Being a Military Dependent

Becoming a part of the honorary support team that proudly stands behind our American troops is no small endorsement, and it's certainly no small feat. But being a military dependent can leave anyone feeling out of control. Planning a family, a vacation, or the timing of a college degree can become a bigger challenge than anticipated when there are so many unknown factors at home. You may intuitively know that it isn't healthy to put your life on hold, but how do you make decisions on what to prioritize, when to hold your breath and wait, and when to go after things when you know that there are changes to come?

Our suggestion:

Don't put your life on hold. Instead, find both small and large goals you want to achieve and go after them. You can always make adjustments on the way, if need be. You won't be the first person to transfer college credits and you might end up having the time of your life going on that rafting trip with your best friend when it turns out your second half couldn't make it.

And while you're planning steps toward your bigger goals, enjoy the small things along the way. Take time in the afternoon to play with your kids, meet up with a friend for coffee, or enjoy a workout at the gym. Don't stop taking care of yourself, doing the things that make you happy, just because other parts of your life are feeling uncertain. You'll be surprised at how much more manageable and valuable life feels and it will give you and your children a sense of certainty in the midst of the unknowns.


At GoVa Counseling we are proud to serve our military heroes and their families and are committed to offering the quality care and support they most certainly deserve. Sometimes being a spouse can seem almost harder than being an active duty member. With so much responsibility and so little control its a dedicated position that's a 100% voluntary commitment. Although that dedication provides all the fuel our troops need to bravely serve their home and country, it may not always be enough to fill the emptiness or worry that you, a family troop member, needs to feel secure.

Do you feel lonely or overwhelmed?

Do you spend your time doing all the things you're supposed to do to keep your mind off your spouse being gone, but still feel alone at the end of the day? Are you unable to ever truly shake the feeling of being lonely or find yourself overwhelmed with the responsibility of managing the bills and household, or your children by yourself? For many of us the fear of losing a loved one may create anxiety and sadness that makes living much less enjoyable, even painful. Such stresses can bring us to cope poorly with issues at hand and leave us feeling empty and overwhelmed.

As a family member it's vital that we keep ourselves mentally and emotionally healthy. We need to do it for our children, our friends (because they lean on us too you know!), and of course, for our military heroes who need our support more than ever. Whether they're away on deployment or finally back home and adjusting, our ability to be focused and stable gives those we love the grounding they need to keep going every day.

We know that deployment, in particular, can raise unique challenges that affect the whole family.

It's natural to have difficulties because being away from our loved ones can stir up fears of abandonment that lead to depression and anxiety and ultimately raise issues with all sorts of things from alcohol abuse, infidelity, loneliness, trouble with trust and intimacy, anger, and managing finances and spending habits. These are all common byproducts of deployment for dependents. The good news is that with proper care you we can actually resolve these issues and feel free inside to live without the chronic and overwhelming fears of losing someone you love.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

In addition, recent studies reveal that approximately 15% of US infantry experience symptoms of PTSD post-deployment. Such symptoms can occur regardless of whether the individual was directly exposed to a traumatic event and may impact both work and personal relationships, including changes in motivation, mood stability, lifestyle habits, and interests in maintaining closeness with friends and loved ones. Symptoms can range from a number of complaints from: back, chest, and limb pain, headaches, nausea, and fatigue, increased anxiety, alcohol intake, irritability, and trouble sleeping and/or concentrating, as well as personality changes, paranoia, and social withdrawal. Typically symptoms like these don't just go away over time and need to be treated by a professional who understands PTSD and can offer the right help.


At GoVa Counseling we are proud to serve our dedicated heroes, both on the home front and out in the fields. We know that as a dependent your family and relationship to your partner are essential to your happiness and that keeping them healthy makes all the difference in the world! Give us a call and our caring team will work by your side to help you and your family get back on track and onto living the life that is most fulfilling and happy for you.

Read more about PTSD on our website in the Learn More section!