As my wedding nears (11 days), my mood swings and panic have been all over the place. I wanted to share this because of two things, first it’s a lot different then the normal bride panic and anxiety but also because it helped me to realize that not every panic attack or little anxiety is caused by my disorder.
So as most of you know, weddings are stressful. They are about happy things that make it worth it but its also a major trigger of many with anxiety and panic illnesses. Part of my lack of writing is because my anxiety is all over the place and has been for months.
When I first got engaged I was naturally ecstatic but the day after being engaged I had night panic start. Basically this is when I trigger a panic attack in the middle of the night. They don’t always make sense and most of the time I don’t remember the dream that caused it. I just wake up out of breath with Bella laying on top of me usually licking my hands and face to wake me up.
I struggled a lot and didn’t want to tell people because those first few weeks should be happy. But in all honesty I was depressed that this would only get worse. Andrew was amazing, every step of the way he took in stride. Sometimes coming up with things I didn’t even think of to ease my anxieties.
Me on the other hand, I shut down and took to my face book world of friends. One of the best parts of having a service dog in the social media and blog generation is the support system. I honestly have so many that I count as friends even though I have never met them. My blog also helped me to connect with friends that I didn’t know where suffering from the same things. With the service dog groups, I found out how not alone I was and even learned some cooping strategies and short cuts with planning that made the next few months a breeze. I honestly got better at controlling it after some tricks, which is good because Andrew can attest, that the first month was our own mini hell. (I cried because of colors, I yelled because of food, I cried because I was getting married and I yelled because it wasn’t fast enough) I seriously am amazed I didn’t scare Andrew off but it made me love him more.
Here are some strategies I learned to lessen the issues that honestly is good for any bride to hear
- No is a wonderful word. If you cant do something and it gets to the point that you’re making yourself sick over it, saying no to ideas or even traditional wedding things is a great way to lessen anxieties. Granted remember your groom has a voice and you cant just veto everything (I tried that, it didn’t go well) But saying no to the many suggestions you get is good. And example? I was so stressed out about flowers and bouquets that I decided not to have flowers, and in the end I don’t think I will have the bouquets either but I’m still debating that.
- Take a break. Weddings are exhausting. Planning a wedding over a year is a good time to remember that once you get the initial important stuff (food, venue and pastor, oh yeah, a groom is nice too) its okay to take a break. I stopped planning for a month. It gave me time to breathe and remember that getting married is fun.
- Lists are the best things ever. I wrote a to do list every week that Andrew and I would cross off during the week. It helped space things out.
- Panic and anxiety happen. Even if you are the calms person ever, you will get stressed. If you have any sort of panic or anxiety tendencies remember they will be amplified and it is important to learn how to handle that.
- Skills and getting help. If you already go to a counselor know that you might need to up visits. If you don’t, find someone not family or even some of your closer friends to talk to. Having an outside ear really helps. Luckily if you are getting married at a church mentors are available.
- Take your time and do things when you need to. It is okay to be selfish sometimes. This one is hard to explain, but sometimes you have to make important choices to make things easier. This definitely calls for major open communication between the couple.
- More breaks. As the wedding nears, take breaks from it often. Find something you can do that the wedding is not involved in. I painted. I painted so much that I think everyone in my life has gotten a painting whether they like it or not.
- Have fun. Do little things with your groom to take breaks and have fun while planning a wedding. We took a vacation in the middle of planning just to get away and have fun.
- It is your guy’s wedding do what ever you want. Find the unique part of your life and make it part of our wedding. We are obsessed with Legos so naturally they will be at the wedding
- Last, its okay to panic. If you have a disorder, remind yourself all this anxiety is actually normal for a bride (and groom).
I had a very smart person in my life tell remind me that while my anxiety was amplified; it was so normal it’s not even funny. A lot of girls experience their first panic attack leading up to weddings. A lot of girl with these disorders double their number of normal panic attacks. Now, I am not going to tell anyone to relax because these situations control your irrational mind, and while your rational mind says relax your irrational mind can not control the fear. It is an ugly monster that holds you in its clutches until you cant breathe. BUT what I will tell you is this; remember what the wedding is about. It’s about celebrating the marriage to your best friend. It’s about combining two families to join in your celebration. But most of all it is about being happy.
This turned in to more of a how to survive a wedding but I wanted to write that it is okay to feel this way, it is okay not to want a wedding, its okay to feel alone when you aren’t, or overwhelmed at the little things. It is okay to panic and be anxious. Just remember it’s worth it.