Sunday, September 25, 2022

Seven Days and Counting... Planning a Wedding with Mental Illness

In hindsight, I should have been writing about this journey all along. But in hindsight, there's SO much I wish I had done differently.

It's September 25, 2022... seven days, only ONE week, before my wedding - the wedding I started planning back in late March of this past year, soooooo about six months ago (about 180 days and 24 weeks). 

When I started, it was all fun. I had a blast making my wedding unique. Basically, I took all of the parts of a wedding, researched the traditional way each is done, and then found an alternate way to accomplish the same thing.

There are all kinds of quirky aspects of my wedding - things I'm proud of thinking of:

- We couldn't find a wedding topper that represented us, so we found Lego photographers.

- Instead of a fancy, traditional wedding cake, we are building one with Little Debbie snack cakes.

- My fiance' absolutely loves baseball so we're making a special small Little Debbie cake to put on our table at the reception, complete with a Lego baseball player for our Lego selves to photograph and various Lego people (including superheroes) to be in the stands.

- I have a suit of armor who was going to be a prominent part of the reception when it was going to be held at our house (more on that later), so the main wedding cake, the Little Debbie cake I mentioned earlier, is going to be in the shape of a castle... complete with a moat made with a mixture of sanding sugar and sprinkles... AND a moat monster (Randall from Monsters, Inc).

- I don't like to wear dresses so I'm wearing a tunic with leggings... and an incredibly sparkly long veil and rhinestone-covered tennis shoes.

- My fiance' and I are becoming fluent in sign language so we are going to sign parts of the wedding and one of the decorations is a set of wooden hands that have joints - we are making them each have the hand shape that says, "I love you."

- Instead of a ringbearer, my daughter's fiance's emotional support animal will carry the rings up the aisle. When it's time to give them to the officiant, the plan is for her to say "Shake," and he'll hold up his paw with the rings tied on it for her to take.

- Sand ceremonies are becoming more traditional so that's not too unusual, but we are including a blend of four colors to represent our parents, white sand to represent God, and we are including my daughter and her fiance' with their own colors. We are also putting the sand in a shadow-box frame and on special occasions, we are going to turn it one rotation - so that the sand gradually being blended shows how our lives are becoming more enmeshed.

- Our flower girl is going to push a cart that holds the sand ceremony stuff... and on the cart will be a sign I made that says, "Though I'm undeniably adorable, wait until you see the Bride."

There are so many other touches that I'm doing that will make this wedding unique - and ours.

But though all the planning was fun at first, my and my loved ones' mental illnesses and physical issues have come into play over and over throughout the process.

- It's not directly related (pun intended) to my mental/physical issues, but family has been a big factor in adding stress, which makes those issues worse. Originally, I had planned to have the wedding and reception at home with only a few people attending in person. We decided this somewhat for financial reasons but due to my social anxiety disorder - I don't like crowds. We were planning to Livestream it for those who are out of town. 

Then my family started taking over and telling me how to do my wedding. To combat that, we decided to move it to a neutral venue... one we could control easier. It didn't eliminate the stress my family continues to pile on concerning the wedding, but it helped.

- My daughter is not doing well right now - physically or mentally. I really wanted her to be much more involved than she can be. I understand what's going on but it's still disappointing.

However, because I know that some days she does well and others she doesn't, I have backup plans for all of her parts of the wedding, just in case she's having a bad day. I also changed some things I originally wanted to do to give her more time to rest in between all of the wedding activities.

- I have a similar issue to my daughter's... I also have good days and bad days physically and emotionally, though not as extreme or life-altering as hers.

Similar to the strategy to help her, I've been working since the beginning of the planning to get as much done up front as possible, so I'm not having to go sunup to sundown every day this last week. I'm still nervous that I'll overdo it so I'm making a conscious effort to try to rest some everyday.

There is a lot more that I could share, but I honestly do still have a lot to do. If I think about anything else, I'll either add it to this post or will do another one AFTER the honeymoon.

One last thing I need to say, though. At the top of my master to-do list, I wrote:

REMINDER FOR TRACY - and anyone else who might need to know: 

As a perfectionist with a lot of OCD traits, this is very difficult to do. However, I know how important it is to remember. If I worry about perfection, there will be no way to be in the moment and enjoy what a great time this is.

Like we say in addiction support groups... It's "Progress Not Perfection."

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