#laurenellaweddingmonth Day Three | Planning a wedding when you struggle with your mental health


Hello again! A slightly more serious post from me today as part of my #laurenellaweddingmonth series. I've never been particularly secretive on my blog and on social media about the fact that I suffer from pretty severe anxiety and OCD, and I know I spoke to a lot of you earlier on this year on Twitter when my doctor actually prescribed me Sertraline to try and deal with it and I found that it really was helping me quite a lot.

Let me just start this post by saying that I'm hugely excited to get married. I always knew I wanted a fairly big wedding with all my family and friends around me and I honestly can't wait for the big day. However, it would be disingenuous for me to pretend that actually, being excited about something will just override any of your worries and mental health 'quirks' - it doesn't work that way.

Planning a wedding with OCD and anxiety


I've suffered with aspects of my OCD since I was around 6 years old I think, so there's parts of it that are so deeply part of my identity that it's difficult to fully judge what it affects, but I can absolutely pinpoint parts of the wedding planning process where I have based a lot of my decision based on what will bring me the least anxiety.

Whether that's making sure the ceremony venue is the same as the reception venue (I'm not good travelling in strange cars and even if it's with someone I know it tends to take me up to half an hour to build up to leaving) or just ensuring that my dress isn't too constricting (i get very claustrophobic). I've also absolutely had panic attacks about some of the aspects of the day that I can't do much about like the ceremony (I don't like being in situations where I can't leave if I want to at any moment).

That's actually part of the reason that I went back to my doctor and decided that I would try being on medication again - I got really sad and stressed that what should be the happiest day of my life was yet again being affected by the parts of my brain that I just can't shut up.

It doesn't help that people don't seem to really talk about being anything but thrilled and excited by the whole planning process. Please know that you're not alone if you've at any point found everything stressful as hell and completely panic inducing. You're not alone if you've desperately changed the subject when someone asks how you're getting on or even if at times you've honestly just felt completely ambivalent about it all and just wish it would be over.

Things that I have found helpful


  • Rely on other people. I don't just mean your friends and family either, though they're bound to be complete superstars. I've left a lot of the little decisions completely up to my suppliers - I've got no idea what kind of flowers I'm having beyond the colour scheme and the only thing I picked about our cake was the flavours. When you're dealing with lots of BIG things, it's only going to help you to let go of the SMALL things - especially if you have a tendency towards perfectionism and freak out if you're left to your own devices. 
  • Do whatever you can to feel as comfortable as possible before the big day. I know that I tend to do best in situations when I know exactly where everything is and what's happening. So, I've been over to our venue numerous times and mapped out exactly where all the exits are, where the toilets are, where I'll be at every point in the day. I've made lists and schedules of everything that I might need to do in the morning and then delegated as much as I can to other people. I've booked accommodation close to the venue so I know I don't have to worry about any car journeys longer than ten minutes the whole weekend. Your wedding day is not the day to push yourself as far out of your comfort zone as you've ever been.
  • Speak to your doctor. I'm so beyond happy that I was finally convinced by my doctor to try Sertraline. I'd had some bad experiences with antidepressants before but every single one is different, and it's not in any way a bad thing to admit that you might need a bit of extra help. If you're already taking medication, your doctor might be able to refer you in the direction of some extra support - whether that's online forums or community counselling groups. 
  • Go to the gym. I don't mean some horrible variation of slimming down for the gown - I give precisely no fucks about the fact that I haven't lost half my body weight in the run up to the wedding. All those cliches about exercise helping with your mental wellbeing and the happy endorphins thing though? They're all true - it'll help, trust me.
  • Be a bit selfish. This is your day and you're going to be dealing with enough shit - there's absolutely no need for you to also be catering to the fact that your aunt wants to bring all five of her kids' plus ones, or that your grandparents won't eat anything spicy when you're dreaming of having a taco van in the evening. Problems with the in-laws? Plonk that firmly in the lap of your spouse to be and go and have a bubble bath with a large glass of cold white wine. In the words of a Disney Queen - let. it. go. 
  • Embrace what could go wrong. As a professional catastrophiser, I'm well versed in the art of jumping to the absolute worst conclusion and convincing myself that is what is happening. So, where you can, process some less than ideal scenarios before the day itself so you're not left floundering last minute. Plan for bad weather, get your wedding insurance sorted, give all of your suppliers as many emergency contacts as you can note down. Remember - when shit happens, it gets dealt with - it's the anticipation that's a bloody nightmare.

Remember.

No matter what the glossy magazines and American forums tell you, there is no absolute wedding planning process or mindset that you should have. I can tell you with absolutely no fucks given that I cannot wait for the whole planning thing to be over, but that doesn't mean that I'm secretly planning to run away or that my marriage is doomed from the start. All feelings are valid feelings and to be honest, you just need to do what works for you. 

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