- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I’m trying to show support for my daughter who is in the Army. She is deployed to Iraq until September. It’s been hard for me to cope because it’s hard for me to think about my daughter being in harm’s way. I try not to think about it, especially when I am having bad days.

I think of my daughter all of the time and I miss her very much. I’ve been fighting depression and it’s hard for me to sleep or eat. I had to quit my job because it was hard for me to concentrate.

I’m trying to think of more things to do for her, to show her that I love her and how proud I am of her. I’d switch places with her in a minute. Do you have any suggestions? — A Waiting Mother

Dear Mother,

I can empathize with how you feel about your daughter’s deployment. However, your daughter wants to know you are doing well and taking care of yourself while she is away, but it sounds like you are not doing very well.

Contact your doctor immediately and discuss your depression symptoms. Tell your doctor you are not sleeping or eating and that you lost your job due to poor concentration.

I understand what you are experiencing. You are not alone on this issue; many parents report the same feelings, but you can get through this.

Second, there are many venues for you to keep in touch with your daughter — writing letters, using e-mail, etc. Consider buying a webcam; they are less expensive now. A webcam would allow you to see your daughter and hold conversations with her.

Third, send care packages that include items such as food, pictures, even her favorite items like blankets or pillows. I remember sending my husband one of his favorite throw blankets and a pillow. He was thrilled and it gave him some sense of being home. You also can include some of her favorite snacks.

Reach out to family and friends to help you through this tough time, and depend on your faith to get you through. Lastly, www.military.com and www.militaryonesource.com both have numerous resources for parents. You will find many blogs that can connect you with other parents.

I wish you well and thank you for being supportive and showing concern for your daughter. Hang in there!

Reader responses to previous columns:

• I think your reader’s response asking, “Are you a conservative or a liberal?” is silly and none of his or her business (May 3). You are obviously an experienced and insightful counselor and I enjoy reading your analyses and advice. I am a liberal and a “yellow dog” Democrat, but that doesn’t give me a reason to assume you are the same, and it’s none of my business. Just keep on doing what you’re doing. — J.J.

• Ms. Vicki, surely I did not read the question correctly from one of your writers. He asked if you were a conservative and then said he wanted to recruit you to the conservative agenda because you are black and they need black faces. How tasteless! I’m a Republican and a conservative. We would never say such things.

The person who wrote this is obviously a fraud.

Vicki Johnson is a licensed clinical social worker, military spouse and mother of three. Her column runs in The Washington Times on Thursdays and Sundays. Contact her at [email protected]

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