It has been nearly a year since I wrote about my own experience planning a wedding with anxiety and agoraphobia. Since then I would say I get messaged or emailed nearly on a daily basis from readers, or just people who have stumbled upon it, saying that it has helped them. A year on, my anxiety is better, my comfort zone is expanding and I have learnt some more tips and tricks in therapy that I think will help you.
You will read constantly that “wedding planning can be an exceptionally stressful time”, and don’t get me wrong, it is. But if you are prone to anxiety in the first place, you will know what that extra stress can do to you, both mentally and physically. Some of this blog post you will know already because you know the type of person you are, e.g an anxious person likes to be in control therefore planning will not be a last minute activity. Give us a year or so and a lot of well made lists.
Block out the noise – a lot of people will be giving you opinions on issues that you probably haven’t asked for counsel on. There will be quotes, invoices, pinterest, blogs, social media, friends asking questions and so much more. It helps compartmentalising all of the info in to what needs to be listened to (the quotes,invoices) what you want to listen to (blogs, social media) and what you don’t need to listen to (unwarranted mother in law to be opinions).
Talk out concerns – quite an obvious ones. But anxious people have different concerns than others which may pertain to their own phobias and fears. Communication is key, and if your anxiety boarders with social anxiety I appreciate that it may be hard drawing attention to yourself and worrying what people think but it will be worth it to make your planning easier and for you to feel at ease with suppliers and family/friends. And to be honest, if you’re explaining to your venue that you’d like the top table to be near a door because you have claustrophobia, they aren’t going to tell you to jog on (unless it may be a fire hazard), I am sure they will be understanding.
Don’t get in to debt – According to nearly all the sodding infographics I get sent on a daily basis “one in three couples go in to debt whilst planning their wedding”. It isn’t worth it. For the amount of stress money worries bring, do everything you can to stay out of debt (unless it is exceptionally manageable). Worrying about money after the wedding isn’t the best way to start married life whether you are or aren’t an anxious person. There are many blog posts on here, and many other blogs about how to save money.
Take regular time out – a very important one. You need to look after yourself. Is it also good to step back and tackle certain problems again a bit later on with a clearer head and better perspective because you may be stressing when there is no need to be. Try and do the planning bit by bit which leads me on to the next point.
Don’t leave it till the last minute – I have blogged several weddings that have been planned in less than 6 months so I know it is totally doable, but I can’t imagine the levels of stress those couples must have faced. Even for the most calm and collected brides out there…6 months isn’t long. Give yourself plenty of time to plan for all the what-ifs your wonderfully anxious brain can conjure for you. There is nothing wrong with a long engagement, and you can start booking things straight away rather than wait till the year mark.
It’s not cold feet – this is one that I went through. You are anxious about being anxious. Not about your partner or the actual marriage. Just remember that when you start to get flustered. It is just your anxiety and not you reconsidering if the person you’re marrying is actually the one. It is not cold feet. Just good old, regular anxiety.
Control – this was a major one for me. I was anxious about so many aspects of my wedding (this was thanks to the agoraphobia), once I had talked it all out (see point above) it was then about the control. I know you can’t control everything but you try telling me that. Take control of everything but delegate where you can (the shit stuff) this is also the reason you need plenty of time to plan because taking on so much in a little time is not ideal. Having control over everything you can will leave you with less “what-iffing”. It may be worth looking in to getting a planner who can take control on the actual day if you think it will make you feel better about things, means less stress on your shoulders the morning of the wedding.
Remove your triggers – caffeine, alcohol, baked potatoes, hot weather. What ever may make your anxiety worse, it is worth cutting out for the duration of your planning. Caffeine was a major trigger for me and I feel so much better without it. It is also worth going to your doctor to talk things through and seeing if anything can be managed perhaps through therapy or medication.
It will all work out – have to end on a cliché. Whether anxiety has been brought on by planning or if you are a veteran of panic, it will all work it. It is always so much worse in our heads. My wedding went smoothly, my anxiety levels were a little high (7 on a CBT scale) on the way there but settled down quite quickly. The planning process was managed well and caused me little anxiety even thought I have moved away from home during.
I hope this post is of some help, if you have any other worries or what ifs you want to go through then please do get in touch. I have been in the exact position you are in, I have felt what you’re feeling and I know it isn’t pleasant. If I can be of any help, I would love to. If you have any tips then please add them below!