Your wedding day is supposed to be one to remember in a good way. And for many, many reasons, mine was. I married my best friend and the love of my life. I was surrounded by my family and friends. I had my dream dress, dream venue, etc. Everything should have been perfect.But stupid anxiety reared its ugly head.
The morning of the wedding, I was eerily calm. I went through the motions of having my hair and makeup done. I drove to the wedding venue in a separate car from my parents. I hung out with my bridesmaids/man, mom, dad, sister, mother-in-law, great aunt, and niece in the bridal suite. I put on my dress and I was giddy. I had already seen my now-husband that morning (we weren’t doing the whole “wait until the ceremony” ritual), so I knew he looked handsome as always. As the time in the bridal suite came to an end, I felt myself starting to get anxious. I took half an Ativan (my go-to benzodiazepine) and figured by the time the ceremony started, it would kick in and I would be good to go.
We came down from the bridal suite to do the “first look” and I got overwhelmed. I said hi to my soon-to-be husband, took a few photos, and was handed the bouquet. All of a sudden it became real- too real- and I broke down sobbing. I remember running out of the room and into the restroom nearby. I was sweating and shaking. My throat felt tight, my stomach was in knots. I was lightheaded and I was, most of all, embarrassed.
You see, I HATE being the center of attention. Part of that is because of my anxiety and part is because I like being the person behind the scenes making things happen. It’s weird because when I was in high school and college, I loved debating and all aspects of public speaking. Now, the thought of having to give a webinar (where no one else can see me) has me sweating buckets.
We had about 175 people at our wedding- a lot more than I wanted. And because of my anxiety and panic, I convinced myself that being in front of all of them would be the worst thing ever. I’d trip and fall down the aisle. I’d pass out while standing under the wedding canopy. Some worst case scenario would happen (thanks, GAD).
My mother and sister followed me into the bathroom. My sister, who also suffers from debilitating anxiety, didn’t say much. My mom told me to “cut it out” and “get myself together.” Because it’s that easy- I can just snap my fingers and all of a sudden I’m better. My almost-husband came into the bathroom and sat with me. He didn’t say much except wait for me to calm down. He told me to breathe, provided a shoulder to cry on, and kicked my mom out since she was exacerbating the situation.
Eventually, the Ativan kicked in and I calmed down. We were 30 minutes late to take the pre-ceremony photos but, in the long run, that wasn’t a huge deal. A few hours later, I walked down the aisle with my parents. I said “I do” to my husband and we became man and wife. Almost seven years later, we are still happily married (he’s still putting up with my anxiety and panic and I love him dearly for that).
Anyone who wasn’t there to witness my breakdown earlier in the day had no idea that hours before the ceremony, I was holed up in the throws of a panic attack and almost didn’t make it down the aisle. I wish I could forget that happened but it’s been preserved in photos and on video as a reminder of how anxiety almost ruined my wedding day.