Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Aftermath

I expected to have pretty severe post-wedding depression, and I did, but it wasn't at all what I thought it would be.

I expected to miss the planning.  I expected to feel let down.  I expected to feel like the best day of my life was behind me and now I had nothing to look forward to.  Instead, I felt relieved.  I looked forward to Sunday mornings at the farmer's market and going back to church and riding my bike with my husband.  I looked forward to winter races and the possibility of a spring vacation.

My husband got up at 6:30 on Christmas to come to the reservoir at sunrise with me. Marriage is awesome.  
Mostly because his parents now let us share a bed.

Did I do a large amount of rehashing the wedding in my head?  Yes, because this is what I do for a living, to some extent - I plan events for work or for student groups, and then we talk through them afterwards and decide what will work better next year.  It was a lot of adjustment to remember that there would be no next time.  But that's okay - I have all of you to boss around and tell what to do and what to care about.  

The severe depression that hit me was more because I was completely emotionally bankrupt.  I do not recommend working on a political campaign and planning a wedding at the same time.  Working on the campaign required me to call in favors, return favors, and generally feel exhausted all the time.  I was also living with my parents, which takes its own toll.  After the wedding, I packed back up and moved back home for the last three weeks of the campaign.  My grandmother got very very sick around this time, and we knew the end was coming and I knew I wouldn't make it out to see her.  I was also getting bar results right after the campaign was over.  Plus, once the campaign ended, I was out of a job and there is something terrifying about knowing that unemployment is just around the corner, and the job market is totally dry.  I had put so much of myself into the wedding, the campaign, and trying to take care of my family that by the time election night rolled around, I begged out of the victory party early, went home, and cried.  

You might not be in exactly my circumstances, but like Mouse has talked about a lot, the post-wedding stress is very difficult, because you have put so much of your life on hold.  I managed to come out of my emotional bankruptcy with a restructuring plan, and am mostly okay these days, except that unemployment kind of sucks.   Anyway, here is what helped me:
1.) Don't plan anything.  Not having anything planned helped remind me what was so great about not being in the throes of wedding planning, but also what was so great about being unemployed.  Not having anything to do is one of the few advantages of unemployment.  I would say try not to plan anything for a full month after your wedding.  Schedule spur of the moment dinners with friends and make Velveeta mac & cheese rather than making a lot of effort.  
2.) Write thank you notes.  Nothing helps with emotional bankruptcy like writing heartfelt thank-you notes.  It's one of the few ways you can pay back everything you owe everyone after the wedding.  We also sorted out the thank-you gifts for most people, except our ushers, who we still haven't gotten anything for because nothing is good enough, especially my brother-in-law.  (Yeah, yeah, we know, we suck.)  Also, getting your thank-you notes out only a month after the wedding will make you feel REALLY good.  
3.) Get Sh*t Done.  Open your gifts, exchange the ones you aren't keeping, and recycle all of the packaging.  Freecycle/craigslist any leftover stuff - don't let it sit around for months "meaning" to sell it.  Return everything you borrowed, donate what you can't repurpose, and start repurposing what you do plan to use.  It's cathartic to not have the ghost of your wedding hanging around.  
4.) Design your album.  This will let you relive the wedding, but also be happy that it's over.  Don't dwell on things that make you angry or things that went wrong - yes, this gets much much easier with time.  Design books for your parents.  
5.) Use your gifts.  I bake a lot now, and yes, I gained ten pounds, but everytime I use our KitchenAid and every time I use our food processor and every time I break out the Le Creuset cast iron skillet or french oven, it feels like love.  And I remember that there are people that love us, every day, and they don't love us because they came to our wedding - they came to our wedding because they love us.  It makes the guilt about all that work and all that money for one day feel smaller.  
6.) Craft.  I made a lot of Christmas gifts this year and found it to be very cathartic.
7.) Focus on other people.  I don't mean doing volunteer work (although that helps too) - I mean hang out with the friends you've ignored while wedding planning, and go to events, and have a good time with people you like.  Chances are you have friends who are engaged or having kids or doing something else like that - check in with them.  Do things for other people, without thinking about how you would do it, or trying to vomit advice on them.  (It's hard.)

I hope this helps you, if you go through what I went through.  Don't be afraid to talk to people about how you're feeling - chances are, they will be understanding and not just say, "you're sad because the wedding is over and not everything is about YOU!"  Talking helps, and other people might have some good advice or words of wisdom.  

1 comment:

  1. Great list - I've bookmarked for future reference. I also laughed out loud at the picture caption, because we've been engaged for almost a year and he still has to sleep on the couch at my parents' house. It is so silly but we don't want to launch World War 3 over it so we just do it. Sigh.

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