Tag Archives: anxiety

Friday Wedding Meditation: Concentration

22 Jun

It is still more than two months until our wedding, but I am already having trouble concentrating on other things. Why do work when (besides it being a bit slow because of the summer) I can look at potential snorkeling trips for the honeymoon or chat with everyone I know who is online about wedding plans? Because if I don’t, I will 1) Not get any work done in the next couple months and 2) Lose my mind. So here is my attempt at a meditation to help with concentration on things OTHER than weddings.

Sit for a moment with your breath. Notice it going in and out of your nose. As thoughts arise, notice them, and try to come back to your breath. At first your mind may seem very noisy and it may be hard to notice your breath at all. Let your to-do list, your doubts, your nervousness, your excitement come to the surface and then pass away. Take each thought as it arises and speak to it. You may say, “Hello, excitement,” or “Hello, worry.” Your thoughts and feelings will still be there to come back to if you choose to let them go for now. Slowly, your mind will quiet.  As it does, you can shift your focus to a task you would like to complete. If more distracting thoughts arise, say hello to them and gently let them go.




Being a Pain in the Ass

14 Jun

A couple weeks ago, on APW, Michelle wrote about how her wedding day didn’t have anything to do with shaping her marriage but the engagement process did.

She wrote, “It was the months leading up the wedding where the start of our marriage was the most affected. The process is where the real foundation started to build itself. It was in the planning where we learned skills on how to work with each other towards a common goal. Those months were when we first had to manage a budget together, when we had to make decisions with level heads, and when we both had to learn how to compromise without feeling like we lost the battle.”

I responded, “Thanks for this. I was just thinking that some of what I am learning is how obnoxious I can be, haha. Uh oh. But using that as a LEARNING opportunity and a chance to work on that is a much nicer way to think of it than using it as some kind of marriage forecaster.”

I agree with Michelle and many others that the engagement is important– that it sets the foundation for being your own family, that it helps you learn to make decisions together, and that it brings you closer to each other’s families. But how can I do what I talk about in my comment and work on the ways that I can be such a pain in the ass?

I don’t like the term “Bridezilla.” As Meg talks about in the APW book, a lot of the time it is about “making you crazy, then calling you crazy.” You are expected to plan a major event at the same time you are going through a major life transition and then people slap a demeaning gendered stereotype on you when you get stressed out about it. Part of me, though, has still been a little proud of how I’ve avoided being a brat about a lot of the stereotypical things. I patted myself on the back for being so easygoing that I let my bridesmaids pick their own dresses, not caring at all when J’s grandmother picked a cream colored dress to wear, and letting a lot of the superficial stuff go. However, I am trying to acknowledge some ways that I have been emotionally trying on those around me *cough…J…cough*, beyond what is fair given the stress that Meg describes. I may not be acting like a brat about decorations or favors but I’ve been a brat about the stress I’ve felt, about crafts not going the way I’ve wanted them to, and about making sure things are done on time. I’m moody and I catastrophize things out loud to J more than I am even doing in my mind–  maybe because I want to be reassured (it is probably good for me that he doesn’t put up with crap and tells me I am being dumb instead of trying to sooth me though sometimes I wish he leaned a little more toward the soothing side), but also largely out of habit. And when I get into this cycle where I am yelling about things being so stressful and wrong, I start to feel more like they are stressful and wrong, but mostly feel like I have to yell even more to justify why I started doing it in the first place.

So how do I stop? I want to work on the way I act. I want to not only get my anxiety more under control (which I have done a lot), but also to start ACTING in a way that reflects this.

It makes me more thankful for J when I realize I’m in this mode. But also, I’d like to be better about it. Maybe I need a buzzword. Something to “click” when I’m acting moody to help myself snap out of it. How do you change reactions and behaviors in yourself that are just as much habit as they are real reflections of how you feel?

Anxiety, OCD, and Wedding Planning

12 Apr

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.