Yes. Post wedding blues are not fictional, they do indeed exist, often accompanied by the overwhelming feeling of guilt, for not automatically feeling like the happiest new wife/ hubby in the world post marriage.
I received this email from a gorgeous Nu Bride reader recently:
It took me somewhat by surprise, but I experienced post-wedding blues in a way I would never have imagined.
I was FULL of regret and remorse for all of the tiny, stupid things that went wrong on my wedding day, internally blaming bridesmaids and suppliers alike for multiple regrets I had about our wedding day.
Why didn’t someone calm me down before I walked down the aisle to ensure that I wasn’t totally overwhelmed?!
I didn’t miss planning a wedding like so many told me I would, instead I regretted things like taking my veil off for the formal pictures (it was driving me crazy in the wind), for not stopping to take a moment before I walked down the aisle, for not sacrificing formal photographs for ones of just the two of us, like we had actually planned. And I was so consumed by these emotions that I couldn’t even look at anything wedding-related, be it friends’ weddings or the Facebook groups I’d been following, out of pure jealousy. Which is just horrible.
Thankfully after a few months and some severe self-straight-talking, plus the support of my amazing husband, I am now totally in love with the images and memories of my wedding day.
The post-wedding planning experience affects us all differently and is also dependent on our involvement with the planning stages. Some of us place huge expectation on the wedding day itself and for others the expectation is placed on married life and what it should live up to.
A combination of the absence of wedding planning, the transition into married life and a combination of personal circumstances can have an impact and for some, result in a dip in their mood, or more seriously result in depression. Our ability to cope with change of any kind is dependent on our own resilience.
One couple with a similar social and economic background, wedding may marry and never experience post wedding blues or in more serious cases, depression, another may marry and be completely paralysed by them.
Picture this…. All of that euphoric energy from friends and family during your engagement and planning and the epic energy on your wedding day itself…
The wedding enthusiasm that even extended to complete and utter strangers, just the mention or sight of anything wedding related resulted in giddy excitement and a big gigantic smile.
Weddings are infectious. We are all secretly hopeless romantics, we love a love story.
The wedding industry evokes and attracts a lot of positive people and a lot of positive energy (wedding politics aside!) whilst it has its stressful moments, for the most part, it is an incredibly positive experience.
You’re given lots of attention, often see a surge in your social life with friends and family wanting to re-live the proposal story and share in your wedding planning so far, over lunch, drinks or dinner invitations.
And then there’s the wedding day itself, when else have you had so many important people in your life genuinely so happy and celebrating with you?
Usually followed by a honeymoon or break, a chance to debrief and stretch out the celebrations just a little bit longer at first sight of the wedding photographs and video and then boom.
That almost permanent positive energy and attention rapidly dissipates. Everyone goes back to the natural rhythm of their own lives.
Much like any GREAT event, comes the inevitable come down, the anti-climax and your wedding day is no different. For some, including my gorgeous Nu Bride reader above, the feelings that follow can be completely unexpected, difficult to manage, but even harder to make sense of, process and comprehend.
Getting Back on Track
Try Mindfulness to help you understand what you are feeling and to try to reconnect with living in the present moment.
Mindfulness helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings and less overwhelmed by them, making them easier to confront and manage.
We cannot give our wedding day a re-run. It is done. We cannot allow a fantasy of what we hoped our wedding would be like to play out instead of the reality. Hold on to the fond memories and focus on the present moment and start to build on creating new ones. Here’s a good mindfulness app to get you started
It’s Good To Talk
If you’re feeling low, or more seriously, depressed, don’t allow feeling guilty to paralyse you and prevent you from speaking up or asking for help.
It’s normal, it’s ok and you are not alone. Having post wedding-blues or depression does not mean you do not adore your partner or are not happy to be married, quite the contrary even if it is hard to see!
Speak to your new partner, speak to your family. Those pretty awesome bridesmaids/men who were rocking your world during your planning, open up to them, they might not understand what you are going through, but they will listen and they will support you and if they are decent they will want to do what they can to help lift you up.
When you’re feeling low or depressed, the first thing you will want to do is isolate yourself from friends and family, to cut yourself off, to stop doing the things you enjoy and stop exercising. Some of these are our natural ways of caring for ourselves. If you recognise this pattern, you have the power to break the cycle and slowly start to re-introduce the things you used to enjoy. Could be something as simple as walking, exercise classes, reading, composing, listening to music, knitting. Whatever feels easiest to re-implement, start there.
If you are feeling very low, please don’t hesitate to visit your GP or discover referral to your local wellbeing service who may be able to introduce you to therapies like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) CBT is brilliant at helping you take ownership of and change unhelpful thought patterns / behaviours and tackling low mood and depression.
If speaking to someone feels like too big of a step, you can try some online resources instead like The Big White Wall (UK and US only) and iCope supported by the NHS to help adults who find it difficult to express themselves verbally to self manage their mental wellbeing, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Do something kind for others. Yes. Really.
Random Acts of Kindness are scientifically proven to give not only a positive impact on the receivers wellbeing but your wellbeing and a confidence boost too. It could be anything from holding the door open for someone, buying someone who is in need a coffee, giving up your seat, volunteering at a local charity that resonates with you. Anything. There are some great initiatives out there. Be inspired.
Try Something New
Feeling low can often mean your energy levels and confidence take a hit. Give yourself a confidence boost and shift your energy by learning something new.
You could do this on your own or with your new spouse. Anything from cooking lessons, martial arts, Bikram yoga, learning photography, learning to dance, baking….the list is endless.
I don’t know about you, but the hubs and I LOVED learning to dance together when rehearsing for our wedding dance and this was something we decided to continue doing post wedding. We’ve gotten a little lazy now, but it’s definitely a great little booster to combat those blues and to spend fun and quality time together. Giggles galore!
Set Some Goals
Don’t lose your drive.
What ambition(s) do you have that you’ve always put on hold or haven’t felt brave enough to pursue. Now’s the time to take action. It could be to go back to study, learn a new skill, or language, focus on your career development, or plan a home project or a holiday. Again, it doesn’t have to be a gigantic, but setting achievable goals in the next 3, 6 or 12 months after your wedding can absolutely help you re-focus.
Happily Ever After for Grown Ups is a great little book that tackles post wedding blues and goal setting for couples post-wedding.
What I will say is this; if you do experience post wedding blues please try not to beat yourself up about it, it won’t help. It is normal, it can happen, reach out and it absolutely will pass.