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When You're Hit With Depression After Your Wedding

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Disclaimer: I know there is a whole bunch of science that can help explain what all this post-wedding depression is about. But I’m not a scientist, just a person with an experience. I want to share my experience with others who may have gone through something similar so they can understand it better and know they aren’t alone.

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect on our wedding day. It was hot but not too hot, sunny but not blindingly so. The night before the sky was slightly overcast and a little drizzly. Some of the folks helping set up fretted, “It better not do this tomorrow!” or “I hope the weather clears up!” I did my best to ignore this because I was already full of anxiety about the whole thing. The weather was the least of my worries at that point.

The scariest thing was going to be standing in front of a bunch of people and professing my undying love for my super handsome fiancé. What does anyone else have to do with it? Why do they all need to rubberneck at us?

Then the day came, and it was fine. Everything was so fine. I certainly had some anxiety on our wedding day, but it was not as bad as I imagined. That came later. We wined and dined, we laughed and we had a really good day. There were emotions, but there were also tacos!

We left for our amazing honeymoon the next day. It was extraordinarily fun and exciting to see a new country with the absolute best person in the entire world.

Post-wedding depression is strange. It made me feel guilty for having a big wedding, for my bridesmaids having to spend money on dresses they might never wear again and for people who traveled from far away places who I didn’t get to spend much time talking to (though realistically it’s probably impossible to talk to 150 people in the span of a couple hours). The list feels almost endless.

For me it hit the day after we got back home. I am currently jobless, so all of these things swirled around in my head for weeks without the welcome distraction of going to work. I would get so overwhelmed I would start crying. I worried I did something weird at the wedding, I wasn’t appreciative enough, I missed out on a photo opportunity with an important guest and about the costs. It was so random, which made it all worse. I hated it.

I also felt weird because after all those months of planning, and I hate to say it — all the attention was suddenly over. No one is asking me about my favorite colors, favorite flowers, telling me how excited they are to see me or any of the other million questions we take for granted when planning a wedding because the stress gets in the way. When planning ended, I just felt sick in a brand new way I didn’t previously have any experience with. I should mention I don’t like to be the center of attention. It’s one of my least favorite things. This was different, and I had no frame of reference for it. I felt hopeless.

I kept thinking about my previous desire to elope — maybe we should have! It would have saved money and stress. Was I even good enough to be someone’s wife? What kind of credentials are necessary for a role like that? And down the rabbit hole I went. Why was my brain doing this? I have no idea, but I think if I didn’t already have an anxiety disorder and depression it wouldn’t have been so bad.

I already get a ridiculous amount of random guilt that sometimes makes me feel completely unworthy of anything good. The best remedy to issues like this one for me is time. As much as it sucks to wait it out, it really does work. I have been looking at wedding pictures to help me realize everything was really good. It was a happy day, and my husband doesn’t think I’m the literal worst. He doesn’t! He thinks I’m the best. And while sometimes my “brain demons” (my pet name for my nagging anxious thoughts) try to convince me otherwise, I’m through the worst of it. I know I’ll be OK because I am never going to give up.

Getty image by Serhii Sobolevskyi

Originally published: October 9, 2019
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