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    Everything I Wish I'd Known About Planning A Wedding With Anxiety

    As if weddings weren't stressful enough, planning one when you have chronic anxiety can feel like walking through a minefield.

    "Have you thought about a date?" "How many bridesmaids are you having?" "Are you having an engagement party?"

    Warner Bros

    There I was: I'd hardly had a chance to give a resounding "yes!" to my boyfriend's proposal, and the questions just started rolling in.

    As I tried to answer, like a deer in the headlights, surrounded by my excited friends, I couldn't help but feel overwhelmed about discussing my wedding plans. I mean, who wouldn't – there are a lot of things to juggle! As evidenced by any of the hundreds of wedding-themed reality shows out there, it's an incredibly stressful and overwhelming time for most people.

    And then there's me: I live with chronic anxiety, which has made organising a wedding even trickier. As anyone who's dealt with anxiety knows, it's incredibly helpful to be prepared, and there's a few things I wish I'd known from the start.

    1. As wonderful and exciting as it is, getting engaged can also fuel a lot of worrying.

    From the minute we got engaged, I started worrying about things I really didn't need to worry about, much to the detriment of my poor fiancΓ©. Some things were vaguely relevant, others completely ridiculous really.

    For instance, I spent the first few post-engagement hours worrying that my best friend would be upset – she was away on a romantic holiday, and I was sure she would be getting engaged too.

    All I could think about was that she'd be disappointed that I'd stolen her thunder. Of course I was completely wrong to worry, as I so often am. She was thrilled for me (she's a lovely human), and in fact got engaged the following week, and I was equally thrilled. Looking back, I can't believe that was what consumed my mind on one of the most memorable days of my life. But unfortunately I find it hard to think reasonably at the best of times.

    Luckily (or I suppose obviously, otherwise I wouldn't be marrying him), my partner is more than used to my worrying. He often says he can see the cogs turning in my mind. But he understands.

    It must be difficult when you've just popped the question and all your new fiancΓ© can think about is friendship woes that don't even exist. I suppose deep down, although happy and loved, I felt really overwhelmed.

    2. It can be hard to be positive about The Big Day.

    I've always despised being the centre of attention. As a child I'd be adamant that no one could sing me "Happy Birthday", I dread moving jobs in case of any leaving-do fuss, and I kind of hate opening presents in front of people. Clearly I have a problem with group celebrations.

    Despite my intense shyness at walking down the aisle, posing for photos, and dancing the first dance with my new husband, nothing causes me more anxiety than the prospect of the speeches. My beloved dad – kind, generous, mad as a box of frogs – is bound to embarrass me in more ways than one, as I'm sure countless fathers of the bride have done in the past. Why this fills me with such intense dread I have no idea. I've already analysed at length how many potential kill-me-now moments the best man's speech will involve – add in the hundred or so guests who will be watching and you've pretty much got my worst nightmare.

    The funny thing is, I'll probably be fine on the day. As I said, it's more the prospect of things that gets me fretting. Past experience has proven that my worries are usually unfounded and everything really will be okay – but unfortunately you can't really tell an anxious person to just stop worrying.

    3. It's tempting to put off wedding planning rather than deal with it.

    4. And once you do get started, it can be predictably overwhelming.

    5. You wonder whether you should plan your wedding around your anxiety.

    Rachel W. Miller / BuzzFeed

    The thing is, a big part of me wants that beautiful wedding that my Pinterest-fuelled dreams are made of. And yet the other part of me tells me not to do anything too fancy – I'll be overwhelmed. What if I have a panic attack? What if everyone hates what I've organised for them?

    Early on, we decided we'd love to hold our wedding reception in a converted barn, so we found the ideal place and booked it earlier this year. But since then I've wondered if I should cancel it all and opt for something much smaller, to take off the pressure and keep it more casual. That decision in itself caused me a great deal of anxiety.

    Then there's the part of me that would happily run away and get married in an intimate ceremony for two if I could. Surely everyone would love to do that if they feasibly could? Or is that just me?!

    Over time I've learned that all I can do is choose something that suits us both as a couple – which is a happy, relaxed celebration with our family and close friends. I have to remember that being surrounded by people, when they are people that you love and love you, is one of the best things in life, not the worst.

    6. There's a lot of second-guessing involved.

    Terri Pous / BuzzFeed

    Why am I worrying? Have I chosen the wrong thing? Am I being too extravagant? Am I being difficult? I constantly second-guess myself.

    The trouble is, I never know if what I'm worried about actually is something to worry about or just my mind making things 10 times worse. Am I ridiculous for agonising over whether we should have an outdoor ceremony or not? Possibly. Am I worrying far too much about what other people think? Most likely. Am I wasting time worrying about something that's supposed to be one of the happiest days of my life? Definitely.

    That's the thing – once I'm over whatever it is, I get so annoyed with myself. I don't want a fuss over the wedding, yet I'M THE ONE FUSSING OVER THE WEDDING!

    Often, I'll feel terrible for not feeling happier about it when it's supposed to be one of the best days of my life. But the worry comes in waves – sometimes I'm so calm, and excited, then others I feel so stressed about it I just want to call the whole thing off (I can be very dramatic).

    7. But the most important thing is taking care of yourself and your relationship.

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