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Wedding Undergraduate: The Depressed Bride


Many of you may know Robin from her wedding blog HitchDied (which you should know about if only for her ridiculously hilarious bridal magazine reviews. Sixty six pages of uninterrupted ads, huh? Lord have mercy.) and her regular blog The Double R Diner. But today Robin is here with a brutally honest discussion of what it’s like to be a majorly depressed unemployed lawyer planning a wedding (I almost wrote battling a wedding, which is probably more accurate). As someone who has been majorly depressed (and recovered, there is hope), and knows through her husband the pain of the current legal market, I got it. And besides wanting to wish Robin all the strength and good treatment there is in the world, I wanted to share her story with all of you. Because being depressed feels like being totally alone: like no one has been where you are ever before and no one will be ever again, and it’s just you and depression doing battle one on one and you’re completely isolated. And lots of us have been there, or are there, and we’re cheering you on, wishing you good therapists and good meds and the will to get off the couch and exercise a little today, and the ability to own the joy of your wedding when you can, and not feel guilty about it when you can’t. And with that, here is Robin:

Wedding Undergraduate: The Depressed Bride | A Practical Wedding

If asked to describe myself, a few things quickly come to mind: I’m an unemployed lawyer, a hobbyist writer, I’m engaged to marry my awesome fiancé Collin this summer, and I’m depressed.

I’ve been struggling with major depression for five years, since my parents both suddenly died within the span of three months.  It’s not just that I never fully recovered from those losses; my grief shifted and twisted into  an insidious, pervasive, utterly debilitating sadness and hopelessness. I don’t always feel sad, but sadness is always inside of me.  And I have to carefully, constantly manage my depression or that sadness eclipses everything else.

Shortly after I got engaged last Spring, I let my depression management slide. My therapist stopped seeing patients, and I didn’t look for a new one. I was too distracted by graduating from law school, preparing to take the bar exam, and my desperate hunt for employment in the jobless, joyless desert that is the legal field.  It didn’t take long for my depression to get out of control.

I could start describing my symptoms, but it would quickly become a pharmaceutical ad about being a wind-up toy of a sad potato living underwater.  Most of you probably have a pretty good idea what serious depression looks like. The days spent in bed, the days where you do get up but never really feel awake, the crying spells, the irritability: you know this story.  And I don’t think recounting symptoms does a very good job of getting across how depression feels. Depression feels like nothing is good, nothing is fair, nothing is easy, and nothing will ever get any better. Depression is hopelessness.

Which makes depression terribly incompatible with getting married. Marriage is an incredible expression of hope.  Uniting your life to another person’s, come what may, is an act of strength, courage, and optimism.  And the hopeless throes of depression nurture only weakness, fear, and pessimism.  It’s so much harder to take someone “for better for worse” when you can only imagine “for worse” coming to pass.

My depression-fueled pessimism is so bad that half the time I’m convinced my fiancé won’t actually marry me. As you can imagine, this is incredibly hard on him—he thinks I don’t trust him in his love for me, or in his intentions to marry me. I do, but marrying this fun, kind-hearted, wonderful guy feels like a doorway to the happiest life I could possibly lead, and my depressed brain won’t allow fantasies of happiness. So I see that door slamming in my face. It’s easier to see myself as Miss Havisham than it is to see myself living happily ever after.

These fears haunt my wedding planning.  I had a mini-breakdown in my car before I crossed the street to mail our save-the-date cards, imagining having to call all the people in that huge stack to tell them we’re calling off the wedding.  Every deposit check I write brings out a little twinge in my stomach, a dreadful sense that I’m throwing that money away. And it’s almost impossible to put in the time for DIY projects for an event I’m half-sure isn’t going to happen.

Planning for our marriage is even harder, and not just because of my tendency to imagine the worst case scenario come to life. I know how hard my depression has been on my partner, and it is too easy to see myself as a burden. Even when I summon the strength to move past thoughts like, “Why would anyone sign on for a lifetime with this?” my depression casts a pall on our conversations about our future together. We can’t ever let me be without health insurance. Will we risk me going off my meds when I am pregnant?  Does Collin get input on how I treat my depression, or is that decision ultimately my own? These conversations are excruciating, but vital, and I am so profoundly grateful that my partner has the patience and fortitude and love to work through this with me.

Wedding Undergraduate: The Depressed Bride | A Practical Wedding

So yes, it is hard to be a depressed bride. Hard like three-day-old frosting. Hard like chewing on rocks. But I’m trying to prove that it isn’t impossible.  I’m trying to tap into the little slice of myself that believes I can go through this door to happiness. I’m working hard to be as healthy as possible for our wedding day, and for our life together.  I have a new therapist. I’ve switched to a new medication. Collin and I are in couples’ counseling, where he’s improving his knowledge about depression, I’m improving my trust, and we’re both improving our communication skills. And I believe in my heart, as I type these words right now, that things will get better.

I wrote this because I know I am not the only engaged person battling serious depression, and we’re all worse off if we suffer silently and alone. On my wedding blog, I joke, I kvetch, I review wedding movies, but I rarely talk about The Hard Stuff™.  But I need to share this, because ending the isolation of depression can offer a spark of hope, and hope is what we need. As incompatible as being depressed and getting married might seem, we can still do it. We can plan a wedding through this, we can marry through this, and we can live through this.

Pictures of Robin, picked by Robin (because the girl has a sense of humor), and taken by her friend and wedding photographer Louis Stein

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  • http://jolynn.wordpress.com Jo

    I want to hug you lots. And then take you for long walks outside, because that’s the best thing that happens to me when I’m depressed: I tell someone and they come get me to go for exercise outside. Because if I’m left in charge of motivating myself it won’t happen.

    I’m proud of you and so happy that you shared this.

    • http://bondingcarbonunits.wordpress.com/ the Sarah formerly known as Sarah K.

      As someone who is struggling with depression herself, I love the idea of having someone show up to go for a walk. You can’t hide under the covers, you have to put on real pants, and a bra, and shoes. You get fresh air and good company and a little endorphins spike. This is a GREAT idea. :)

      • http://abasketcase.blogspot.com Basketcase

        I need one of those people sometimes. My DH just doesnt quite recognise the bad days well enough to pull that one out yet.
        Time to go sit down and explain that to him… Hes a fast learner… <3

  • Joannezipan

    One of my dearest friends got married 18 months ago (about the same time as me) while her husband was suffering with depression. I’m very happy to say that he is now much better and well on his way out the other side of his particular black hole. At the time she described their wedding as “one teeny tiny point of diamond light in a world otherwise made of dung” and that even when He couldn’t do anything else her husband would say to her do you still want to marry me? Because I still want to marry you. I think that their marriage is so strong now because it was forged in such a dark period of their lives.

    • meg

      This makes me want to cry. In a good way. Because really this is exactly what marriage is about in the first place.

    • http://www.queerskiesahead.com BirdRoughsIt

      “Their marriage is so strong now because it was forced in such a dark period of their lives.”

      This is pretty much my response when people ask how I knew I wanted to marry HER. We went through so many hard things together; and if you can get through those hard things together, what can’t you do? You can have fun with (almost) anyone, find connections and attractions with a lot of people, but someone who has seen you at your worst and is still there is someone to hang onto.

      And Robin! Don’t forget that you’re hanging in there, doing things for him, too. Turtle and I often have to remind each other of what we’re doing. “No, you’re not a burden, and remember when you took care of the cats all by yourself for a week?” Okay, that was sort of a lame example, but my point is that both of you are doing different things for each other, and you’re not just a burden. That was a hard one for me to learn, but we’re figuring out how to articulate when we’re grateful, when we feel burdened, what we think might help. Thank you for sharing this.

      • Ariel L-S

        Along the lines of what you offer your partner…

        I’m another depressed bride who often wonders why my finance would ever really want to marry me. It SUCKS. There are those days when I am falling apart and unable to leave the house and he has dropped whatever it was he was doing to help me just get through it, and I’m like: “Why the hell do you care so much?”

        But then there is the other side of our relationship, where I have also been his caregiver. I took care of him through three years of treatment for bone tumors, and it was the hardest thing that I have ever done in my life, and it was also the most rewarding thing that I have ever done in my life. The reason I’m sharing this is to say, as someone who has taken care of her partner through some seriously shitty times, that taking care of another person is an incredible gift in and of itself.

        It’s not about what you offer your partner that makes it worth it for him/her to put up with you at your worst. In my experience at least, it’s about offering each other opportunities to grow as people on a daily basis.

        Every day that I cared for my (now) fiance through his very painful recovery, I had to consider the needs of someone outside of myself in a way that I never had to before, and it totally changed the way that I live in the world. I grew up a lot during that time, and I truly do feel that it made me a better person.

        There may have been moments when I did feel burdened by the situation, but never once did I feel that he himself was the burden. It’s hard for me to remember that now, as I struggle with depression, and I often feel like a burden myself. But he actually just told me the other day that he feels like a better person because of his relationship with me. Not just the me that I am on the days when I feel like I’m coping well–just all around up-and-down me.

        So I guess my point is that every part of being in relationship can be a gift, not just good times that you put up with bad times for. And even when we feel like we’re burdening another person? What a blessing it is for them to know that they can support you during a time that is difficult for you both.

        And, like Birdroughsit said, expressing gratitude has been so important for our relationship. Not only does it make him know that I appreciate what he’s doing for me, but it makes me feel like I do have a spark of something to be happy about when everything else feels like crap.

        Also, thanks for this post. I think that it is so important to talk about this.

    • Jessica

      Just this week I’ve come to the same conclusion- my marriage will be stronger for getting married in the midst of one of my fiance’s worst stretches of depression. If our little life can survive his depression and all it’s angry manifestations, and we still want to be together, the rest of our lifetimes aren’t scary. I know we’ll have issues and problems in the future, but after not being sure our relationship wouldn’t survive another five minutes, they’ll seem like small potatoes.

  • caroline

    Thank you for your honesty.
    You are incredibly strong and brave. Keep fighting.

  • http://redheadreports.blogspot.com Ali

    Thank you for having the courage to share this, Robin.

    I fully understand the feelings you expressed, and it helps me to know that there are others out there who occassionally get hung up on being pessimistic and wondering if the wedding will really happen. I’m one month out and I am just now starting to feel like it’s real.

    I’ve suffered from depression that stemmed from emotional abuse from my dad. It has been a difficult thing to cope with when planning a wedding. Especially since we’ve “reconciled” but things are still never really “right”.

    He wants to dance to a mushy father/daughter dance at my wedding…and I just don’t think I can do it. I am not Daddy’s Little Girl. And he hurt me. A lot. I don’t want to go out there and pretend like that didn’t happen. Everyone who knows me at the wedding knows what my dad’s done too me – and they would probably wonder if I lost my mind to be out there dancing with him to some tune like “I Loved Her First”.

    The best way I can describe my dad is that he is narcisstic and bi-polar, and I don’t want him to be pissed at me on the wedding day – so I am letting him walk me down the aisle, and I want to combine the father/daughter and mother/son dances so that it isn’t quite as awkward for me. He doesn’t understand why, and he is refusing to pick a gender neutral song because he just “doesn’t like them very much”.

    He is not one of those people you tell ‘too bad, it’s my wedding’. Trust me, if he’s in a bad mood, he will find not-so-subtle ways to ruin my day, and because my emotions are still hung up in the past, it will hurt me a lot.

    All this to say, best of luck to you in coping with your depression. I wish you & Collin a wonderful life!

    • http://jolynn.wordpress.com Jo

      Ali, hugs for you too. Everything you said hit me in my stomach because that’s my dad too. I can’t give you any advice, though, because he’s not in my life anymore. This is what happened at my sisters’ weddings though. The way we handled it there was by having a person or two who weren’t family but knew what was going on, and they kept him in conversation about himself (which he loves!) and refused to give him the mic for toasts, and cut in on the father-daughter dance so it wasn’t too long and he didn’t have the chance to say anything hurtful. Best of luck, and if you want any commiseration, email me!

    • http://www.ohdeerio.com Rachelle

      Yes, please tell a few people you trust to run interference if at all possible. You deserve to be surrounded by love at your wedding and I’m sure you have people who would “fall on the grenade” for you. Good luck with everything! I totally sympathize with how hard it can be to navigate a wedding when you’re not close to your dad.

    • beth

      First, thank you Robin for writing this! And to Ali– I ended up not inviting my dad to my wedding. I didn’t want the day to be about him, about me reacting to him or worrying about him. I decided that my wedding day was about my husband-to-be and me, not about my issues with my dad. If your dad can’t respect your boundaries (i.e., choosing a song you prefer, or agreeing to not do the father-daughter dance at all) and you’re being walked down the aisle by someone who hurt you and still causes you pain, I think it’s appropriate to consider if you really want him there. I guess the way I thought about it was that I wanted to protect myself, protect our wedding and our baby marriage, and the wedding was a great place to start. It isn’t easy to not have your dad there, but it also isn’t easy to have someone who hurts you in an honored position in your wedding.

      just my 2 cents

      • http://redheadreports.blogspot.com Ali

        Beth, the thought crossed my mind in the beginning to not invite him, but there are two reasons I didn’t do that.

        1) I specifically told him not to come to my college graduation because he told me (one week before graduation) that he was not proud of me and that I wasn’t worth celebrating. Then, my mom knew I didn’t want him there (and agreed that he was wrong) but brought him to my graduation anyway. Without telling me. They just showed up on my doorstep the morning of.

        2) Like I said, we’ve “reconciled”. It’s hard to act like I want a relationship with him (and I do) if I tell him he can’t come to my wedding. And if I told him that, I might as well elope because my mom would die.

        It’s hard, but it’s worth it. My family is important to me, and I want them to be there. But I also don’t want to put up a facade as if my dad & I are closer than we really are. Because listening to that song and dancing to it with my dad…would probably make me cry. And not the happy sweet cry, ‘aw, i love my daddy, i’ll miss being his baby’, but in the depressed bawling ‘god, I wish we were closer’ way.

        • suzanna

          Ali, hoo doggie! I feel for you. I have similar dynamics and worries with my wedding (but with my mom, so at least I don’t have to navigate the same cultural expectations). As a complete stranger who has no idea what the full picture is going on for you and your family, I’d respectfully say it looks like you’re still letting him manipulate you. It sounds like you really don’t want to “let him” walk you down the aisle or do the father/daughter dance, but if you stand up for yourself, what? He’ll “ruin the day”?

          Impossible, I tell you. You will be marrying the man you love. You will be surrounded by a buttload of other people who really love you. And they’ll all look at his behavior and know that it has nothing to do with you. It’s kind of like the more amped-up version of the embarassing drunk uncle. You cannot prevent your dad from being an a-hole. It sounds like he’s going to emotionally blackmail you, or be a jerk at the wedding. Don’t play his game. Let him be a jerk, cuz it sounds like that’s gonna happen no matter what, right? So do the dance to the music YOU pick, in the way YOU want. Or whatever. Be kind, be patient, but be firm.

          At least, this is what I constantly tell myself when I worry about what my mom will say/do. And I am totally getting a few interference-runners!

  • Jennifer

    ditto to the wanting to hug you. I was depressed for about 2 years, only 1 of which I was actually being treated for it. As someone who has recovered, I often feel like I’m a few heartbreaks away from slipping back into that dark cavern. I can’t imagine trying to do all of this wedding planning in that kind of headspace. I admire your courage to continue with it as I’m sure I would have probably shut down and postponed it well behind what the eyes can see into the future. I’m 30 days away from the wedding that seemed so far off my radar when I was depressed. Because, I too, thought…who would ever want to spend the rest of their life…with THIS. I doubt anything I could say would help, but know that while you may feel broken inside, love and laughter can heal so much and the best person to provide you with both is your fiance. He wants to love you, he wants to help you, and most importantly…he wants to spend his life with YOU….(not THIS…) JUST YOU.

  • carrie

    Thank you for sharing this with the community. I feel like I’m making this about me, but I feel like I have a point to my backstory…I got engaged in June 2010 and was laid off two months later, and planning a wedding seemed to be counter intuitive. How can I plan a day of happiness (and for so much money) when I feel worthless? When we are down to one income? I have battled depression most of my life, and those months being that depressed again were terrible. But you know what you need to do, and sharing your story helps in so many ways. You are not alone. And like a previous commenter said, your marriage will be stronger because it was forged in hardship. Keep doing all that you can to get through it, and know you have a giant support net of people on this blog who have hugs for you and high fives for you when you need them respectively.

  • http://www.pennypinchingepicure.com Rella

    Robin, thank you for sharing this post. My brother died very suddenly this past June, so I can relate to planning a wedding while being depressed. I’m lucky that my fiance is incredibly supportive, as it sounds like yours is, and wish you all the best and all of the happiness in the world.

    • http://jolynn.wordpress.com Jo

      Big hugs. I’m so sorry for the loss of your brother.

    • http://hitchdied.wordpress.com Robin HitchDied

      I’m so sorry for your loss. Thanks for commenting, and I wish you all the best.

  • http://oversized-cliches.blogspot.com Zan

    Seriously big hugs to you Robin, I don’t know that if it helps but remember that you’ve got lots of people rooting for you and sending you most-excellent good-wish vibes through the atmosphere. It sounds like you guys are doing all the right things to deal with this and set yourselves up for success, I see lots of reasons for hope. Lots.

    And anyway, if you keep writing chortle worthy lines like the one about the wind-up sad potato under the sea, you’ll meet with lots of success in the future I’m sure. Making someone giggle during a post about depression isn’t easy, you’ve got chops girl!

    • JEM

      “Making someone giggle during a post about depression isn’t easy, you’ve got chops girl!”

      This!!!

  • http://townhousetohome.blogspot.com adria

    The strength and bravery in this post is overwhelming, and I love that there is an outlet to share this (and the many other sides) of being a bride.

    While I’m not clinically depressed, I sometimes get overwhelmingly depressed during this wedding planning process. The times when expectations are not met, or hurdles are thrown in front of us. I, too, have had thoughts of spending money for an event that just might not happen. I don’t share or talk about these things, because the feelings scare me. So, instead of owning it, I shove them under the rug and continue on as if I’m not bothered by any of it. As if this bride-to-be thing is the best feeling in the world, and wedding planning is fun and exciting, and that nothing could possibly go wrong. And I don’t talk about the fights that happen inside our home when statements like “Maybe we just shouldn’t get married because how could this ever work out” are made…

    The realist in me knows that everything could go wrong. And it might. And that I will get through it, hopefully with the continued love and support that my family and friends have shown me through the years. The idealist sees everything in the best light it could possibly be – planning goes swimmingly well, the weekend is magically perfect, and our wedded future together holds nothing but good things. The “me” in me sees a beautiful day filled with a fat bride who has puffy eyes from crying out emotions in the days preceding the wedding, and regretting her inability to lose weight for “the big day” and the mucho-money photographs we’re having taken. There’s more, but it’s all there. Always. In the back of my head just mulling around.

  • Katelyn

    I lost large chunks of time throughout my teens and early 20’s to major depression. I have been well for almost 2 years, but this post really captures how it feels – hopelessness, regret and doubt at every turn.

    It is a relief to finally feel better for the longest stretch of time since I was 12, but I’m always on guard. I will need to monitor myself and my children closely so no more time is lost to this illness.

    My thoughts are with you and your fiance – I will never understand how or why my boyfriend stuck with me through some really dark times, but I love him all the more for it, and I hope you get to that place in your life too.

  • http://kbegnaud.tumblr.com Kathryn

    I’ve been waiting for this post.

    I have suffered from depression for two years now, it started shortly before I got engaged, but I didn’t really know what it was until after he had proposed and we had started the planning process. I, too had horrible thoughts of waking up on my wedding day and just being too sad, just feeling too hopeless to even be present for the day. He had horrible horrible thoughts of us ten or fifteen years down the road and I would be unable to get out of bed to take care of kids, leaving him to basically be a single parent. It hurt to hear his fears, obviously, but they were just as valid as mine. I’m glad we have the relationship where we can share those things. In truth, we called it off. Because we are both scared, we just need more time to get our game plan for life straightened out. I’m very VERY proud of you two for your bravery and your courage and frankly, your balls, to do what your doing. It’s a terrifying thing to stare a life of depression and marriage in the face and you guys are taking charge and going at it. I love it. Please count me as one of your internet cheering squad, I’m totally rooting for you guys. Thank you thank you thank you.

  • Maureen

    This does not related to this post, but I just went and read some of your movie reviews. HI-LAR-IOUS! I LOL-ed so.many.times. Bitches be horny at a wedding, right bro? Effing Classic!

    I thought it might brighten your day a small bit to know your totally brightened mine. I had a habit of watching wedding movies when I was engaged and found myself frequently yelling at the TV as well. Thank you for beign so honest and funny.

    • Amy

      Agreed! Robin, your blog now has an honored place in my reader next to APW and Alyssa.

  • http://thinkingwedding.blogspot.com Rhiannon

    I’m putting my hand up for the clinically depressed club.

    (This is my story with it in 3 sentences: Diagnosed as a child, major episodes as an adolescent and adult. HUUUUGE problem with ante/pre-natal depression both pregnancies (ten years apart). Even when I’m happy I know it’s sitting on my shoulder waiting to pounce and I’ll be on antidepressants for ever.)

    Also, Robin, you have something I notice a lot: the self-examination you do when you’re depressed + being articulate about it = something that becomes funny for other people to read.

    Can lead to people thinking it’s not very serious. Ha!

    hugs from a saddo in the UK. xoxo

    • http://cobaltandblue.tumblr.com ML

      just going off on a tangent here.. i was browsing guitar lesson videos and saw “rhiannon” by fleetwood mac.. i knew i had never heard of the song before, but the name was so damn familiar.. now i remember why! what a perty name dude.

    • http://hitchdied.wordpress.com Robin HitchDied

      Wow, like another commenter highlighted, what you have to say about how self-aware articulate depressed people can make it seem like a not very serious condition REALLY resonates with me. The way I thought about depression before I’d really dealt with it myself and the way I think about it now are so different, and the main point of deviation is really understanding how debilitating it is.

    • Michele

      My story can be told with the same 3 sentences (sans the pre/post-natal part). I’ve been looking for an article exactly like this for weeks. I tried to go off my meds since getting engaged and that was just about the worst idea ever. Trying now to be the happy bride-to-be that you expect to come naturally, while reintroducing medication and feeling like a failure. Luckily, I have the most understanding fiance in the world.

      It’s nice to read that I’m not the only one (i mean I know that I’m not, but it never feels that way).

  • http://ohioonpurpose.blogspot.com Evie

    Planning a wedding while depressed can be confusing and can exacerbate the small snags – especially when your depression and anxiety are bunkmates. Because holy shit, I am stage managing this complex social parade with a thousand moving parts and people are buying plane tickets to come size me up, I mean, love and support me.

    Also, three freaking cheers for our partners. Depression might not be our fault, but that doesn’t make it fun or easy.

    • http://bondingcarbonunits.wordpress.com/ the Sarah formerly known as Sarah K.

      I love the way you put it– depression and anxiety are bunkmates. Um, yes. They are having a fun sleepover with flashlights and M&M’s and are inseperable BFFs. Thanks, brain chemistry.

      Also, YES, YES, YES, an EXTRA three cheers for our partners. My husband is a saint and a half, and there is no way I could do this without him.

      • http://www.queerskiesahead.com BirdRoughsIt

        Yes! (just the exactly button didn’t cut it)

      • http://discerningdilettante.blogspot.com ka

        Hahaha, totally. And sometimes OCD joins in, like the 3 eff-ing Musketeers, and is all like, “Don’t eat the blue M&M’s cause something bad will happen.” Is that going too far? And if so, why is OCD the un-talked-about weird kid at the sleepover? ;-)

  • http://marriageable.wordpress.com Mary

    This is an amazing post Robin. Seriously, amazing. My heart goes out to you.

  • NF

    This post is so incredibly brave. I’ve been dealing with clinical depression for a really long time, and planning a wedding (and marriage) through it was incredibly difficult, for many of the reasons you give. I don’t want to pretend that I can actually give advice, but I want to share a couple things from my own experience, having gotten past the wedding stage and into the marriage stage. First, the conversations you’re having are absolutely vital and will continue to be vital–having those same conversations has been incredibly painful for me at times, but I think everything would have fallen apart without them. Second, don’t focus on the wedding. If you can’t do any DIY projects, or can’t handle planning parts of the wedding abandon the projects and/or ask someone else to pick up the slack for you. My husband planned a lot of our wedding because I didn’t have energy, and in the couple of weeks right before the wedding I delegated a lot of tasks to my family as well. Third, figure out some strategies for how to cope if you are feeling really depressed on your wedding day itself–once you have those in place you can at least worry a little less about the day itself. I had planned scenarios for how to deal with just about every aspect of how being depressed could affect me on the wedding day. However, also be prepared to have a wonderful day–even though all the days before and all the days after my wedding were incredibly difficult I didn’t feel depressed at all on my wedding day and so that scenario is actually possible!
    THank you so much for sharing your experience with all of us, and good luck with everything!

  • http://bondingcarbonunits.wordpress.com/ the Sarah formerly known as Sarah K.

    I’ve been fighting with major depression and generalized anxiety off and on for years, with steady therapy the past year or so and recently, medication. You’re totally right– everyone knows the symptoms, but the feeling of being depressed is overwhelming. And being inside that? The utter hopelessness and pessimism? It’s unbearable. For me, I would always know better, know that I was over-worrying, that I was too negative, that things weren’t actually THAT bad. But cognitively knowing something and being able to feel it are two wholly separate things.

    Planning a wedding with that kind of suffering is horrible. But it is, at the end of the day, a bright spot in a dark and frustrating world. My husband continues to be an amazing support to me as I know your fiance is to you– he holds me when I cry, he soothes me even when there’s no earthly reason for any of it, he has supported me as I have started medication. Robin, you’re very brave to talk to us about it here. I love reading HitchDied, and hope that the blog community can help support you as you go through this.

    • SarahMama Kate

      This you inherited from your grandmother, my mother, and it didn’t entirely skip a generation although I have never hit the depths of depression, I often experience black, bleak days when the clouds don’t lift and life seems futile. Congrats on dealing with it. xoxoxox

      • http://bondingcarbonunits.wordpress.com/ the Sarah formerly known as Sarah K.

        Gosh, I inherited that, plus arthritis, an English constitution, and a touch of alcoholism? Genetics sure are swell. ;) Kidding, kidding. At least I got your FABULOUS legs, ha-cha-cha!!

        Thanks, Mom. <3

        • ellobie

          You two are adorable

    • JEM

      “For me, I would always know better, know that I was over-worrying, that I was too negative, that things weren’t actually THAT bad. But cognitively knowing something and being able to feel it are two wholly separate things.”

      This is exactly it. It’s paralyzing at times.

      • http://bondingcarbonunits.wordpress.com/ the Sarah formerly known as Sarah K.

        YES. It is kind of creepy (and, um, terrifying) to KNOW something and not be able to DO anything about it. It’s a complete lack of control over my own mind. It’s a lack of control over my irrational and confusing emotions. And it’s frustrating as hell.

        • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

          That’s EXACTLY how I’d describe it. It’s a downward spiral where I feel bad, and then I know that I shouldn’t feel bad, and then I feel bad for feeling bad, and then I …

          Just make it stop already!!

    • http://www.queerskiesahead.com BirdRoughsIt

      “he soothes me even when there’s no earthly reason for any of it” This brought tears to my eyes – because EXACTLY (am I saying exactly enough on this post?). I am so grateful, too, to have found someone who can accept that there’s no actual *reason* out in the world that makes me feel the way I feel (esp with the anxiety) but is still there to help me figure it out.

      It took some work to sort out how to say “Have you taken your meds?” without my hearing, “You are CRAZY”. But we’re settling into it all, and it’s just one little part of the whole big life we’re having. And I’m so GRATEFUL for her in all of this. I mean, yeah, Folks Who Don’t Have Depression/Anxiety, you get to not have depression/anxiety, but I get an awesome opportunity to be grateful for an extra aspect of our relationship.

      • http://bondingcarbonunits.wordpress.com/ the Sarah formerly known as Sarah K.

        Seriously. He shows me such an amazing side of him when I Done Gone Crazy Again, and it makes me grateful to have him in my life, and it makes me love him even more. And you can never have too many of those reminders, right? It’s all about Gratitude. :)

      • Denzi

        Oh, man, “Have you taken your meds?” Because if I am crying my eyes out over some tiny wedding detail and yelling at T. for not being perfectly there for me all the time and feeling trapped, chances are it’s because…surprise! I forgot to take my meds. *sigh*

        I think sometimes I resent the fact that I’m not a brain in a jar, that taking meds *does* affect the fights we have, and so does how tired I am. But I’m working on it.

  • http://suburbaliciousliving.blogspot.com/ Lauren

    I have a tendancy towards mild depression, a tendancy that I have ironically always seen in my brother (who is much worse), but not seen in myself until recently. And I know that it is hard, hard, hard on my partner and on our marriage. Thank you for such a beautifully written post (sad potato living underwater made me tear up and smile all at the same time) and for your honesty.

  • http://onegirloneguytwocats.wordpress.com/ Heather

    So much of what you wrote I experienced at one time or another while we planned our wedding. I had meltdowns that my husband (fiance at the time) just couldn’t understand or comprehend. I have battled major depressive disorder for most of my life – since childhood. When you add in planning a wedding there is a lot of extra stress involved. My family was across the country and I felt lost and alone and certain that my fiance was going to leave me when he couldn’t handle my craziness anymore. The good days outweigh the bad days, though, and having a supportive partner can make such a difference along with getting the proper care. As of 3 months ago I am off of all my medications – a day I thought would never come as I’d been so dependent on them. Happiness can be found, though, and while there is always the possibility of a relapse, I try to remember everything I learned in CBT when I feel those familiar feelings creeping back in. Depression can be fought and won, and I wish you both the best of luck! It sounds like you’re already on the right path with couple’s counseling, and managing your depression, and I admire your strength in being open and honest… something that is definitely not always easy.

  • Alicia

    Not too much to add to this except to say THANK YOU. this stuff is so hard to talk about and even harder to write about in a public forum.

    Thinking of you and wishing you both lots of strength and love throughout this process.

  • Katie

    I feel for you as well. I’ve gone through at least one pretty deep depressive period and have a low-grade depression always lingering around waiting for me to fall away from my self care habits to pounce. And that does happen because it’s so easy to forget how this feels when I’m feeling good and slack on what I need to do. It’s hard. It’s hard on my partner. It’s hard to plan a wedding.

    Thanks for writing this very personal post for all of us working through something similar.

    • http://bunniesnbeagles.blogspot.com Ms. Bunny

      That’s how I feel about my depression. It’s always lurking in the background ready to pounce and take me down. I’ve gone through two major depressive periods and have low-level depression on a constant basis. I’m always a little afraid that if I don’t take care of myself I’ll fall back into the major stuff.

      • Katie

        I’m especially concerned with managing it the couple of months leading up to my wedding and even more the week and day of my wedding. I suppose it’s good that this post is reminding me to remain particularly aware and keep doing what helps me.

    • http://hitchdied.wordpress.com Robin HitchDied

      Exactly to all of these. In this post I said I’ve been suffering for five years, but I’ve had my “remission” periods, and I wish I could trust that when I’m feeling better that I’m on the mend for real.

  • Virginia

    Holla to all of the supportive fiances out there! I too am dealing with depression and anxiety — mostly stemming from my family history. It has been constant and pervasive since before I met my fiance, but I was only able to seek treatment and get on meds since I’ve been with him. It scared the hell out of me to talk to my boyfriend of less than a year about going on anti-depressants, but he has always been awesome about me seeking treatment, crying on his shoulder, and kicking my ass out of bed when necessary. After 7 years together, we’re finally getting married, and some days planning the wedding is the hardest thing in the world (especially deciding on how involved in the ceremony I want my parents to be…yikes), but his support keeps me going. I’m so proud of all the brides and grooms out there who are planning through the darkness, and I wish you all a partner as supportive as mine. Thanks for sharing your story — I’m relieved to know that I’m not the only one whose depression has occasionally made wedding planning less than enticing….and to know that I’m not the only one who has questioned why someone would want to sign up for a lifetime of this. According to my guy, the depression is tough, but me as a whole is totally worth it, and I’m finally getting to the point where I believe him. I hope that you can find that peace as well, because I guarantee that’s how your fiance feels about you (all of you)!

  • http://snippets.of.school.blogspot.com Brenna

    Thanks so much for sharing this. Your words give me insight to the experiences of family and friends that I can’t fully understand. I appreciate your bravery and your willingness to break the silence. Thinking of you, Robin.

  • http://militarywomenspeak.wordpress.com Kelsey

    My favorite posts on APW are about real life, hard stuff. This post was so honest, and for that, I loved it. I’m so sorry for the loss of your parents. I’m sorry that you’ve had to experience living with depression, and all the stigma that comes with it. I do know what that’s like, and all I can say is, keep doing what you’re doing, because it will get better. It’s important that you know this about yourself, and have decided to face it head on. It’s so great that you’re committed to a plan to manage your depression, and are going forward with your life anyway. BRAVO. I think you’re incredibly courageous. I’m sure you don’t feel courageous, but you so are.

    I especially identify with the part where you said, “I don’t always feel sad, but sadness is always inside of me.” I feel that way, too, which is rooted in some tough things that happened to my family over the course of about ten years. My sister passed away from cancer in 2004, before which, she suffered a lot, and for a long time. Shortly after, my Dad went on an alcoholic binge, and from that point was basically lost to me. He withdrew into his himself and away from our family, my parents divorced, he lost his job, and I watched him waste and wither away under the yoke of addiction. He passed away in 2009, from a drug and alcohol overdose. It’s taken me years, YEARS, to put these things in their place, and even now, when the thoughts of them and the suffering my family (and myself) have endured don’t completely overwhelm me, there’s a sadness there for what’s been lost that will never go away. It’s a part of who I am now, it just exists within me all the time. I’ve always had a tendency towards depression anyway, so I have to be aware of the types of situations/circumstances that might bring it out. There are things I have to do to make sure I don’t give it a fighting change, like work out regularly, don’t drink too much, get enough sleep, etc etc. The last time I had a serious go with depression was about two and a half years ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if it comes up again and again throughout my life, but this must be just part of my body chemistry, and I’m thankful that there are ways to get help. It’s important that you never forget that.

    Anyway, sorry for such a long comment! There’s so much more I could say about this, but I’ll stop here. Just know that I really appreciated reading this this morning. Thanks again for writing so honestly about depression, and how it’s affecting your life and wedding planning. Writing about it, and dealing with it is seriously brave. It sounds weird to say I’m proud of a stranger, but I really am proud of you for choosing to LIVE and move forward. Bravo, and thanks.

    • http://cobaltandblue.tumblr.com ML

      big, loving hug to you.

  • http://weddingness.wordpress.com Shae

    I’m there. I’ve been battling depression since I was a teenager, and it feels like it will always be an undercurrent in my life. I have crippling thoughts about the future — I’m pretty confident that we’ll make it down the aisle, but beyond that? I’m pretty pessimistic. And everything — EVERYTHING — regarding the wedding requires a whooole lot of outside motivation before it gets done.

    I’m sending you some good thoughts, though! Thanks for writing about this.

  • http://sarahsurgeon.blogspot.com sarah

    thank you for sharing your story. depression is a lonely place, but by talking about it and putting it out there it others feel less alone. your openness and ability to share emotions is admirable. your courage in going forward with marriage, and putting hope in your shared future is something to remind yourself of every day. i wish you many days of happiness in your future.

  • RachelC

    As many others have said, first off, thank you for writing this and being so honest and brave. There are very few outlets in this world, let alone this BRIDAL world, where we can talk about these things but they are SO important to get off our chests. So also, thanks APW.

    This was especially interesting for me to read because it’s reversed in my relationship – my fiance who spent many years struggling with anxiety but has been free of it for 2 years, is all of a sudden struggling again. He’s having panic attacks again, can’t sleep through the night, and his comorbid hypochondria is back with a vengeance. Neither of us know why it’s back but our wedding is 2 months away now and we’re trying to do everything we can so he can be present and functioning at our wedding. My fear is that the normal anxiety and hyped nerves of a wedding day that everyone feels will turn into a full blown panic attack on that day and he won’t even be able to meet me at the altar. I know he wants to marry me a SUPER lot, but it was comforting to read this post and see it from his perspective (kinda). We’ll figure out what we can do to make him most comfortable, and we’ll get married through the bathroom door if we need to hahaha.

    Thanks again!

    • RachelC

      Also, not to imply that getting to the wedding is the only important reason to help him heal…it’s so not. I don’t want you all to think that I just want him to feel better so we can get married! Just clarifying :)

      • http://bride-sans-tulle.blogspot.com Sharon

        Rachel, I just want to give you (and your fiance) a big hug. I had the same issue – anxiety that had been gone for awhile suddenly came back with an effing vengeance during wedding planning (which coincided with a lot of job-related stress). My now-husband’s support at the time was so invaluable, and it sounds like you are offering the same “I will marry and love you no matter what” reassurances to your beloved – let me tell you that it means the world.

        We decided to have a “first look” before the ceremony partially because I knew I’d be a bundle of nerves until I got to see the one person who can calm me down no matter what… and it worked marvelously for us. I’ve got my fingers crossed that the joy and the excitement of the day will buoy up your fiance in the same way it did me – not manifesting in nerves/panic but just a constant, quiet gladness that fills up every corner of his heart.

        • RachelC

          aww, thank you Sharon :) I will be thinking of you at that moment :)

  • http://www.thewrightremedy.com Addie

    Yes to the whole d*mn post. I have waged a war on major depression and rage for more years than I can count. And its a war. Some battles I win (being joyful at my wedding) and some I lose (the divorce year wasn’t my best). But we just keep fighting. Depression feels like being in a coma. The world goes round you but you’re not really in it.

    So, keep fighting the good fight. Like an alcoholic who needs support to stay on the wagon, don’t be afraid to get as much support as you can stand. God bless the friends and family who stick by you during the difficult bits.

    And I second the exercise thing. Except don’t beat yourself up if you can’t. Just go outside on the porch. Take the ratty blanket with you if you must. A good fresh breeze does wonders.

  • Class of 1980

    ROBIN WROTE: “Depression feels like nothing is good, nothing is fair, nothing is easy, and nothing will ever get any better. Depression is hopelessness.”

    Robin, that is the best description of depression I ever heard. I think the fact that your depression only began as a response to losing both your parents is cause for hope. It means that depression isn’t your natural state.

    The worst depression I ever went through was when I was getting divorced. I had never known such debilitating feelings in my entire life. I went on tranquilizers that my psychiatrist said were not addictive. He was wrong. After hitting the depths of despair and deciding my psychiatrist visits weren’t doing anything for me, I quit the tranquilizers cold turkey and had the shakes for a week. Did some online research and found out how addictive they really were.

    I found out that I am not a naturally depressed person. I only get depressed by bad conditions and situations if it feels out of my control. I know the only antidote that works for me is believing I have reason for HOPE. I am convinced we can’t live without hope.

    For the past few weeks, I have been going through a very rough patch in life and I felt a bit of that old depression coming back. It really is an unspeakable pain. But I spoke with someone who could help and have regained a sense of hope that the things that are bothering me can and WILL be changed . . . with tiny baby steps.

    This mental shift in belief makes me feel like a new person this morning.

    Robin, here’s to HOPE and belief in good changes for you and me and all of us.

  • http://bestofcourt.blogspot.com Court

    I want to join in the chorus of “thank you”s for being so brave and honest in sharing your story. I, too, suffer from severe depression and deal everyday with childhood trauma – so it’s been with me for over 20 years (and I’m only 29!). It’s hard to let yourself dream of having another partner when depression is such a jealous companion itself.

    My now husband and I experienced some of this when we planned our wedding too, because I am being treated for depression and he is in recovery (we like to joke that when it comes to genes, our future kids are screwed), but we did it! And it was a joyous day, wholly because we were open and talked and talked and talked about how these diseases impact our lives.

    Sending much love your way!

  • http://www.mysanfranciscobudgetwedding.wordpress.com Sarah

    Robin,

    I love your brutally honest, always funny writings, and this is no exception. I could write a book about being a depressed engaged woman. M story is different, but the depression is there. The crying jags, the fears, the seemingly never-ending questions, “Should we postpone the wedding? Maybe we shouldn’t get married.”

    I find that I go through periods where I will be peppy and feel good about myself, only to find myself sitting at my desk unable to concentrate and unable to, well, function.

    One of the things that I found myself doing to combat the wedding blahs was focusing on the details. I DIY’ed the crap out of our wedding. Nearly every element of our wedding has some crafty focus. For some people, this may seem like a depressing laundry list of chores, but for me, it provided a needed distraction. When I was focused on projects, I was too busy to be focused on fears or depression. Needing to complete projects and move on to the next thing on the list helped keep me moving forward.

    I read a lot about how it’s important not to get caught up in the details, and there are people who have poo-poo’ed the extent of our crafting, but the DIY stuff saved me. Really saved me.

    Luckily, I have enough other things going on between now and the wedding to keep my mind and hands from becoming idle, or I would be in trouble without another project or 6.

    • Class of 1980

      Sarah! Now I feel bad about teasing you about all the crafting!!! Hope you know it was only teasing. ;)

      It’s funny how different we all are. Crafting was a stress reliever for you, but it would add stress for me. Go figure.

    • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com/ Morgan

      Planning a wedding – having a check list of things that had to be done, made or planned – did help when my dad was dying. In many way, a very helpful distraction. I totally get you and it’s great that you’d found something that helps, no matter what anyone else thinks.

      (Also, some of the stuff you’ve done? Super duper awesome.)

  • Laura Mc

    Robin,

    I can sympathize with your battle on some of the levels you describe. I battle a different chronic illness on a daily basis and often have the thoughts of “how can he want to put up with this FOREVER?!” This is what unconditional love is and we are all worth it no matter the illness we are facing.

    My fiance and I also struggle with the fact that I will always need (affordable) insurance, so self employment isn’t really an option with a pre-existing condition. It sucks to think that I am limited in my employment options because I cannot go without insurance.

    And, to boot, I am also on maintentance medications that I will have to make the call on during pregnancy wether I should risk harm to my unborn child or potentially compromise my own health and have a flare up of my disease.

    Definitely not easy stuff, but be thankful you have an amazing partner to be there with you while you tackle it. Kudos to you, and you are not alone!!

  • Amanda

    I, too, am a depressed, unemployed-lawyer-bride-to-be. Reading this post was like reading about myself. With the exception that I tried to call it off. Twice. In one week.

    The ugliest part of my depression revolves around blaming others for my own issues, and unfortunately for my Groom, mostly blaming him. So when he failed to do something I asked him to do involving wedding planning, I got all blamey and dodgey and told him that “if I couldn’t trust him to do this one little thing for our wedding, the most important day of our lives, then how could I trust him to do big important things after we were married.” And then I told him I didn’t think we should get married. And then again a few days later.

    The truth of that situation was that I was scared and was looking for an out. How could I let him marry me like this? Pathetic, unemployed, and depressed. I often feel like an unequal partner in our relationship because I can’t contribute financially, or emotionally, or physically. And the fact that I *hate* wedding planning is not helping. It makes me feel inadequate and a number of other negative adjectives that I won’t go into. But I have major shame issues surrounding getting married, mostly involving me not being good enough.

    I was lucky that my groom was patient, and managed to talk me off the metaphorical edge. The wedding is still on. But I still have that same twinge of panic as you do when I write a deposit check. I am hoping it will get better, for both of us.

  • http://quiltonthetracks.posterous.com Margaret M.

    This is such a brave, beautiful post. Thank you for writing it. I want to give you a big hug, but you’ll have to settle for internet hugs.

    I have been there and then some. I hope you’re able to get the help you need from your doctor and other medical helpers. Being married means being in a team and management of diseases like depression is a team effort. It doesn’t make it go away, but it makes it easier. My husband makes me take my pills, even when I don’ wanna or otherwise would just forget. He makes sure I get to the doctor and make my appointments and don’t fall off the treatment wagon.

  • Laura

    Oh, wow… thank you for this. SO MUCH. I can’t tell you how many mini-meltdowns I’ve had in the months since my fiance and I moved in together and got engaged. I’ve struggled with depression on and off for years, and it’s just so much to handle. I worry constantly that my fiance will change his mind and decide I’m too much too deal with, and that leads to me freaking out, and then him freaking out and me having to reassure him that yes, I really do trust him and have faith in him… it’s ME that I have no faith in.

  • Hoppy Bunny

    This post is incredibly uplifting–although it speaks to depression, it is all about hope. Thanks so much for encouraging us all to power through to reach our goals of being happy. It is so inspirational to me.

    Hugs to all the ladies sharing their personal stories as well. Hugs to everyone.

  • Class of 1980

    I finally had the time to read all the posts and it’s very humbling. I think this is one of the best posts on APW.

    For what it’s worth, we have a local message board in my town and a couple of years ago someone posted about depression on it. The number of clinically depressed posters that came out of the woodwork was amazing.

    Depression is not uncommon at all, yet people don’t talk about it much. No wonder there is so much relief at finding out how many others struggle with it.

  • http://lilapuppy.blogspot.com Meghan

    Robin,

    This is a very moving and brave post. Thank you for having thte courage to write it.

    Meghan

  • ellobie

    Thanks for the great post, Robin! My sentiments mostly echo those of everyone else, but I would like to add a word about meds/pregnancy. There are a few well-known risky anti-depressant/anxiety meds that should be avoided during pregnancy, but the more common prozac-based meds have not been shown to have much (if any) significant risks. I am staying on Lexapro while my husband and I attempt our first. Our reasoning is that there’s nothing you can do to guarantee a happy, healthy baby but it seems much more likely to have a happy baby when there’s a happy mom in the picture. Just my two cents.

  • http://strawberriesinparis.com Elizabeth

    Keep your chin up girlfriend!! Good things are bound to come!

  • http://beckybopwrites.blogspot.com/ Becky

    Robin, along with all these other ladies, I’m sending hugs your way! I’ve suffered from major depression in the past but am fortunate to have come out the other side (for now at least) after many years of the same symptoms and feelings you described so well. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. Your writing is beautiful, and you seem to have a unique ability for not only analyzing your own feelings but finding a way to convey that clearly to others. I hope that you keep speaking out and sharing your experiences, and that it helps you to find the happiness that I know is out there for you.

    As for all of your fears about your wedding and marriage, sometimes the hard stuff is what marriage is all about. You have a partner who’s already been there for you in the bad times, and he’s shown that he’s not going anywhere. Cherish him and the life that the two of you are building together. Lean on him and let him reassure you when you need it. And know that you are strong and capable and that things will get better.

  • http://www.freshivey.com/blog Emily Ivey

    Wow. What courage to take the time to write and share such a personal experience. So different from the picture of a carefree and blissful bride we are constantly shown in the media and feel like we need to measure up to. Which goes to prove again that we shouldn’t compare ourselves nor measure ourselves to what we see on the pages of a magazine…or even what our friends and acquaintances choose to project to us. Because everyone is different, and some people struggle with what is still considered in our society to be a “gray area” disease: depression.

    Depression is real, and no matter how you have it (situational vs. chronic, mild vs. severe), it saps the joy from our life, the energy from our limbs, the aspirations from our hearts. It takes away from what we believe ourselves to be capable of and deserve.

    Thank you for sharing. It IS a fight, and I hope you know you have many faceless and nameless friends out there now supporting you, sharing with your struggle, and hoping / praying for your quick emergence from this tunnel…

  • Heather G.

    Honest and brave. Thank you for sharing.

  • http://threadsofconversation.blogspot.com Doris

    This is one of the best blog posts I’ve ever read, I wish I had the time to read all the comments. I have been (mostly) on meds for severe depression for 14 years, and as a bride 44-days to W-Day, I struggle with it every week. There are very good days, but sprinkled along with it are very bad days, and that ever present sadness and doubt. I don’t doubt my fiance, I don’t doubt our (mostly) happy forever, and I don’t doubt my decision to say yes. But I doubt myself, and I doubt my ability to fully control my depression.

    Thank you so much for sharing, we lost a beloved IL to suicide in October 2010, and I wrote a blog post at that time about the need to talk about this epidemic of depression, to face The Hard Stuff, and not sweep it under the rug…

  • http://forcause.wordpress.com Sandy

    Thank you, thank you. I feel for you and support you, as well as all of the others out there who experience this particular wedding planning difficulty. I think the comments show that your post is helping more people than someone might otherwise think.

  • http://bride-sans-tulle.blogspot.com Sharon

    Robin, thank you so much for writing this post. I’ve struggled with anxiety/depression since adolescence and have described planning my wedding as “a seven-month-long panic attack” before. Yeah, not fun, especially the part where you look around and think, “Everyone’s asking me if I’m happy. I’m not happy; I’m miserable.”

    Anyhow, I’m rooting for you. And I’m sending light your way (even if that sounds incredibly corny). My hope for you and all the commenters that share in this struggle is that your weddings will be a bright spot of pure joy and that your marriages will give you the safe haven in which you can keep battling this illness.

  • Kristin M.

    Thank you for writing this. I am dealing with the same thing, and it is sometimes so difficult to explain to my fiance why I’m having a meltdown over something as relatively unimportant in life as whether or not we have chair covers. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. I’ll be thinking about you, and hoping that you find something that works for you and your depression.

  • http://hopewanders.wordpress.com hopewanders

    I just went through and “exactly’d” at least a dozen of those comments.

    And I know everyone has said it, but DAMN, Robin, your post shows a level of bravery and courage that amazes me.

    From one major depression/anxiety gal (mostly) recovered and STILL worst-case-scenario planner who is irrationally convinced her wedding will explode in disaster……I feel ya.

  • http://cobaltandblue.tumblr.com ML

    Robin, thank you so much for writing this post. I’m not engaged, but I am in a committed relationship with the man I plan to start a family with one day. Over the course of our relationship, we’ve taken turns – on of us dealing with several months of depression, the other supporting, encouraging and uplifting. Then we get to a great place together, and after a couple months the other seems to fall down. This has helped us build a strong foundation full of trust, but is also exhausting.

    I also battle relationship anxiety in general, and have to see love and commitment as a choice on a daily basis (I’d really like some omnipresent being to stand behind him with a “this one’s the one!” sign, but that ain’t going to happen, just have to trust myself and my love).. which makes the cycle we go through even harder for me. It’s a blessing to have found a community that talks about these sorts of things. thanks ladies.

  • cynthia

    Robin, others have expressed how thought-provoking your post is and shared about depression in general. Although I could comment on these issues, I want to tell you, as someone who was an under-employed newly licensed attorney when I got engaged to an unemployed newly licensed attorney (and we’re not talking a month out of school, but several months of searching and working crummy jobs), it is okay to feel disappointment that you are not where you would like to be yet, that you are desperate for a job, and that lawyers should be able to find work (even though there isn’t any and experienced attorneys are working the crap entry-level jobs now). It’s hard to revel in good news (like engagements and wedding plans) when you feel this overall disappointment, especially on top of depression. I applaud that you have gone back on treatment, and your fiance’s help and concern bode well for your marriage. Less than a year later, we have jobs and are married. It got better because it “had to.” But as this blog so honestly shows, sometimes life is messy, and life usually won’t be perfect just because you’re planning a wedding. If you waited until life was perfect, it might never happen. Good luck.

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    I wanted to stand up and shout a “Hallelujah” for you there at the end.

    I’ve had my own battles with depression and it is something we’ve talked about as a possibility of coming back in my future.

    I wish you peace.

  • http://livinglnf.blogspot.com Jo

    Oh my god you are amazing. Reaching out after having survived major mental health battles is one thing, but doing it DURING the battle – I am blown away. I will throw my hat in the ring for those who have suffered in similar (not identical!) ways, to remind you yet again that you are not alone. And I am incredibly happy for you that you found someone who loves YOU and is mature enough to deal with the potential humanness of that, and that you are (despite your fears) allowing yourself to take this amazing step to bring happiness into your life. The best of luck, love, and life to you both.

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  • http://hitchdied.wordpress.com Robin HitchDied

    Thank you, thank you, thank you APW and this whole community for the opportunity to share this and for this overwhelming response. This has been an incredibly healing experience for me. I wrote a little more here on HitchDied about how much this meant to me. Thanks again. I feel so much love for APW and all its readers.

  • Mary

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this. I could have written much of this myself. I just found APW a few weeks ago but I’m so glad to find a wedding website that isn’t afraid to discuss the not so glamorous side of wedding planning.

    I struggle with extreme anxiety and depression. Getting engaged tricked me for a little bit into having something else to focus on, but now it’s done the opposite and has seemed to magnify everything that much more. I’m also scared of having to call off the wedding, or that he’ll dump me if things get worse.

    “I don’t always feel sad, but sadness is always inside of me.” That stopped me in my tracks…that’s what I’ve always felt. That even when I’m having what seems like a good day, this thing is always looming over me no matter what. It never really goes away. The worst part is that I’m scared to get help. This has been going on for years (my whole life, really) and I’ve never seen a therapist, for a lot of reasons but mostly because deep down I’m afraid that nothing will really work so I don’t even want to try. Because then I would be hopeless…because then I wouldn’t have an excuse other than, “I’ll get around to it someday.” I try to push myself but it feels like I’m in a constant state of inertia. I just feel like I don’t know what to do with myself.

    Again, thank you for sharing this.

    • http://hitchdied.wordpress.com Robin HitchDied

      I went through EXACTLY the same thing when it came to getting help. I didn’t want to try to fix it and fail, because then there would really be no hope. Unfortunately, every time this happened I had to have experiences perilously close to “rock bottom” to get back into treatment. You don’t want to suffer that if you don’t have to.

      I know how hard it is to believe this, because I have been there, but I felt so much more hopeful once I was back in treatment. Even though I’m not entirely confident that my new therapy techniques or my new medication are working. I know that I’m on the right track, at least, to health. I hope you find some form of treatment that works for you, and I wish you health and happiness.

  • http://aweddingrunsthroughit.blogspot.com kathleen

    I just wrote a really long comment and my internet did something that made it disappear… so I will just say thank you for this post and for being so open with the things that tend to be hard to talk about. The resulting discussions are so incredibly helpful and even affirming, in ways, because we’re not alone in our struggles. I admire you for sharing so candidly and also for being a generally hilarious and awesome blogger in the midst of everything.

  • somebody

    oh honey. I know exactly what you mean. I just cried throughout this entire post.

  • shorty j

    I love this post. As someone who struggled with major depression most of her life, finally broke free as an adult, and then promptly developed obsessive-compulsive disorder, I can’t even count the ways in which my mental health has affected this entire process of preparing to be married–not just wedding planning, but living together, and everything else. On the other hand, it was probably the kick in the ass I needed–having to deal with a wedding on top of my dad being sick, my work being crazy stressful, and everything else really made me go “OKAY, TIME FOR THERAPY.”

    Getting my SO heavily involved in the wedding stuff has helped, because when I’m on my own, I’m much less cognizant of how my behavior starts to creep. Like, in a non-wedding simile: when I clean the house, I will sometimes scrub the kitchen counter for hours until the chemicals make my eyes burn. But having him or my bff or my mom step in and go “whoa, okay, I think you’re done here” helps me keep perspective.

  • Marchelle

    This is beautiful. And honest, and raw, and *necessary*. Thank you for sharing it.

    May we all be able to lead lives top-filled with hope.

  • Ashlee

    Robin, Thank you for being brave enough to share this story. For the past few months, I thought I was alone in being a depressed wife-to-be and wondered why my engagement, my fiance and my wedding planning wasn’t enough to make me happy. But I read this, and I realized that I’m not alone, and that is one of the most comforting things that could happen to me. It will get better, for you, for me and for all the other depressed wives-to-be. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • es

    I’ve recently found APW and this post typifies why it’s been such a blessing to find. I don’t struggle with depression myself but my fiance does and his willingness to confront it, get help and get medicated is part of the reason we’re engaged after many years! Also my best friend/bridesmaid/house mate has severe depressions (in and out of hospital more time than I can count in the last year) and I’m struggling with my desire to involve her as one of the most important people in my life and being realistic about what she can take on.

    I think that even those of us for whom this isn’t “our issue” we know people. It is common and it affects us through people incredibly important to us, friends or family. I’m really grateful that we can have a place to talk about it.

  • http://irisira.wordpress.com irisira

    I didn’t read through all of the comments, so I am not sure if there is a similar one to this vein, but even if there is, I don’t think you can hear this often enough.

    My husband was diagnosed with GAD and depression back in 2008, when we were still just dating. We were pretty serious, but we lived in separate apartments in the same building and had no desire to even share a bed on most nights (we keep different sleep schedules), let alone live together. Like you, his chosen career is one that has been torpedoed by the economy, which will do a number on one’s self worth in and of itself.

    Anyway, he had a tipping point – a bat got into the apartment, and a week later he was bitten by a tick. He started researching Lyme disease and rabies voraciously, and it spiraled from there. The following months were hell for him, and hell for me – not because I was resentful or frustrated with his disease, but because my heart broke to watch him struggle so much. His doctors were FANTASTIC. I am so grateful for, in particular, the PA who was his primary care clinician. She was patient and kind, and worked with him tirelessly to find a way to manage his illness.

    Before he got sick, we were never ones for excessive “I love yous.” We’re still not. But I made sure to tell him all the time, that I loved him. It was so important for him to hear that from me, because I wanted him to know that I wasn’t going anywhere, and I didn’t want to go anywhere, and I was going to be there for him no matter what. I started spending most nights with him, in his apartment (which was on the second floor with a park view, as opposed to my smaller, cavern-like basement apartment). I moved in shortly after, and we got engaged a little over a year later, after he reached the end of the tunnel. He didn’t want to get married until he felt better, and I was fully supportive of that. Like I said, it didn’t matter to me, because I was there for the long haul.

    I say all of this, because this is how your fiance feels about you. You are not your disease, and he wants to be there to support you through whatever hell you are facing. As someone who is on the other side of it, it wouldn’t even cross my mind to want to be with someone else who was “easier,” because that person wouldn’t be my husband.

  • Steph

    Thank you so much for this post! My major depression didn’t kick in until a year and a half after we got married (after being under control for many years with medication) but I can so relate to that feeling and questioning and worrying that I’m a burden to my husband. I’m proud of you for pushing forward and wish you peace and hope in the future.

  • Emmy

    I so could have written this. Especially this part:

    Depression feels like nothing is good, nothing is fair, nothing is easy, and nothing will ever get any better. Depression is hopelessness.

    I’m currently struggling through this for the past year. I spend my days lost watching reality tv cause I don’t want to deal with my real life issues. I have been thru alot in 2010 -dealt with 4 deaths (most hurtful being my mom), potentially fatal health issues of people i care for deeply and I’m so afraid of losing, lack of employment, my never ending battle with food. The voices of “Your such a loser” ringing in my head repeatly for numerous uncompleted projects. I know in many ways i’m blessed but its hard to remember that sometimes.

    Trust me you are not alone. Thank you for your honesty.

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  • Alexandra

    Major hugs! [offered] ;p
    I’ve been through depression and medication. Fortunately it seems to have been mostly-situational, but there are still times that can get tough. Best Wishes.

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  • Erin

    I know this is a super old post and I apologise, but this resonated with me so much this morning. I appreciate the words of support, because I keep visualising having to call all my friends and family to say the wedding is off. I’m dreading the moment my fiancé tells me that he’s not happy and wants to call it off. I toy with the idea of calling it off myself to save me the pain of being “the reject”. I know this is my depression coming back and I should fight through, but man, it’s difficult.

    • Josephine

      Erin, maybe you will have ticked the notification button, I hope so.

      I’m right there with you, and we can do it! And to all the people who follow us and read this wonderful post, you can do it too!
      *hugs*

  • Tee

    I would love to see a follow-up on this about depression and marriage. My husband was just recently diagnosed with depression and as newlyweds it would be great to see more on this subject.

  • les

    Thank you for sharing this. I am 3 months away from marrying the greatest person I know. He helps me through my depression/anxiety. But I am breaking down right now. I was dignosed with depression about 2.5 years ago and was on medication. I am not on meds anymore because I didn’t like the idea of it. I have been med free for a little while now. I thought I could manage with excersise and proper sleep and diet. As we approach the day, my anxiety and depressin symptoms are becoming worse. I am even having chest pain now. The invitations are printed and still on my kitchen table waiting to be sent but, we are concerned that it is too much for me. He wants a big wedding and I agreed but I am terrified to be the centre of attention. I have never liked weddings much so it all seems like such a strech to do this. There is no one better for me in this world but, it all seems too much. I;m not sure what to do. thought I was alone until I read this post. I know depression has almost stolen major moments of my life away but somehow I fought for them. I am just not sure what to do.

  • http://www.mywedding.com/queerhinduvintage Jenni

    Thanks so much for sharing. I’m going through a very difficult time while wedding planing, and it helps to hear from others. xo

  • 2013 Bride

    I am very late, but in the same boat. I am angagedto be married Nov 2 2013. Wed previously planned for march 16 and Id even ordered save the dates, then he told me he needed more time. He’d just moved here from a long distance relationship in April. 2012 and said he wanted to have a more established relationship first, he proposed , however, in June…he said he wanted a longer engagement. He is also working on his career as an engineer. The problem is, I’ve been depressed and insecure, and changing the date didn’t help. I cconstantly feel like goodness won’t happen for me. My sister is getting married in may 2013 5 months before me and she is so happy. I get so sad, mostly because I wish I was happy. I stead cry and cry every time me and my fiance aren’t together…thinking possibly he’s changed is mind,or that we wont mar at all. Hard to picture something like that happening for me. My sister fiance’isso attentive, he is a lot older and established and even has a house, he is 31. My fiancé is 24 ad just completed his masters and had begun working for the state which he hates,heme why he is working on building his career and opening a business. Anyways…I pretty much cry everyday, I hardly wear my ring bc I also sad. I want to takes ,eds but I am worried about gaining weight and also becoming addicted. I just don’t know how to handle how sad I am everyday. I see my fiance 3 or 4 days per week and he has tried to reassure me that the new November date is definite..but I just can’t seem to get it together. I feel ruined. I feel depressed and mentally in anguish. My momis in remission, my dad had a stroke, my sister is in bliss and I can’t find it in me to stress any of them.o am alone and depressed. I need help.

  • Helen

    Read this this morning and pretty much cried throughout. I can relate in oh so many ways! Matt (my fiancé) and I both have depression. Matt’s comes down more to how he perceives himself after a years of bullying, mine is an unfortunate consequence of mild hydrocephalus. I’ve also developed a Harm OCD trait with my depression which I guess is making me desperate to run from the wedding, I don’t want to be known as one of the many who killed her husband.

    Matt’s optimistic about the wedding, I can feel myself forcibly digging my heels in and yelling “NO!” in the back of my mind. Matt’s such a warm person, funny, generous, thoughtful. The biggest thing about Matt is that when he talks, I listen. No, not as in I want to hear the footie scores but because he asserts a belief into me the way nobody else can. He won’t sit there and tell me it’s going to be OK, his words to me this evening were “you’ll be at the altar because you won’t want to let me down.” Quite honestly I don’t anticipate enjoying our wedding, but when he said that it rang true, I don’t want to let my soulmate down. I’m hoping to start meds and therapy soon as I’m starting to crack with only 5 months to go.

  • Jamie

    I’m getting married in 2 months and I’ve been deppressed for about 6 months from our 1 yr engagement and thank you for sharing your story I’m glad I’m not alone and happy to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that I’m not crazy for feeling the way I feel again thank you,