Last week I shared a post about my wedding to mark our fourth anniversary. While it absolutely, 100% was the best day of my life, I wanted to create a separate post on what happened post-wedding, as I feel this isn’t really something that’s talked about all that much. After my wedding, I’ll freely admit that I was not okay. With one in ten women reporting depression in the first year of marriage, post wedding blues is actually pretty common – so why don’t we talk about it enough?
What Causes Post-Wedding Depression?
According to a study of newly married women, it was found that 12% experienced depression after their wedding. The difference between these women and those that didn’t was that the ‘happy brides’ saw the wedding as a new chapter in their lives, while the ‘blue brides’ saw the wedding as an end goal. Of course your wedding is an event that takes up so much time and effort, so it’s natural that once it’s over, there’s a feeling of disappointment. Reasons behind feeling down after your wedding can include:
- The return to everyday life
- The loss of looking forward to the event
- The reduction of attention
- The pressure and uncertainty of your role as a new spouse
For me, it was most certainly three out four of these. Combined with my classic negative thought patterns and OCD, the post wedding blues soon became the post wedding roast. I basically criticised the shit out of my own wedding a mere few weeks after it. So for today’s post I wanted to talk a little about how my mind worked during the months following my wedding. It’s for any newlyweds out there who are having a tough time post-wedding.
One Week On
The first week after the wedding in hindsight wasn’t too bad. While those initial few days afterwards felt a bit flat, it was just that same feeling you’d get every year on Boxing Day, or each year the day after your birthday. The day after we of course had presents and cards to open, and over the next few days we were able to look at photos that family members had taken of the day, which kept the excitement going. Not only that, at the end of the week we had our ‘mini moon’ to look forward to. We stayed at Barnsley House, which was the most gorgeous hotel in the Cotswolds. Our room (or rather, suite) was stunning. It was like a little flat! It was so pretty, and the bathroom was genuinely bigger than my living room. We had probably what was the best meal of my life, along with a free glass of champagne where my husband had dropped the marriage bomb. It was amazing.
Two Weeks On
This was where things started to get a little more negative. I suddenly started thinking about how I would never look that good again, and how we would never have all of our loved ones together like that ever again. Generally, the overall thought was that I would never feel as happy as I did that day, and it genuinely broke me.
In addition to this was the fact that it was time to go back to work. By this point I was very unhappy in my job anyway, so returning to it after two weeks off was very difficult. I had to endure the constant “how was the wedding?” questions from pretty much every person I encountered and it felt like torture. Why would I want to talk about it when I was so upset that it was over? Of course people were just being polite, and it wasn’t exactly acceptable to tell them I didn’t want to talk about it. The other thing that didn’t help was that I was the first in a number of staff that was getting married – so it meant there was a lot of wedding talk for months to come. I hated that the other girls I worked with got to enjoy the excitement I once had. They were my friends, but at the same time, hearing them talk about their wedding plans was excruciating.
Six Weeks On
When we finally got our photos back, I was so happy. I remember looking through them and feeling so happy – I looked amazing and it brought back all the memories of the day. Unfortunately, that feeling didn’t last long.
A week later, my love of my wedding photos disappeared. The more I looked through them, the more upset I got. The photos of me looked awful. My dress looked like it didn’t fit. There weren’t enough photos of me and Liam. You name it, I thought it.
Of course none of this was true, but there was no way of getting those thoughts out of my mind. I hated how I looked. I was a fuck ugly bride. Not only was I heartbroken, but I was angry. Every bride deserves to look beautiful on her wedding day, so why did I look like shit? The one day where I was entitled to look my best and feel happy with how I looked, and yet I still looked awful. I spent so many hours crying my eyes out because of it. I’d like to say I’m exaggerating, but I’m not.
Six Months On
I’d like to say the post wedding blues disappeared as time moved on, but that was wishful thinking. The cruellest thing my mind did was compare it to literally every single wedding I witnessed. Whether it was looking at pictures on Facebook or weddings I actually attended, that bitch in my brain would remind me that the bride looked better than I did and that this wedding was so much better than mine. I would berate myself for any detail I liked that I didn’t have at my wedding, and I’d look at the bride’s dress and think maybe I should have gone for that sort of style instead. It got to the point where if I knew someone was getting married I dreaded looking at their photos or going to the wedding reception because I knew my mind was just going to torture me.
I feel pathetic saying that I would often burst into tears when I saw my friends’ wedding photos on Facebook. I felt as though I was the ugliest bride that lived and that I was stupid for even thinking I looked good on the day. At the same time, I also felt like the biggest bitch in the world because I couldn’t just be happy for my friends. I feel guilty admitting that even now.
I’d like to say this post wedding depression has left me, but there are unfortunately occasions where it creeps back in. I feel pathetic for saying that, because it’s been four years now. Like girl, get a fucking grip. However, to sit here and tell you that I’ve made my peace with it and I’m okay now would be a total lie. For the most part, I can look through my wedding photos and feel happy. I feel as though I was pretty and there are some of them that I genuinely love. However, if I look at one of them in the wrong state of mind, that doubt will creep back in and it takes a long time to shift it.
I still make comparisons against other people’s weddings, and I still look at other brides’ wedding photos and hate myself for not picking a dress like theirs. While I haven’t made peace with the post wedding blues, in most cases, I’ve made peace with the fact I know why I’m doing it. I feel as though my OCD plays a huge part in – let’s face it – shitting on my wedding. One of my worst traits is nitpicking when it comes to anything involving myself. Currently with my rational head on, I know that it’s all in my head. I know that I could have been wearing the most beautiful dress in the world, and had my hair and make-up done by a stylist to the stars, and I still would have drawn the conclusion that I looked like shit. It’s one of the most cruel traits of the anxious brain.
However, what I’ve learned from this is that it’s normal to feel down after your wedding. And it’s okay. This event has taken up so much time and energy, and all of a sudden, it’s over. It’s okay to be sad about that. Planning the day took up pretty much every one of my days off for a good year, and suddenly having nothing to do felt really strange. Almost empty.
I’ll be honest with you, I haven’t spoken about this whole thing properly until now. Why? I’ve been ashamed. I’ve told my husband of course, and when I’ve subtly said something negative about my wedding to anyone it’s been immediately brushed off. But the truth is I’ve been ashamed to say that I was so hurt and upset listening to my friends’ wedding plans, and that I spent a vast portion of their wedding days hating myself because they looked a million times better than I did. I feel so selfish admitting that. Of course, there are going to be brides out there who look better than me. And there’ll be brides out there that look better than them, and so on. You can’t win them all.
Why is it so important? Well, as someone who has constantly hated how they’ve looked, I feel the one thing I was entitled to was to be beautiful on my wedding day, and to look back at my wedding photos and be sure of it. Every bride deserves that. It’s just cruel that anxiety takes that away from you.
How to Get Over Post Wedding Blues: Advice for New Brides
The first thing I’ll say is that it’s totally fine to feel depressed after your wedding. It’s normal, and in most cases (with the exception of my stupid brain), it will pass. But I’ve learnt a few tips that will help to make things easier:
- Remember how you felt on the day – On the actual day, I felt happy and beautiful. The anxious mind will be desperate to take that away from you, but focus on how you felt on the day itself and all of the wonderful comments from your guests.
- Focus on your favourite photos – Despite the fact that my brain decided to rip the shit out of a good 70% of my photos, I still have my favourites, so I try to look at these more often than the ones I’m doubtful over.
- If you suffer with mental health difficulties, take your criticism with a pinch of salt. I try to consider the fact that if I didn’t have OCD and anxiety, the chances are I wouldn’t have been anywhere near as critical.
- Plan things to look forward to with your new spouse – even if they’re just little things. It’ll give you something to focus on and recreate those feelings of excitement.
- Remember it’s normal to experience those post wedding blues, and while I’m apparently an exception, they will eventually pass! They’re definitely less frequent now – so you know, maybe I’ll be okay by our tenth anniversary.
I’m sorry that this has turned out to be quite a long post. In all honesty this has been something I’ve stewed over for years, so it was actually quite cathartic to get it all out! I’d like to say that this is no reflection on any of the suppliers that had a part in getting me ready for the wedding – they did an amazing job, and rational me was thrilled with the outcome. I’m fully aware that the criticisms of the day were down to my mental health difficulties, combined with the general feelings of post wedding depression. But what I will say is that it’s okay to talk about it. There should be more out there when it comes to support in terms of post wedding depression, but for now, I hope this post has raised a little awareness.