Getting married while mental

There are lots of things a bride-to-be has to consider.  What will I wear? Are people going to fight?  How on earth will I be able to wee in a giant dress?  Is it acceptable to be drunk at your own wedding?

But with our wedding day speeding towards us, there are things I have to consider which, quite frankly, I wish I didn’t have to.  Mentalism.  Butt out!  Can’t you just go one day without bothering me?

The first big piece of advice I got about wedding planning was, “Make sure the excitement and stress doesn’t make you ill!”  Well meaning, of course, but it’s not what you want to hear.  Of course, weddings are stressful (I had no idea how much until I got engaged, if anything, it’s the politique that is the most stressful, especially when you do not want a big wedding and are doing it on a shoestring but a lot of cultural expectations dictate this and that) and you hear about people turning into, “Bridezillas” and having a breakdown before the day, being carried down the aisle with a limp arm resting on their minivan-size dress.

The sad thing is, though, I knew they were right.  I have spent nights up frantically clicking on photos of dresses and poof! A night’s sleep is gone, just like that and the next day I am a bit, OOH.  Worse, though, is the happiness side of it, the excitement which can tip someone over the edge, but it’s okay, my deadening, zombifying medication takes care of that.  I’m allowed to be stressed, but not excited.

We are having our wedding at 3.30pm on a Friday afternoon, not because we particularly wanted a late afternoon wedding, but because there is the very real possibility that if I take my stupid medication I will either sleep in or be so drugged I will slur, “I do” and panic my soon-to-be-husband’s family that he is marrying an alcoholic.  Or worse, be so drugged I haze through it, unfeeling and unthinking, as I do a large proportion of my life. I am genuinely afraid I am going to be absent on my own wedding day.

There’s the other consideration, “Oh shit! My arms!” Besides what I wrote in my last post, I really don’t want to have my arms out, I would just be too uncomfortable.  They look frigging awful in photos, too.  So I am less thinking, “I’m going to get a pretty dress” and more thinking, “In what way can I cover my arms and not bake in August?”

And, of course, the expectation that a bride must be A BEAUTIFUL FUCKING PRINCESS and, for someone with body dysmorphia and a past eating disorder, it’s unsurprising that some of my latent anxious behaviours have kicked right back in.  On this count, at least, I have finally admitted some uncomfortable truths to Robert, which is the first step in me taking back control.  But I saw myself on video a few days ago and went into a mad tailspin of being unbelieving I looked like that, and suddenly could not bear the thought of people looking at me, and they will be.  Unless I staple a veil to my face. And body.  I find social interaction incredibly nervewracking too so what the hell am I going to do?

I also worry that I will wake up two weeks beforehand and be nailed against the wall by depression.  Robert knows how swiftly, how severely it can hit me, out of nowhere, like the big stupid wanker it is, and says it’s fine if we need to cancel the wedding because of it, knowing the day will not cut through the fugue (because absolutely nothing does). But that is kind of my worst nightmare.

All this said, though, I am delighted to be getting married to the love of my life.  Urgh! I hear you boke, but he really is.  He is my messy, silly other half, my first love, and my last.  He is wonderful and he makes me extremely happy. I am excited about getting up in front of my family (alas, Granny Molloy-less, she is too frail to come, and minus my dad) and friends and saying, “THIS ONE HERE, I LIKE THIS ONE THE BEST”.  I’m excited about having our first dance, eating cake, buggering off back to our hotel and then frigging off on honeymoon for a week.

(We are going to Rome. We have a honeymoon register as we don’t need household stuff here: http://www.honeyfund.com/wedding/robertandseaneen which apparently you are supposed to post on your wedding website?  Who has one of those? All this stuff is an etiquette minefield.  But I’ll be 27 while I’m in Rome!  I lived to 27! Jesus!).

And most of all, of course, I am delighted and excited to be marrying Robert, and to be spending my life with him.  He is pretty cool.

But this all brings uneasy questions to the fore.  Uneasy in their, “This should be easy” and it’s not.  Children, for example.  I do really want to have children.  I have had “those” discussions with doctors that have ranged from, “NO” to, “Be careful”.  And we will be careful.

But can we handle children?  We are intelligent, mature and loving people, but one of us has the tendency to go a little mad.  I spent some days in perinatel psychiatry lately.  And it was terrifying to be confronted with my possible future.  It was another imagining- like my wedding- were mental health makes an unwelcome intrusion.  If you have a history of manic depression (technically, I’m not sure I do, but it is probably that, let’s face it) or if your mother has had postnatal psychosis (mine has), you get an automatic referral to their services.

“Services”.  I spent such a long time worming my way out of them, and I may worm my way back in.  I am glad these places exist, I think perinatal and postnatal illness is something that should be given more attention.  But to exist within them?  It is not how I imagined my pregnancy.  I thought it would just be me, the dad and our big lovely belly.

I have been pregnant once before.  And the circumstances were very different, so it probably affected my mental health with them being as they were.  But hormonally and physically, within a very short period of time, I was a mess.  I was crying constantly. I found what was happening to my body utterly distressing.  I lost my shit and it took a very long time to recover it.  But again- could have been the circumstances.

But I have also seen my mum when she was ill and it was extremely frightening.  And with lack of sleep being der rigeur in new mums, I wonder if I will go the same way as her.  It scares the shit out of me.

And then as a mother.  I know lots of mums with mental health problems who are great mums, but there is a chance I won’t be.  I had a shitstorm of a childhood which has given me a fuckload of issues. I don’t want to repeat those things, I don’t want to give my issues to my children (for a start, I will REALLY need to sort out my body image). Then again, every one has that worry, it’s not just people with mental health problems.  Who may be viewed by others as an incapable mum.

Well, balls to them.  We’ll be great.  We have love! Creativity! And very sweet cats.

And if I do go psychotic and mad (and it’s quite rare so what’s to say it could happen?), at least there’s the Mother and Baby Unit at the Bethlem.  I’m lucky to live here.  Couldn’t go mad in a better place, really.  Bright side, eh?

It does, though, bring things into sharp and happy relief.  I never imagined my life would be where it’s at now.  Or that I would feel capable of having children, or even committing to another person, one who doesn’t worry about me topping myself.  Or that me topping myself is now a remote possibility, and not a concrete immovable object on the horizon.  To be sane enough to even organise the damn thing, to be sane enough to do it while going to university.  There is the trade off-medication, and I am going to need to have a serious discussion about it because the compromise is becoming too great- but all in all, I’m alright.  To be planning a future, even a rather scary one, is more than I ever expected.

(Although he is quite dangerous, judging by this video)

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