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Oh how much I love having a few hours to focus on …. anything I darn well please!!! Even if my spring break is literally one day. Oh life of a graduate student, I will not miss you! T-Minus 2 months of classes left!

I am so happy to be back blogging! And BOY have these past few weeks been….alarming. This week I felt I needed to come clean about something. THIS is something Martha won’t tell you in-between her brightly colored pages and perfectly manicured tablescapes.

Weddings can make you go crazy!

No. I’m not talking about bridezillas (though I’d argue that is a manifestation of some serious family and psychodynamic failures bubbling to the surface). Nope, not going ga-ga for all things sparkly, pink, and DIY’d. Nope, not going overboard with your “Wedding Binder” that has been collecting ideas (magazine clippings, photos, etc.) since you were 6.

I literally mean crazy. With mixed anxiety type.

As I prepare to (hopefully) receive my MSW in a few weeks (Oh Lord! Breathe!), I have realized I’m putting my pathology class and DSM to good use – on myself.

Yep.

DISCLAIMER: I realize my life is GRAND (I could tell you stories to make your head spin, your heart hurt and Law & Order SVU look tame…..so trust me on this). But we all react differently to stress and need, for our own well-being, to just zip it and listen when our bodies are trying to tell us something. I do not mean for this post to be a whine-fest, but rather to help other brides – nay, women – realize that it’s ok to feel a bit…crazy! It’s what you do in response that matters. And by continuing to say, “It’s all fine. I’m ok.” you make it NOT ok to be a human. We are not Super Women, as much as I’d like to think I am and realize we all have amazing innate abilities – none of which include moving actual mountains. We need to stop perpetuating this idea that we can do it all – JUST LIKE MARTHA – until we all run our beautiful minds and exceptional bodies into the everlasting ground…..We are worth more than that!


About two weeks ago I noticed that after climbing the two flights of steps to my apartment, I’d be out of breath. Not like, “Whew! I gotta work out.” Like, “Oh man! Ok. Breathe in. Breathe out. What is going on? I’m dizzy.” I spend my days running around a major metropolitan hospital and still try to make it to the gym at least 2-3 times a week. So why am I having trouble breathing!? Next I noticed, disrupted sleep cycles – I’d be EXHAUSTED not only mentally, but physically. I could fall asleep in a flash, but I’d wake-up almost every hour and then sleep through my alarm for a good 5 minutes before the sound woke me. Hmmm. Then came the back tension, morning headaches, lack of concentration, increased blood pressure, restlessness and finally, I had an anxiety attack. I mean I actually thought in my mind, “Oh my goodness! I can’t breathe….I’m going to die.” ME. An MSW student. Talk about a wake up.

It all caught up to me. The wedding plans, the wedding dress payment, the save the date address list, my mid-terms, the multitude of papers we have this semester, the licensure requirements, the resume updates, the LinkedIn account I should get set up, the informational interviews I should be conducting, the job applications that I’m not yet qualified for yet because I don’t have a license, the DJ we still hadn’t found, the budget crunching I can do in my sleep, the lack of money I’ll have come this summer, the in-accessibility of my groom who keeps me in balance (long-distance sucks!), the social isolation from friends and family (except for my roommates and “study group” who keep me sane), and ……. the fact that in two months I am MOVING to a state where I know hardly anyone to start OUR life – leaving behind a part of MY life.

All of this is exciting – wonderful – amazing – life-changing – would not swap places with anyone in the whole world fantastic! And I am so thankful to have such a full life.

But at what expense. My health? My mental well-being? Nope. After a very frank conversation with my PCP who kindly checked my thyroid level (ladies hypothyroidism and depression look kinda the same so get checked if you are concerned!) and confirmed my blood pressure at resting was that of someone on a treadmill, I realized that my “prioritizing” and “self-care” had failed miserably. To be honest, even as I write this my chest tightens and I find myself doing PMR (feet to head works for me).

Weddings, moving, graduating, changing careers, looking for a job – are HUGE life changes. And I had to come out and say – it is not all sparkles and butterflies ladies! Life stages and transitions are joyous – and overwhelming. I think it is a great disservice to write a blog about all the sparkly, girly, swoon worthy stuff, without acknowledging the often unspoken reality. These transitions also call for a mourning period. A farewell to a life well-built, well-loved, and well-appreciated for a new life full of unknowns and promises.

Bridal magazines portray smiling faces, happy-go-lucky party-goers, and perky well-poised brides. So are brides supposed to be like that ALL the time EVERYWHERE? Are we supposed to have PERFECT hair, PERFECT outfits, PERFECT gift registries, PERFECT homes to return to after our honeymoon? And what about the Grooms? Are they just a side-kick or accessory? I would hope not! Joe is honestly the only person in this world who can calm me down on a dime – literally, one hug and I’m good. That is why I not only want him as my husband, but need him. We are in this together.

And I’m not the only one who thinks this……how damn refreshing! I was thrilled to see Smitten magazine come out of the bridal suite on this one….

Smitten’s Jan/Feb 2012 Issue.

Their article, “Your Something Blue May Be You,” does a great job of starting this kind of conversation. Your new life means you mourn the lost of a “single” life. Your new life means new decisions, compromises, and considerations for another human-being. Tara Mills, the author and therapist, rightly equates this process to the stages of grief. And not allowing yourself time to reflect on this transformation may mean those stages will interrupt you – and at unexpected moments (come on, who didn’t cry at Marley and Me and think, “Ugh! I miss my – insert dog/cat/bird/fish – name here”). Take time to address your psychological well-being! It’s OK!

Tara shares some important points – like don’t try to be perfect or let other’s impressions/comments sway you (Aunt Lindy means well, but her, “Enjoy this! It’s the best time of your life.” might leave you to think…”Oh goodness! this is the BEST!”). I would recommend finding ways to incorporate your “single”self into your “new” life. She’s not totally disappearing. Also, get your partner involved! They will be there for better or worse so….start ’em now. This is what a marriage is all about. After talking very frankly with Joe about what was going on he stepped up his DJ search and took that off my plate – gladly (Add another CHECK on our to do list). And don’t forget to feed your soul – which is the same soul of that single girl – so call a friend, laugh about that one time…, and enjoy being the woman you have always been. And finally, find a fellow bride. Whether it’s to gripe about calligraphy costs or how to meld best with your in-laws, it’s always better to have a friend who can understand what you mean when you say, “I think I am honestly loosing it!”

Because you are. But for wonderful reasons.

Exhale,

Erin

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