Thursday, December 5, 2013

Deployed: The Survival Guide for Families at War, A Book Review

When Ben enlisted over 4 years ago, we knew that deployment was eminent -- that's just the way it works in the military.  So far, it hasn't happened, mainly because he was non-deployable while in the ROTC and when he wasn't in the ROTC, he was in some sort of training.  I, myself, am dreading the day, but Ben is actually looking forward to getting out there and serving his time.  He doesn't seem to feel like he is a REAL soldier until he has been overseas and earns "the patch."

A couple weeks ago, I was talking to one of my friends who moved here from Ft. Hood a couple years ago and she was giving me the 411 on it since that is where we are heading.  She asked me what unit he was in and I told her.  She got this weird look on her face.

"What?" I said. "Is there something wrong with that unit?"
"No... it's a great unit... one of the best in their field."
"Then... why are you looking at me like that...?"
"Well, because they are so good, they are also deployed... A LOT.  Get ready..."  I just shrugged it off like yeah, I figured, but I was a little shaken.  I guess I just didn't realize that that time was getting so CLOSE.

A couple months ago, Dr. Stanley Hall and his wife sent me a book he wrote for a review.  It's called: Deployed: The Survival Guide for Families at War.  I have been so busy these last couple months, I haven't had a lot of time to really sit down and read... and when I did, I wanted something fiction that I could escape in, not something to stress me out... as much as I love Non-Fiction, I have to be in a certain state of mind to read it, because it always really affects me emotionally... I am a feeler... it can be a gift, but it can also be a curse.  But, after my friend gave me the heads up about how soon deployment can be for us, I decided to pick up this book and really hunker down with it.

First off, the title is a bit misleading.  Yes, it is about deployment and coping with it, but there is SO MUCH more!  Seriously, when I got it and read the back I was like, yeah, right, this book is TOO skinny to cover all this!  But he did.  Artfully!

But don't let me get ahead of myself.  Dr. Hall has been working with military and their families for several years to cope with the stresses of military life.  He seems to have a lot of expertise with PTSD and TBI.  He has helped many families to stay together and let their trials strengthen their lives and marriages.  Marriage is just hard anyway, add war, long separations, and other factors like PTSD and marriage becomes even harder.  In fact, 1 of every 5 marriages failed within 2 years of a service-member returning from a war zone. So big kudos to people like Dr. Hall who work hard to help our military families.

Now, back to the book.  It covers WAY more then just how to cope with separation, because war adds so many factors!  I hear military wives complain ALL THE TIME about how they hate it when their "civilian" friends try to relate to them by saying things like "My husband travels for work... I know how you feel!"  As well meaning as that is, and to me I know people are just trying to relate, and that's fine, but what they don't think of, is that it is very different.  First off, a deployed solider is in danger all the time.  Life and death stuff.  The effects of seeing the things they see often traumatizes them and gives them PTSD and often they suffer physical damages like TBI (traumatic brain injury).  Many come back missing limbs or going deaf.  Families are worrying for their safety every moment of every day... only hearing from them once or twice a week if they are lucky.  Then the service-member comes home having a hard time adjusting... their families have a hard time adjusting... and there is so much that goes into the effects of war that civilian business trips now and then just doesn't cover.

Dr. Stanley Hall covers all the bases!  He talks about what it is like being married in the military.  He covers all the bases about preparing for deployment and how to survive the separation.  He talks about coping with the after effects like PTSD and TBI... and how to understand our serviceman/woman when they come home.  He covers addictions that often follow, such as alcoholism.  He goes over understanding isolation, anger, abuse, and killing.  I LOVE that he writes about finding ways to spiritually cope and finding support.

Even though Dr. Hall hasn't been deployed himself, and there are some things you just can't understand unless you have been there, he has enough experience with military members and their families that he can give a unique perspective.  But I think it's better this way.  He isn't so close to the problems that he sees them personally and emotionally, and judgement is clouded.  Instead, he can step back and see the problems with fresh eyes and give answers and suggestions without bias.  I appreciate that.  Many military people may take issue with it.  I know there is a lot of pride out there when it comes to getting help, especially from a "civilian" -- but seriously people, take help where you can get it.  Swallow the pride, and do it what it takes to be happy and find peace within yourself and in your home.  There are amazing people out there who may not wear the uniform, but they still serve our country by serving our men and women in the armed forces and their families... let them help us.

This book is a gem.  Seriously, the information and experience that Dr. Stanley Hall shares with us is priceless. In fact, I am going to make my husband read this book.  I think as a leader in the military he can benefit, not only to help us as we go along in his career but how he can help others who struggle with these things.

But I think the thing I like the most about this book, is the feeling of hope he gives.  It isn't a downer, like all this horrible stuff is going to happen... not at all.  His whole theme and purpose is to uplift and give hope.  To tell the readers that sure military life can be hard, but it is just as rewarding plus some!  He says that each of us are important and are of great value, and that we can all find more happiness and joy then we can imagine!  I LOVE positive people!  And I love this book!  It has a permanent place on my bookshelf... and considering how critical I am of books, that's an honor.

So go get your copy now.  Even if you think you know everything there is to know, I am pretty sure you don't. :)

-Cat

You can get it on Amazon here!

UPDATE:  Giveaway!!!!  The author's wife just offered to give us a signed copy to giveaway and also an e-book!!  YAY!!!  Just leave us a comment on here and tell us about your favorite service member!  I will announce a winner next week.  Thanks!

1 comment:

Miranda Cross said...

My husband is my favorite service member! His name is Derek and in addition to being an air traffic controller in the air force, he is also a great husband and a daddy to 2 (soon to be 3) little boys.

Miranda Vanburen-Cross
Miranda.public@gmail.com