So it’s the day of your wedding and you’re feeling a little nervous. All around you are a team of helpers preening, fussing and attending to details. You feel somehow outside yourself watching the flurry of activity turning like a hurricane turning around you and for a second you don’t feel involved. Your mind begins to wander and suddenly your imagination is confronted by an rotating carousel of potential problems. You panic…
What if the band takes requests from a tipsy aunt with a thing for Bon Jovi?
What if the cake melts?
What if the caterers run out of booze?
What if someone else is wearing the same dress?
Wait, ‘wearing the same dress’? Who would show up to a wedding in a wedding dress other than the bride? Unless… the venue was double booked for two weddings?! ….By this point, you realise that the nature and extent of your panic is not only irrational but deep seated, and you wonder if there’s something more to read into it. Suddenly you’re asking a whole different bunch of questions.
What am I doing?
Have I picked the right person?
Will I be able to keep a marriage together?
I need a little more time!
If you feel this way, you should cancel your wedding immediately and get out of there as fast as you can. Never look back. Never! I mean, if it was ‘meant to be’ you’d never have these kinds of feelings right?…
Wrong. Oh so very, very wrong.
It’s funny how we’re always told that a certain amount of pre-wedding anxiety is normal… But somehow… when it’s US, when WE’RE the ones feeling it, it feels completely unnatural. It feels somehow more significant and less like the predictable ‘wedding jitters’. What we often fail to emphasise is that not only should we expect to feel these feelings, but we can’t really expect NOT to.
The decision to marry is just like any other enormous life decision and irrespective of how confident we are about our choice, there will always be a little mental discomfort. We feel it to a lesser extent when we buy a new home, plan a long holiday, change job… Why do we sometimes expect not to feel it when taking the leap into marriage? What tends to make this feeling all the worse is that we worry that it doesn’t feel normal, but then again of course ‘not feeling normal’ doesn’t feel normal. It’s not supposed to! Just because we know that anxiety IS natural doesn’t mean it’s meant to FEEL that way; and the sooner your realise this the sooner you’ll be able to let go of it.
So if you’re dealing with panic and it feels ugly and overwhelming and you hear a little voice in your head saying ‘It shouldn’t feel this way’, give that voice a reality check. Panic is by definition ugly and overwhelming, and you are allowed to feel it even when you’re making the right choice. Trust the history of the choice you made, not the surging discomfort of the present moment.
And if it helps, repeat the mantra:
‘In anxiety and blind panic, till death do us part, amen’.