Here Is The Number One Way To Prevent The Post-Wedding Blues

We’ve all heard about the post-wedding blues, and just like every other serious illness we convince ourselves that we are immune. It’s the same with cancer, cardiac arrests and severe car crashes - we always think that it will never happen to us, and then are surprised when it does. As humans we are designed to live in a certain way and think certain thoughts as a way of survival. Ever had a premonition where you just feel in the pit of your stomach that something’s not right, and then you receive a call confirming your intuition? That’s your brain; programmed to protect you, and let you have a head-start in making your fight or flight decision. It’s the same sort of processes at work when you think you’re untouchable. If you thought you were at risk from contracting all of these illnesses then you’d probably never leave the house and live in a extremely sheltered way, drinking the copious amounts of fruit juice that the newspaper tells you will prevent Alzheimer's. 

But the thing is that burying our heads in the sand and steadfastly believing that none of these things will happen to us, also means that we’re not prepared for them when they do happen. We don’t take the time to learn what will help us in the event that something goes wrong. All we do is panic because we never allowed ourselves to ponder the notion that in fact we may be that 1 in 10 or 1 in 3. And with post-wedding ‘blues’ on the continual rise, it’s becoming ever more likely that it’s going to be 1 of us. 

I’m not trying to scaremonger here, I’m just trying to make the point that a great way of avoiding suffering from this is to understand it. Because a big part of this illness comes from not understanding why it is happening, and making the necessary changes to prevent it. Knowledge is power, and often when you understand an illness you can remove a lot of the hold that it has over you. A more tangible example that applies the same logic is anxiety. A lot of people feel helpless in the face of anxiety because they don’t know why it’s happening to them. But anxiety is always caused by something - past trauma, self-esteem issues, or a recent loss. Understanding why you are anxious removes a lot of power that it has on you, and stops you from experiencing such high-levels of anxiety in the future. If no-one made any attempt to understand why they were anxious, and resolve this, then we would all just be blindly heading into the future with the increasing likelihood of becoming very ill. 

Part of the reason why there seems to be a rise of post-wedding depression (which is what the ‘blues’ actually is, to varying degrees) is because no-one knows what it is! It’s pretty much the same feeling you get when you return from an amazing two-week holiday and have to return to work the next day. You would give anything to be back in the blaring hot heat, sitting on the sand, and instead you’re sitting on your office chair in rainy England. The crash down to earth upon returning to normality can feel quite overwhelming and depressing for a lot of us, and when you’ve just spent almost a year living in a land of wedding planning, the return from your honeymoon can feel much the same. How are you supposed to adjust to not being the centre of attention, and resuming your normal life once again after having so much fun?

I sadly know more and more people who have really struggled to deal with everyday life after their wedding and unfortunately that number is going to keep rising unless with talk about this issue and find ways to prepare, in case it happens to us. I know one poor woman who went back to work on a Monday after her honeymoon and was signed off work the following week by her doctor, as she was suffering with serious depression. She couldn’t return to work for about four months, during which time she had been having counselling to come to terms with the fact the wedding was over and “this was how the rest of her life was going to be”. I put this in quotation marks because it’s obviously not true - there are so many things to look forward to in life beyond your wedding. Birthdays, christmases, anniversaries, children, grandchildren, travelling. It just doesn’t feel that way because you feel so tragically sad. I feel incredibly sorry for both her and her husband, having to begin married life with such a mountain to climb. They made it in the end, but they couldn’t enjoy their Just Married bliss with her feeling so low. 

Post-wedding depression can happen to anyone, but there are a few factors that make it a bit more likely to occur. Anyone who has suffered from depression or anxiety before are more susceptible to this because they are predisposition to find life changes harder to deal with. I’m one of those people because of things that happened when I was younger and my general characteristics. I therefore know that when I’m about to experience a big life change I need to really prepare for it, and have support systems in place in case I find things very difficult. A wedding is a huge life change, and in the same way we would prepare mentally for starting a new job, or moving house, we have to mentally prepare for getting married. 

Planning your own wedding, especially if a lot of it will be DIY (stuffing homemade bags of confetti at 2:00am, etc) also means you’re likely to suffer a huge comedown compared to those who have help planning their wedding, and delegate jobs to suppliers and other people. This is simply because people who plan their own wedding have to dedicate a lot of time thinking about it, planning it and making things for it. Planning a wedding from scratch takes 250 hours on average (this is a 9-5 day for six weeks) so pretty much a full-time job for a concentrated period of time. When you already have a job and other responsibilities, this means that every spare moment in your life will be focussing on wedding planning and preparations. It will be fun, and you will enjoy it, but when the wedding day is over, you will likely feel a huge void in your life. Some people even report feeling like they have nothing to talk to their spouse about, because in the run-up to the wedding every conversation revolved around exactly that. If you want to avoid this happening to you then hire a planner, or delegate jobs to your family; don’t try and do it all yourself. 

Lastly, people who have doubts about getting married / their partner / the future before the wedding are more likely to suffer from post-wedding depression afterwards. This is often because people don’t seek advice or help for these problems - through counselling or talking therapy, for example - before the wedding, and believe that getting married will fix them all. This will never happen. Marriage is not a plaster for doubts or cracks in your relationship, and should not be used to fix anything that needs fixing. Any problems that you experience whilst you’re engaged are likely to be felt 10 times more afterwards when you realise this is how your life will be now. It is essential you fix any issues before walking down the aisle, so that you can walk into the marriage with full certainty that you are committed to the relationship. None of this means you don’t love your partner; problems can occur for so many reasons, but sorting them out is imperative to feeling happy and avoiding becoming depressed. 

I hope that I have made it pretty clear in this blog post that the number one way to avoid the post-wedding blues is to fully prepare for them. Using my example from earlier about moving house - you wouldn’t move in without having surveys and checks carried out to make sure that your home isn’t going to collapse after the excitement of picking up the keys. It’s the same principle. Make sure that you have done all of the necessary preparation, and make sure the foundations are strong. Nothing will make you feel worse about having post-wedding blues than knowing you could have prevented them from happening. Marriage is an amazing experience, but it is hard work - don’t make it any harder than it needs to be. 

Charlotte xoxo