- 3 years ago
- Wedding: May 2015
I’m new here, but have been reading the boards a lot since I became engaged in April. I could really use some advice, or at least someone to hear what I’m saying! I’m really hoping not to sound selfish, but the situation is that I am secretly eloping with my fiance on Wednesday, but still planning on having a full church wedding in May. FI just booked the judge today and a plane ticket for a friend to come to be a witness. We live in Kansas, but our families and friends live across the country. I am feeling a little overwhelmed and I’m not sure what I do for planning it. I mean, Wednesday! That’s only five days away!
Our reasons for doing this are a bit complicated. We have been together 3 1/2 years, and have been living together in Kansas for one year now. We moved for his job, but hope to move back “home” to where our families and friends are in a few more years. We are fully committed to planning a beautiful Catholic Church and on-the-water reception back home on May 2nd, 2015. In fact, the in-laws have just recently helped us book those things. So why would we want to elope at the courthouse, with only one friend present? Since I moved here, I have continued to be under my father’s health insurance (I’m 22 and worked as a homeschool and subsitute teacher this school year, so no benefits). Unfortunately, every doctor’s office out here is “out of network.” But honestly, even if it weren’t, I don’t know that I could seek the help that I need, knowing that my parents would receive the claims from the doctors.
I have struggled with depression for a long, long time. FI’s known this since before we even started dating, and though he is supportive, he doesn’t really get it. I have never taken anything for it, and I only went to a therapist a few times in high school. Asking my parents to allow me to seek help in that form was one of the most difficult things I had to do. I know that they were concerned, and only want the best for me, but mental health has a definite stigma in my family (I have vivid memories of my mother yelling, “What is wrong with you? I ought to send you to a shrink!” as if it would be the most horrid thing in the world). I felt like the therapist was a New Age hippie type who just encouraged me to talk about my latest high school drama and my friends’ feelings, which were honestly the least of my problems, so I stopped going. I had been driving myself there and my parents didn’t say a word when I stopped (I’m not sure if they noticed or remembered).
I have periods that are better than others, particularly when I’m keeping myself busy with school (college or working in a school), but this has truly been a constant in my life, and I’ve reached a point where I am so, so tired of it. I’m tired of feeling emotionally exhausted all the time. I’m tired of having panic attacks and feeling overwhelmed. I’m tired of feeling useless and like my life is meaningless. I do care about making sure that my life is helpful, not harmful, to the world, and so I live a vegan lifestyle and I would never, ever do anything that I know would hurt someone else. I know my FI loves me and so that really keeps me off the edge, but I really am close sometimes. I’ve had a hard time motivating myself to do anything more than sit on the couch or sleep, but I know that even if I stop caring about myself, I will always care for FI and at the very least cook and clean. I want to be more, for him and for me, but this has been so difficult. I also want to convince him that he hasn’t done a thing wrong. With good intentions, he’s constantly trying to cheer me up and give me reasons to be happy, but I’ve had to explain to him: I have every reason to be happy. I am so lucky with the things I have. But I feel like I don’t have the ability to be happy. Sometimes I just feel numb.
I’ve been struggling a lot lately since school ended here in May, but what’s motivating this reaching out for help now is a trip FI and I took in early June back home for our engagement party. A close friend, B, (actually the one who was friends with FI since childhood and led to us dating) opened up to me about his struggles and how he finally got some help and is doing so much better. B’s story mirrored so much of my own. I was amazed and inspired to learn that he has dealt with the same feelings and actually been able to change them! There is a way out! I want that so much.
So I explained to FI, and to keep this from going even longer (sorry!), we decided to get married so that I could be on his health insurance. His logic is that he’s going to marry me anyway, and so if he could help me by moving up the legal date, he would. I have to say that he was a little uncertain about actually setting a date so soon, but after talking to his friend (the one coming out for the wedding) he came around. His friend said, “Would you be hesitating if this were a physical issue?” Once his friend put it to him that way, FI was on board. He knows that he doesn’t understand what I’m dealing with, but I’ve been honest with him. I am definitely not someone who wants other people’s concerns, and I wouldn’t do anything drastic or attention-seeking. I sought attention when I flat out told him, I need help. I don’t feel like I trapped him into this, because I said that he could also try to arrange things with my parents to fly me back there to get treatment – I’m really just desperate for something, so if that’s what had to be done, so be it. I also know he loves me and definitely wants to marry me, but I’m hoping that he can get some mental preparation in the next few days so that he can feel “ready” is such a short period of time.
I already feel so much guilt for keeping this from our families and friends. We both do believe that getting married in front of God and all our loved ones, at the church, will be when our real marriage begins, and so we are not lessening its importance in our eyes. But we have to keep this from everyone else because we know that they won’t understand (mental health has a HUGE stigma in our families) and they will feel disappointed if they find out the truth. We do plan on being honest with the priest and FI’s already talked to a few church people, though not the priest who will be marrying us since the church is currently in the process of having one priest retire and hasn’t found a replacement yet. I don’t want to lie to anyone, or “cheapen” our May wedding in anyone’s eyes, but I know that this is the only way to get me help I need. Making my feelings more difficult is that I don’t have anyone to talk to this about. Our mutual friend B is close with FI’s whole family and is notorious for having a big mouth, so I can’t even open up to him about this (FI specifically says not to). My other friends don’t know what’s going on with me (I’ve always kept it pretty well hidden) and I don’t feel like my problems are worth their time.
All that said, I want to pull myself out of this hole at least long enough to enjoy our elopement. We already applied for a marriage license. Does anyone have suggestions for what to do dress-wise that’s under $100? Hair, makeup? I know we’ll want to go out to a restaurant for dinner. Any other suggestions to make this memorable, or to make sure our actual wedding in May won’t lose anything?