Post # 1
I am an active bee going anon because this is a bit personal.
I am waiting for the big question but I know it is coming soon. I already have a lot of anxiety over how this would impact my mental health.
I have had a very serious eating disorder along with a few other diagnoses for most of my life and have been hospitalized for months at a time . I am currently stable but still in treatment. My last relapse nearly killed me and I know I cannot get sick again. I also know that small things can send me into a spiral.
I am so scared that a wedding will cause another relapse due to the stress of the planning, events involving food, dress shopping, pictures etc. But I have always wanted a full wedding, not huge but not tiny either. My therapist is also concerned and suggested eloping, but I know I would regret it and feel like I am missing out.
I have started looking at dresses and am already feeling triggered by the models and feeling panic. I try to stay out of the threads related to weight loss/dieting but can’t help myself and find them upsetting, especially when the methods used are clearly unhealthy but other bees are still praising the loss. It makes me think, maybe this is normal, maybe I CAN cut a bit out of my diet, or lose just a few pounds… but I know it’s like an addict saying that they can just do a bit of heroin.
I just want this to be a time that I remember as being happy. I wish I could be normal and enjoy ths like everybody else. I have missed out on too much of my life because of this. Sorry, having a woe is me moment. I know everybody has their shit to deal with. It just sucks.
Im not really sure what the point of this was. I guess I was just wondering if any other bees are going through this and how they have managed to deal with it? Does anybody else have to deal with managing a serious mental illness or addiction when planning? Any advice?
Post # 3
Hey there- I personally don’t have any experience with this topic but hopefully this gives you enough of a bump to bring it to other’s attention. It’s probably a good thing to be posting on here- as there is a wide variety of different experiences and people. I hope a few people are able to give you some good advice.
Overall, I wish you heaps of luck and your awesome SO provides all the support you need. It may help to let him know of how you’re feeling too, that way he(she?) is more aware and can let you know if they see anything odd? I tell my SO when I’m worried about my depression and he makes sure to ask me how I’m doing more often and get me outside when I’m down, or just to bring me back to sanity when I’m out of it.
Post # 4
My eating disorder deals with compulsive OVER-eating, so I know how those triggers can be. Looking at pictures of wedding dresses makes me feel ashamed of my body size, and looking at cake photos makes me want to eat the whole cake…
I think it’s crucial for you to avoid the triggers and stress. Would you be open to turning ALL of the wedding planning over to someone else?
Would it not be fabulous to just “show up” on your big day and have it all done…maybe by a loved one…knowing they have tried to make it so perfect for you? There is no law that says you HAVE to have you hand in it!
I personally, would find it very freeing…but everybody is different.
Post # 5
This one’s sort of beyond my paygrade, so I would say from the get-go that you should be very considerate of your therapist’s recommendations. I’m not saying you need to “obey” her (or him?) but listen carefully. If you do decide to plan a wedding, I might up your sessions and work to keep her informed about everything so if you do relapse or feel yourself slipping, someone will be there to help you.
I don’t have an eating disorder, but I do have depression, which comes with its own set of bad behaviors–for example, shutting down when there’s some sort of stress and becoming angry really easily. One of the things I have to do is establish habits and follow them–like I HAVE to exercise everyday, I have to be up and out of bed by x time, I have to get dressed every day. I also have to know my “triggers” and not tempt fate.
I imagine that wedding planning is a mine-field for someone struggling with body image and eating disorders, because it includes so much focus on appearance, food, “perfection,” details, social approval, eating in public etc. I don’t know how your ED manifests, but I would think that certain things, like getting measured and tailored for a dress, are going to be tough. I can’t tell you whether you should or shouldn’t do such things–that’s for your therapist to help you with. I guess the best advice I can give you is to know what you can handle and what you can’t and if you can’t do something, to find a work-around or get some support. So if you know that looking at models in dresses is too hard on you, then you need to stop, regroup, and find support. And it may be that you’ll have to go a completely custom route with an individual tailor and you’ll have to tell her that you’ll wear a blindfold for the measuring part and she needs to keep your measurements secret. I mean, it sounds like a bit much, but the important thing is for you to keep yourself well and to do what needs to be done to keep your health a priority.
I do like SandyDollHair’s suggestion of delegating–that’s an excellent solution!
Post # 6
I’m so sorry for what you’ve gone through. I’m commenting in the hopes that it’ll bring this thread to the attention of other bees who might have some good advice for you. Planning and looking forward to your wedding should be one of the most joyful times of your life, and I’m so sorry that you’re anticipating so much pain and stress associated with this process. So much love to you, and I hope you’re able to find a way to have everything you want and feel the way you deserve, which is BEAUTIFUL.
Post # 7
My eating disorder history is not nearly as extensive as yours, mine was just a couple of years, but this is definitely something I’m struggling with as well due to wedding related things. I don’t know how much I can help, as I haven’t really figured out how to manage entirely.
When you go dress shopping can you go somewhere like David’s where they have a variety of dress sizes? If someone who understood your situation came, maybe they could help you try on things without necessarily knowing the sizes you’re trying on. I would definitely steer clear of knowing the size of the gown, especially since bridal sizes can be so wonky.
Does keeping to a strict eating plan help or trigger you? If it helps, maybe try instituting a plan and committing to not cutting out anything. I try to think of it as an “act yourself into right thinking, not think yourself into right acting” sort of thing. I hope this was somewhat helpful. I’m currently toward the high end of a “normal” bmi, so it can be extra triggering knowing that if I did lose some weight it would only be complimented.
Post # 8
@anonbee1313: Please don’t be too hard on yourself (this isn’t shit you have to deal with, it’s an illness that you’re getting treatment for, are aware of, and are working to overcome…you’re doing great!). Wedding planning can be very stressful, so if you can delegate like PP said or even hire a wedding planner, go for it! A planner can ask for your input, but you can also just give them your visions and let them run with it. You control how much you want to take on.
PPs also have great ideas about dress shopping. Go with a trusted friend who will work with the consultant to get you in and out of dresses without focusing on size (esp. because bridal sizes are soooo strange). Try to avoid looking at model photos of gowns, because most dresses won’t look like that on the average gal and it seems to be a trigger worry for you. As much as it is tempting, try to avoid the weight threads. It’s sort of like someone in AA avoiding a bar…it’s just easier to stay far away if possible.
Keep up (and increase) sessions with your therapist and talk with SO often about how wedding planning is making you feel and any concerns you have. Lean on your support system, and remember, no wedding is perfect, no woman is perfect, what’s important is that you and SO enjoy the wedding you want together. The focus is on two people in love, not measurments or things of that nature. You can totally work through it, especially since you’re aware.
Post # 9
Ex-long term ED patient here. Considering your history and the recency of being VERY unwell, I think perhaps you could elope when you’re planning to get married, then when you’ve been recovered completely for quite some time, have a ‘proper’ ceremony. That way you won’t miss out but it won’t be as stressful. As long as it won’t cause a relapse.
Also if you’re going to keep posting on the Bee, try to avoid the Fitness, Food, and Dress sections. They could be really triggering.
Post # 10
our wedding was definitely triggering for me. I restricted/over excercised for months before the wedding…then afterward had a major dip. I found a great therapist about a month after the wedding and she has been helping me a lot.
I would recommend being pro-active about it. Are you in counseling already? If not, find a therapist to help you through this.
I was interviewed by a family friend for his blog about this, here’s the link: http://www.zacharykleinonline.com/1/post/2011/11/forever-yours.html
PS my name isn’t Rachel and he took some poetic license because he didtn feel comfortable announcing my history with bulimia…but I do and you should know that wedding planning brough up those demons. I wish had had someone professional to discuss this with before the wedding as it was very overwhelming.
Post # 11
I don’t have much useful advice except for take care of yourself and surround yourself with those who want the best for you. Lean on your SO, therapist and loving family for support and know that you always have us here on the Bee as well.
Post # 12
I think it’s really positive that you’re addressing this issue now, rather than once you’re already embroiled in it. I agree with previous posters’ suggestions that if you do decide to go ahead and plan a big wedding, up your therapy sessions so that he or she can keep an eye on you. Also, be really honest with your dress fitter about your issues. Try and get an appointment where you can discuss it in private, take a trusted friend or family member with you, and be totally honest about your concerns. Any bridal salon worth their salt should be totally respectful of your wishes and work hard to make it a really positive experience for you. I wish you the best of luck xxx
Post # 13
I’ve been in recovery from AN and BN for about a year.
Honestly, it’s pretty shitty feeling to go try on dresses. The best thing I can suggest is to go try on sizes that are specifically too big on you. It’s hard to feel heavy in a large dress.
Conversely, I would begin attending counseling again ASAP.
Post # 14
@hatmanandbobbin: I work in mental health, and I’d have to agree with this post. Just because you elope doesn’t mean you’d necessarily miss out on everything. So long as you do something with your absolute closest friends/family there and marry the person you love, it’ll really take the pressure off of you in terms of all the planning. And there’s no reason that you can’t have that elaborate vow renewal later down the road when you’ve been doing okay for a longer period of time.
I’ve never had an eating disorder, but I’d also have to agree with the OP that there is definitely some degree of weight obsessiveness in the other forums. The over all goal should always be health and not weight or appearance, during wedding planning or any other time in your life. Do your best to avoid those forums like the plague. You can’t compare yourself to thousands of other women around the world like that. You are you and no one else. Leave it at that. And keep focusing on maintaining the health that you’ve worked so hard to return to. Also, don’t hesitate to turn to your soon to be Fiance for support in all this. Guys seem not to care as much about the whole wedding thing, and he might be able to turn your thoughts to more productive places instead of obsessing over things that won’t matter so much in the long run. Good luck!
Post # 15
- Wedding: April 2013 - ceremony at a gazebo outside, reception at neighboring restaurant on a lake
I did not have a “full blown” eating disorder, but it has taken a year of therapy to really get to a point where I am at peace with food. I have had problems with bulimia.
My recommendation is to not stop counseling. I have struggled with mental health for about 14 years (I’m 29) (depression/anxiety, have always been VERY perfectionistic, mean to myself, negative thoughts). I have found that when I stop therapy, I eventually slide back into my old thought processes. I started developing eating issues about 2 years ago and then went into therapy over the last year. I have decided not to stop counseling EVER because I think it is just like getting a physical/regular check up with a doctor. I started seeing my therapist once a week and now I go once every three weeks. I think I will go at least once every 6 weeks for the rest of my life just to keep me from slipping.
I think the idea of getting a wedding planner or having a friend/family member plan is fantastic. Avoid numbers like the plague. When I go to the doctor, I’m straight up with them and say, I’m recovering from an eating disorder, don’t tell me or show me my weight. I think on days you are doing especially triggering things like wedding dress shopping, you should start the day journaling or doing something that helps you stay focused on staying healthy mentally.
Eloping may be a good idea too! I hope the very very best for you.
Post # 16
@anonbee1313: First of all, this is the internet. I would take verything – EVERYthing on here with a grain of salt. You said, “I try to stay out of the threads related to weight loss/dieting but can’t help myself and find them upsetting, especially when the methods used are clearly unhealthy but other bees are still praising the loss. It makes me think, maybe this is normal, maybe I CAN cut a bit out of my diet, or lose just a few pounds… but I know it’s like an addict saying that they can just do a bit of heroin.” I guess my point is that I really know what you mean. There was a thread where the lovely bee was 5’9 and 162 and wanted to lose and was upset that she was not losing- meanwhile- I KNOW, being close to the same height- that that is a very healthy weight- especially if you have muscle. Sometimes on threads like that I don’t feel like I can or should post because I would be a wet blanket, or people seem to disagree, or on some threads (not that one in particular) posters can be bullies- and so I don’t bother. My point is that just because people are saying “jump off the bridge!” doesn’t mean that is safe, real, true, or right!
Dear OP, I think if you know your triggers, you should avoid these things. Think about eloping or having something very scaled down. DO not rush yourself with planning, and listen to your therapist if you trust them.
My final point is in regard to this, “I just want this to be a time that I remember as being happy. I wish I could be normal and enjoy ths like everybody else. I have missed out on too much of my life because of this.” Everyone -EVERYone- probably feels like this to some extent. At least I do. Try your best to have realistic expectations of yourself and this time. It is a stressful time for most people.
@hatmanandbobbin: I agree, OP, consider this!