage of one of the benefits - Tricare. Thank goodness for Tricare. I went to the base and talked to the base doctor and he said, "Yeah let's get you a referral."
I'm married to a therapist. You think I would have done it sooner but it was basically, "I'm tired of being depressed", "I'm tired of sitting here."
I had a very simple routine. I got up my wife. As a resident, she was up way earlier than everybody else. I would take the dogs out and then I would make coffee, make her something to eat, pour her thermos of water, or whatever she was taking with her, and sent her off. Maybe I'd fall asleep again on the couch. Maybe I'd go do some work."
But once you start that, "Maybe I'll do this", "Maybe I can do it later" - it's that self-generating cycle of, "I could go downstairs", "I could go to the library", "What's the point?"
So basically, one morning I remember, I'm tired of this crap and I didn't even tell her I was going. I just called the base and said, "I need to come to the doctor and talk to a therapist. I quit waiting for an opportunity. I had gotten so disheartened looking for work and looking for work and not even getting a call back in many cases
Don't be afraid of Mental Health. There is a stigma in society, especially the military, "Oh, well if you're seeing a therapist, something must be wrong."
Therapists aren't looking for reasons to hurt your career. They want you to come in and get help if you're depressed or if you need it.
Don't be afraid to admit you need help. If you begin to even think you might need help, get it, because that's the point at which you're ready to do it.
Now obviously if you're just walking down the street and you have no urge to go, don't fight it. You have to be ready to accept the help given.
For men, you don't necessarily like to ask for directions, but at times we even know we need them.
Start by scheduling an appointment with your family doctor, or call Military One Source for 24/7 counseling support.
Ask the therapist as many questions as he or she's going to ask you.
in Virginia I think I went through two before I found one that I could identify with more. Basically, just talk to the ones that you think you might like. They don't really get their feelings hurt. Most therapists want you to find the person that you're going to work with.
It's like going to the doctor. You have to know what questions to ask your doctor. it's the same thing with the therapist.
And you have to expect to be drawn out. But at the same time, don't be afraid to say, "Doc I'm snowed under. I can't. I can hardly get out of bed. I just don't want to. I don't have energy or any drive." They will help you figure it out.
That was the other thing. I started to exercise - walking more, running a little. But basically, I would just go to the gym, always looking for a racquetball partner. in DC, I n ever found one. You think I would have. But I found one in in Louisiana and that helped.
The other thing that helped about moving to Barksdale…We had the experience of having one PCS so we weren't disillusioned.
We were both told about how great we can be living in DC and we were excited, I'm not going to lie. We were really excited. So, to have the reality slap you in the face, that didn't help.
Then, here I am at home, off work, we moved to Louisiana, and I was teaching online still. Then, I walked into the golf course. the golf shop on base in like February hopefully. I kept thinking to myself, "Hopefully it's early enough for not looking for summer help yet" and I said, "Y'all need help?" and they said, "Yeah, here - go to NAF Jobs" - nafjobs. org and I got hired within like 2 or 3 days.
I was working the golf shop. I'm somebody who loves golf. I had been on the golf team in high school and had retail experience. They didn't care that I had all this education - "You're a Mil Spouse" and they were happy to help.
If I could just make the blanket statement…Don't be afraid of it, but it is a challenge. Everything that the recruiter said was true. But it's just a matter of location and willingness to accept a different role than you may see for yourself or rather a different path than the one you thought you would have when you graduated college or high school or wherever. But don't be afraid of it.