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Anxiety Won't Keep Me From Going to My Stepdaughter's Wedding

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My stepdaughter’s wedding is in two days. I have anxiety and it is at an all time high. The wedding is a large event including many people. I am intimidated by dealing with large groups of people. Usually, I find an excuse and opt out of most events, even family gatherings. But this is for my beloved girl. Somehow, I must overcome the voices that attempt to make me feel scared and inadequate.

My dress is chosen and has been fitted. Anxiety is telling me it will not fit me now. It will not zip. If it zips, you will bust the zipper when you try to sit down. Just wait and see. My head tries to rationalize away these things anxiety says but the fears remain in the back of my mind. I pull a second dress and shoes to take with me “just in case.” I feel uncomfortable in my skin.

Think about walking down the aisle, whispers my anxiety. All eyes will be on you.  Don’t trip. The thought of all eyes being on me as I walk down the aisle is terrifying.  What if I do trip? How embarrassing would that be? My anxiety fires another shot. You are wearing heels, right?  You are not so great at walking in them. My confidence is totally undermined.

Anxiety adds the final blow. What if you fall while you are dancing? You know you have no balance. You and B have not been practicing. Imagine everyone watching you? I do not want to imagine this. I try to turn off my anxiety, but it is here to stay.

My joy in attending this event is crushed and replaced by waves of anxiety. I wanted to curl up in a ball and give up. But I started using some strategies my therapist had suggested to me.

I made a list of five people I feel comfortable talking with. I planned some things to say to them. I practiced short topics to share with strangers that I might be introduced to and I prepared ways to exit conversations. I thought of places, including my car, where I could take a short break if my anxiety started to rise and overwhelm me.

I prepared two complete outfits. If one dress fails, I will simply wear the other and pretend I am choosing to wear it because the first was too hot. The weather is calling for a very warm day. Take that anxiety!

I took out my heels and practiced walking in them. To my surprise, all the yoga I have been doing has really helped my balance. I had no problems. My confidence increased and my anxiety went into hiding.

I think I am ready. But if anxiety rears its ugly head, I am prepared with one more strategy: talk to my husband. He is always willing to coach me through social situations.

He will be by my side much of the evening. When he is not, I will be using my strategies or taking a break. He always comes back shortly to check on me. I trust his care and concern for me and his knowledge of my anxiety.

Despite all my anxiety, I realize I am ready for my daughter’s wedding! I have the strategies to cope with my anxiety and with support from my husband, I can even enjoy the wedding.

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Thinkstock photo via O_Lypa.

Originally published: March 16, 2017
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