I have had anxiety, sometimes including OCD tendencies, since I was a kid, and it has been more prominent at some times than others. Often it flares up in times of change– notably, graduating high school and going to college and finishing grad school. I somehow largely avoided it when I was graduating from college, maybe because I was so excited to move out to California. It could also be, though, that those times of high anxiety were caused by traumatic events that happened around the same time ( a car accident with my best friend the summer between high school and college and witnessing a man lose his leg near the end of grad school), or maybe it was the combination of trauma and transition (oooh, alliteration!). Still, I want to be mindful of my anxious tendencies leading up to the wedding and marriage.
There are lots of sticking points that could aggravate it. There are so many messages saying your wedding has to be perfect that even someone who isn’t normally anxious might, for example, want to be sure every single dish is done, and every single hair is shaved off of her legs before she leaves for the venue so that she doesn’t think about these things during the MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF HER LIFE. I don’t want to obsess over every single stray hot glue string. The wedding industrial complex is already telling me that if all of these things aren’t PERFECT, then I clearly don’t care about my wedding, and therefore clearly do not care about my marriage, which is clearly not going to be a good one. I don’t want or need my anxiety disorders to tell me that too.
So I am doing my best not to listen to those outside messages and to use the internal ones as an opportunity. When I was going to the counseling center at my grad school, my wonderful therapist encouraged me to just not listen to my “magical thinking” (If you do this, or don’t do that, then something BAD will happen). By defying it, and reinforcing that bad things don’t happen when I don’t listen, I help myself heal. Every time I fold a flower and set it down even though the crease isn’t perfect, I am healing. It’s just one of the many gifts of this process.