So I had a serious breakdown two weeks ago. I broke down on my bed with J beside me. I cried and cried. I sobbed. I had trouble breathing. Snot was flowing freely. J wasn’t sure what to do. And I just asked him to let me cry.
This wedding planning business is stressful for everyone, but for someone like me–a perfectionist with a sub-threshold pathological need for approval–navigating through the wedding planning process has been like swimming through a thick pond filled with self-doubt, self-criticism, and plain old negative thoughts. Every time I make it to the surface for fresh air, I get pulled back into the sludge and I flounder in my worries and catastrophic thinking. I know my thoughts are distorted. I know my worries aren’t realistic. But that Sunday, I felt like I was drowning.
Nothing particularly bad happened. In fact, it was a successful weekend of shopping with my in-laws and my friends. J ordered his sherwani. J and I looked at potential rental units. It was a productive weekend. But, because it was so productive, I didn’t relax or sleep properly. J and I stayed up unnecessarily late working on the invitation. All I could do was worry about them.
Also, the shopping, though it was fun, also cemented the reality that all these people are coming to my wedding. Everyone was going to see the final product. My wedding suddenly became very real.
I remember feeling slightly distracted and anxious while out, and it wasn’t till I came back to my own space that I felt safe enough to attend to my emotions and my thoughts. And that’s when I broke down.
J and I are planning the wedding essentially on our own. We’ve chosen all the vendors, all the decor, pretty much every last detail. If things aren’t perfect and amazing, I will get criticized by my family
I’m afraid that nothing I do will be good enough(and this ain’t just for my wedding, folks–it’s a life long battle)
If the invitations aren’t beautiful, I’ll get mocked by my family–why didn’t you just hire someone else?
Basically, if anything to do with the wedding isn’t perfect or wonderful, that’s because I suck and I’m not good at anything.
The wedding is going to be a disaster and everyone is going to ridicule me for it because I’m the bride and I’m responsible.
I’m so stupid for thinking all these things. What’s wrong with me?
When I see these words written down, they seem so insignificant. So petty. So self-absorbed in a Paris Hilton kind of way. But, in the moment, they were SO STRONG. I was convinced things would be awful. With all these thoughts floating around in my head, I felt incredibly dismayed and pretty anxious; hence, the tears, and sobs, and snot. I know–these are pretty fucked up ways of thinking and not entirely realistic. Yes, the automatic response is–Who cares what people think? It’s my wedding day! But, the reality is, guys, that I do care what people think.
The most problematic factor, though, is not what other people think, it’s what I think. Why do I need so much approval from others? Why can’t I be satisfied with my own efforts? Why don’t I trust myself?
Sometimes I feel like such a strange contradiction–I am so confident and assertive in many aspects. I know what I want, I can usually ask for it, and I often get it. I know I’m good at things, but I guess I don’t think I’m great at them. And that’s where the problem lies–I’m not ok with good. I need things to be Great. Amazing. “Mind-blasting” (a la Russell Peters). And that’s when the insecure part of me becomes overbearingly loud and clouds my judgement and perception. And I become entirely ineffective.
J tried to comfort me, and surprisingly, after I asked him to just let me cry, I stopped. I was tired. I was drained. But, I strangely felt a little better. My cry was cathartic in a sense. I acknowledged my feelings, my thoughts, and my judgments. J went home and I went to bed.
So what did I learn?
Sometimes, crying can be helpful. An emotional release can rid you of your pent up emotional energy.
I am way too hard on myself.
This wedding doesn’t define me
I need to ensure I sleep and relax properly
I have to start asking for help more often
I have to ensure I work out regularly
I have the most amazingly supportive fiance ever. He’ll try to fix me, but he’s ok to see me broken for a bit if I ask him
I don’t have to be SuperBride.
I am pretty amazing for the most part, and even with minimal effort, my wedding will also be amazing. Hopefully. 🙂