THE SLUMP |
July 21, 2008
Name: Sean Dustman
Posting date: 7/21/08
Stationed in: Iraq
Milblog url: Doc in the Box
I’ve hit the slump of the deployment, along with many of the Marines and Sailors that I work with. The only difference is that this is the first time the slump has shut down my writing cold. I'll put an idea on paper and try to expand on it and will end up having monosyllablic conversations with myself. As painful as it is to have a conversation with one of those people, it’s worse to read it.
The Dear Johns or Dear Janes have started trickling in. Recipients are shocked and can’t believe it’s happening to them. It’s that season of the deployment, between the middle and right before we get home. I’ve been here before, and most of the Staff NCOs I work with are on their second or third marriage. It’s the junior guys that worry me. Right now is where relationships crumble. One party realizes that they really don’t like being alone, or that their significant other isn’t "The One”, or meets someone special who isn’t far away, and doesn't know how to break it off with someone on the other side of the world, and waits till right before they get home.
I see these stories every single day. As a leader or a healer, you have to help people make something constructive out of the crap that life took on them. For an air unit like mine, it’s not the suicide bombers or the mortars that cause most of us to toss and turn at night or think it’s not worth it anymore. It’s the worry about the person we expected to spend the rest of our life with on the other side of the world. The military is tough on family life any way you look at it, and there isn’t a cookie cutter solution that can fix all of the problems.
For me, this trip, I’m just soul weary tired. Four deployments out here is beginning to add up, and it’s tough to keep that cheery grin on my face or to find the words to put down on paper. The last year was a bit rough on my psyche and I haven’t a chance to patch all of the holes. It all adds up in the end.
I do write when I’m depressed. That’s not exactly what I’m feeling right now. It's just sense of numbness in my brain. I’m trying to talk some of them out of their pain. The heartache I’m feeling isn’t for me, it’s for the people whom I work with and care about. It sucks not having an answer to such big questions when people are so desperate. My head feels like I’ve stretched something too far and it broke away.
Speaking of away -- while I've been away from the keyboard I did get a chance to read everything by an author named Jim Butcher. Lack of sleep probably added to my writers block. I couldn’t stop reading. Seriously, he’s good.