How to Deal With Planning Your Wedding When You Have A Mental Health Problem
People often sum up depression as the absence of happiness, and when you have anxiety you are worrying so much about a number of things, that there isn’t any room left in your mind to think about being happy. So how do mental health problems align themselves with a wedding, repeatedly described as “the happiest day of your life”?
Mental health problems can occur for a number of reasons, most prevalently between the ages of 20-30, as this tends to be when we face the most life changes which can throw our mental health into a state of disarray. Anyone who has suffered from depression, anxiety, or any other mental health issues, will tell you that when your mental health is under a lot of stress, it doesn’t leave a lot of time to think about anything else. Let alone wedding planning.
How can you think about what type of flowers you want for your table centrepieces when you have to use every ounce of your energy to get out of bed? Or how can you make any decisions about the wedding playlist when you are too worried about why your friend didn’t message you back? Does she hate me? Has she been in an accident? Did I do something wrong?
Weddings are stressful at the best of times, and if you are going through a hard time there may come points when you feel like it’s all a bit too much. Especially if you start having arguments with your family, as sometimes happens. In fact, all of the stress from planning the wedding can actually make mental health problems worse. And no-one wants to be standing at the altar, following 12 months of stress, dark days, and emotional breakdowns, just wishing that it was all over so you can get back to some normality. All you should be thinking about is how many bottles of prosecco it’s okay to drink on your wedding day before people start judging you.
This should be a day that you cherish forever, knowing that you looked after yourself in the run up to a really happy day and then enjoyed it to the max. So how do you make sure that you keep looking after your mental health while your mind has to think about so many other things?
Well firstly, this is a time where your partner needs to be there for you. You’re about to be married and you need to feel completely supported until you are joined together in holy matrimony. I mean, who wants to be joined to someone who can’t help them out when they need it the most? That being said, no-one is a mindreader. And so if you feel a bit rubbish and need some extra support then you need to make that known. Don’t bet on the fact that people will be able to tell how you feel; sadly it’s never that easy.
Another thing you can do amidst the wedding planning, is to let the people around you know ways in which they can make things easier for you. I’m not saying that you need to put out an advert in the local newspaper and alert everyone who may come within 10 feet of you that you are suffering with a mental health problem, but by letting people know what you need you are dramatically helping yourself. Let me explain: even people who do not suffer from mental health problems can often find talking on the phone uncomfortable, and prefer to liaise with people via email. When your mental health is suffering, it can feel even harder to communicate with wedding suppliers directly over the phone and you may feel that it’s easier just to email over your preferences in your own time. If this is the case, let them know. You are generating business for them and so they are only going to want to oblige and make things easy as possible for you so that you don’t go elsewhere. However, if you don’t mention it, they’re not going to know and you will feel more stressed and anxious than you need to be every time someone ring you.
I know it’s not easy. There’s still such a stigma about mental health issues, despite the fact it’s 2016 and 1 in 4 of us suffer from one (that’s at least one of Liam / Harry / Niall / Louis when they return from their One Direction hiatus). Yet at the same time they’ve become ‘fashionable’ enough for people to self-diagnose themselves with these illnesses. People throw around the terms ‘anxiety’, ‘depression’ and ‘OCD’ like they’re the latest food fad, despite realising that just having a bad day falls far from the diagnosis of depression. But persevere despite the stigma and the fact these are ‘trending’; stigma can only survive while we tiptoe around the issue and don’t face it head on.
Finally, make things easy on yourself. Weddings are a huge job to organise and at the best of times people can use a helping hand to organise things. That’s why my job exists - and I can promise you that the majority of people who hire a wedding planner aren’t those suffering with a mental health problem; they’re just people who want someone to help them out with the huge amount to do, because they’re busy or don’t want to do it themselves. And both are perfectly good reasons. So hire a planner, or if you want to keep things closer to home then get your friends and family involved! One person to source the favours, another to come up with the decorations, one to hunt for your wedding cake… hey presto you’ve got yourselves a wedding!
Seriously though, if you feel like you aren’t in a good place because of your illness then please do not put pressure on yourself. You want to enjoy your wedding to the absolute max and so if there’s a chance that your mental health problem will affect your enjoyment in the slightest then please think about postponing it. It’s not worth spending all of that money on one day when in hindsight you’re going to wish you’d waited and been on top of the world the entire time. No-one will be angry at you, no-one will think you have let them down and no-one will hold it against you. People postpone weddings for all sorts of reasons and your suppliers will be so used to it they won’t even bat an eyelid if that’s what you decide to do. Some might even give you a full refund, including the deposit, if you tell them the reason why. I know I would! Why should someone suffer a financially penalty when they’re already suffering enough with something so out of their control?
At the risk of sounding cliched (I don’t care, cliches are cliches for a reason) your health is your greatest wealth. It’s actually the only thing you can rely on in strengthening your relationship, not a wedding. If you’re sick then you don’t have the energy to concentrate on all of the things that make married life so great. So as keen as you are to get married, be even keener to get yourself fully better again.
Because at the end of the day, the only voice you need to hear on your wedding day is your partner saying “I Do”, not the one telling you that everything is going to go wrong. The only butterflies you need pre-wedding are the excited ones, not the anxious ones. The only cloud you need at your wedding is the number 9 one you’ll find yourself on, not the dark one sitting over your head.