Valerie’s Mental Health Care for A 60+ Day Season

Valerie Flores will have been reunited with her fisherman after a 65-day run by the time you read this. To add to this sweet reunion, they will be married in less than two weeks – what a homecoming! I particularly appreciate Valerie’s openness about depression on Instagram and her confidence with rocking hip-hugging outfits that others (me) feel too insecure to wear. On a personal note, it’s a shame that women don’t feel they can embrace their sexuality and femininity the way Valerie does (she inspires me this way). It’s even worse if you have an unsupportive partner that makes you feel self-conscious when you want to look your best. (But I digress…) Valerie shares some great tips on getting over mental slumps and what she does to pass the time during months apart. Meet Valerie!

valerie-flores-alan-commercial-fisherman

Name: Valerie Flores
Location: San Bernardino, CA
Fishery: Hubby fishes for Yellowfin Sole, Arrow Tooth Flounder, Pacific Cod, Alaska Pollock, Pacific Ocean Perch, and more!
Season: 60 days on/off.
Communication: Video chat every 7-14 days.

How did you meet your fisherman, and what is his name? How long have you been together?

I met my fisherman through his cousin (we are friends). We went to a party together, and I met him there. We have been together for 2yrs going on 3yrs July 06th. His name is Alan.

What is his position on the boat?

He is an oiler. Sometimes he does half of his shift as a processor as well.

Was he a fisherman when you met, or is this new?

He was already a fisherman when we met. He told me the risks of being together and that he would be gone (for long periods) because of his job.

How long do you go without seeing him at a time?

In the company he’s at, they usually do 45 days because he’s an oiler/fisherman. Since Covid hit, they changed the policy, so we go without each other for 60 days. At the beginning of our relationship, it was worse. We used to go five months without each other.

It is very tough, mainly because I have depression! Yes, it’s hard AF. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything in this world. I feel like us fisherman wives need more recognition because it’s is not as easy as everyone thinks it is!

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I appreciate you being honest about your depression. I suffer at times, and it is always helpful to know we are not alone! What helps you feel mentally better when your man is gone, and you’re in a slump?

  • When I find myself in a mental slump, I try to read a little bit of the Bible. It’s definitely difficult to get closer to God when you’re depressed, but he always finds a way to make me feel better.
  • Another thing I love to do is take a bath and listen to music, maybe read a book, or think about things I want to get better at.
  • I also find it very therapeutic to clean my house while playing music to forget about my anxiety/depression. (Sometimes), I paint my house and rearrange everything so that when he comes home, everything looks nice.
  • I also do my makeup when I’m in a mental slump.

I give you mad props for putting your beautiful self out there on Insta! I know a lot of women feel uncomfortable in their skin, or maybe their men have a problem dressing for their bodies. It’s awesome to see that your husband supports you for being you! In what ways do you feel supported when he is not there?

When he is not here, I feel supported by him thru text messages because we do text daily, and I tell him everything. There’s nothing that we don’t tell each other. He’s my support in many ways because he’s always complimenting me. Not only that, he always makes me feel special somehow and manages to have time for me even though he’s at work.

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Do you have any other friends that are with commercial fishermen?

I don’t have any friends who are with commercial fishermen.  (But she does now through our private FB group!)

What would you like other partners of commercial fishermen to know?

I want other partners of commercial fishermen to know that we should feel proud of ourselves for staying home and managing to take care of the household while our husband is gone. I want to tell them that we partners of commercial fishermen have a unique relationship. After all, when our husbands come back home, we have more quality time, more time to love each other than to argue because our time together is limited.

I would like all of you to know that our husbands appreciate us even more for staying loyal to them and doing everything alone when they are gone. Always remember we have limited time with our fisherman husbands, so let’s give them quality time!

Do you have mental health challenges, too? If so, how do you overcome them when things shift? Please share in the comments below!

If you liked this interview, you’d love The Real Challenges of Living in a Small Fishing Community, and Life Hacks from a 3rd Generation Fisherman’s Wife.

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