5 Tips to Survive Wedding Planning When You're Chronically Ill

Wedding planning is stressful on anyone, healthy or not. Throw in some health issues? It becomes an even bigger issue.

I’m excited because I get to marry my best friend. However, in addition to other medical issues, I discovered I had fibromyalgia two months before my wedding. I was devastated when I learned there’s no proven cure and I would be reliant on dietary changes and exercise.

Exercise? Excuse me doc, but do you have fibro? Not to say exercise isn’t helpful or necessary, it is crucial. However, it is much more challenging when your body feels like it’s on fire. A trip to the toilet is often too painful and if I could avoid it I probably would. How on earth will I survive my wedding day? A day, actually months, filled with meticulous planning, intense socializing, lots of movement, etc. It sounded like my worst nightmare. But I found ways to cope. These tips can apply to any stressful situation for those of us who are chronically ill:

1. Self-care is more important than ever. Despite the constant “to do before I do” list, you must prioritize your health. If you don’t, how will you get to enjoy your special day? For me this meant lots of Epsom soaks, pamper days with face masks, little indulgences like a glass of wine, resting up, and taking breaks as needed.

2. Break every thing into chunks to avoid overwhelming emotions. When I saw my entire to do list I fell into despair’s ugly pit. No way would I accomplish all this! But I did. I made a to do list with only a few tasks on it each day. With my fibro this was still a difficult matter but it made it more bearable. I wasn’t looking at the entire mountain questioning how I’d get to the top. I was noting the steps I was taking to get there.

3. Avoid procrastinating! This was my biggest downfall. After my diagnosis, a tidal wave of depression stole me. I needed time to grieve but it interfered with my planning as well as my overall health. Grief is important believe it or not. But I try to view depression as a house I visit. It’s OK to stop by and catch-up, but don’t become roommates. The procrastination that ensued as a result left me in a massive flare and a weeping mess. I moved in with depression for a while. Try to do even a little thing each day and be proud of that. Some is always better than none. Don’t allow depression’s voice to conquer your own.

4. That being said, if you need to take a break and hit the pause button, do it. I kept pushing myself so hard it exacerbated my flare and made accomplishing my small tasks feel like they were the actual mountain instead of steps. Do your self-care, the other stuff will still be there when you’re ready to come back to it.

5. Remember, you deserve love. Being chronically ill does not detract from your worth. Needing breaks is a necessity for anyone. We are all human and it’s OK to be upset, mess up, or need time to recover. Treat yourself like you would a loved one and you’ll get through it. It’s OK to struggle, but know when to let others help you. Love yourself enough to accept help as needed. You deserve it.

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