Updated: Jan 3, 2019
Grab a warm drink, a blanket and cuddle up by the fire, because it's story time...
A Wedding Tragedy, Part 1
19 years, 4 months, and 2ish weeks ago, yours truly, with her shoulder length hair, baby fat still in her 20 year old cheeks, and who still lived in her mom and dad's house in her kitty and Elvis Presley-wall-adorned bedroom, was about to make all her teenage dreams come true by getting married! I was young, I was naive, but boy oh boy, I was more than ready! I had picked out the perfect dress (puffy princess bottom but a simple top), I had picked out the perfect wedding venue (fun fact: I also had my wedding reception at Oak Hills Reception Center in Northern Utah!), and I was marrying the perfect man (dark, handsome, smart, and hilarious). I had gone through the fun, yet stressful wedding planning phase... I finally got to see the daisy adorned wedding cake that I had duplicated from the ripped out pages of a wedding magazine... and my wedding story was every bit as I had imagined it to be... it was fun! We had a DJ, all my friends and gobs of family were there dancing, and my new husband and I were having the time of our lives.
Sounds perfect, right?! Well, it would be if those were the only details that I chose to share with you. The details that I'm omitting add up to be a not so perfect wedding experience. For today's story time/blog post, I wanted to share Part 1 (Party 2 to follow in the coming weeks!) of My Wedding Story in hopes that all of you don't make the same mistakes I did. I want you to be able to avoid the disastrous follow-up that I experienced only one day after I got married. And I want to share it all with you because I'm seeing a very common thread amongst many of you that could possibly lead you down the same path I went. Are you all on pins and needles ready to hear my story?!! Ok, ok, here it is...
Everything leading up to my wedding is quite a blur, if I'm being honest. I'm sure I did all the usual wedding prep and I'm sure it was very similar to that of most brides-to-be at the time. You know engagement parties, wedding planning, etc. But the points of interest that pertain to this particular story and that stick out in my mind are as follows: I had a new "adult" job. I was in college heading towards a degree in "who knows what." My mom was very ill (she had a disease called Meniere's Disease). My fiancé worked 'til midnight nearly every night, so I'd sneak out of the house (remember, I'm still living with mom and dad) after his shift and be out all hours of the night on our little "rendezvous" (that's what we called them). I hid the fact that I was dealing with depression and had been since I was in high school (it wasn't really talked about back then... man that makes me sound ancient!). And I was making plans to move out of the house for the first time in my life.
For the sake of time, fast forward past the "I do's", past the bride and groom's first dance, and past partying the night away and it will lead us to the point of my story...
Not one day after my now husband and I were pronounced man and wife, did everything head south. For our honeymoon, we had booked a few nights in a Park City hotel to pass time before we had to leave for our Baja Mexico Cruise. It was there that disaster struck.
It all started when instead of waking up in wonderful married bliss, I woke up with a aches and pains. I didn't think much of it. Then it escalated to pure exhaustion. I was on such a wedding high that I still didn't think much of it. And then it turned into chills and a fever! Ugh! I was in pure denial now that anything was wrong. I casually mentioned it to my hubby, who also didn't really take it seriously, because who wants to believe their sick on their honeymoon? He told me to just take a bath and relax. So I did.
Upon exiting the bathtub, out of pure exhaustion, I stumbled and stubbed my toe, ripping my toenail off. Double ugh! But hey, as throbbing and painful as it was, that was nothing compared to the terrible earache that was now going on in both ears! Alright, denial is over... I felt like crap. It was then that a huge wave of depression immediately fell over me ....
I. was. sick.
And, not only was I sick, but I was sick on my honeymoon :(
Come to find out, I had the flu, a sinus infection, a yeast infection, a bladder infection, an ear infection, a stubbed toe, AND mononucleosis!
I'll spare you the embarrassing details of each and every one of my melt downs while on our honeymoon. Like the embarrassing detail of how I was in tears, rolled up in a ball, grabbing my ears while on the airplane because it felt like knives were being jabbed in them. And like the embarrassing detail of how the moment we stepped onto the cruise ship, my first words to the attendants were a tear-filled "where's the doctor?!!!" And like the embarrassing detail of how I panicked and high tailed it out of a crowd of cute little Mexican kids trying to sell me their Chick-lets because I couldn't breathe, my ears were all clogged up so I couldn't hear a thing, and I felt like that swarm of kids were going to take me down one by one at any moment (I was a little delirious). And like the embarrassing detail.... oh, you get the point. I was a mess. And my poor husband didn't quite know what he'd just gotten himself into. (I'm sure he was thinking, "well, it can only get better from here, right?" Haha! Oh, how I wish those words were true. Sorry, getting sidetracked).
Now if you're saying to yourself, "wow, what a freakishly rare thing to happen," or "dang, sucks to be her. That'll never happen to me," I'm here to let you know, that unfortunately this is an all too common scenario. People getting sick on their wedding day and honeymoon happens more often than we'd all like. (Google getting sick on your wedding... my story seems pretty mild compared to some others).
There's the obvious reasons a person gets sick... you catch it from someone else. And then there's the not so obvious reasons...STRESS.
So right now I want y'all to humor me for a bit. Grab a piece of paper and a pencil and keep track of your points.
If you're currently in school, put a point down.
Put a point down if you're in the middle of finals.
Another point if you're on schedule to graduate soon.
Now mark another point if you're working full time.
Another if you have family drama going on.
A point if you're dealing with delicate or sad situations, i.e. death, sickness of a loved one, mental illness, divorce of someone close, etc.
One more point if you've just started a new job.
A point if you're worrying about money.
Mark another point if you're moving.
And then a point if you're planning a wedding.
Now tally up those points.
If your total is more than 1, then you are at risk for stress related illness'. The higher your number is, the more at risk you are. I had other plans of what I was going to blog about today, but after having met with many brides and grooms recently, all of the stress triggers I just mentioned above are things that I have either heard each of you are dealing with currently or things that I myself was dealing with while I was planning my wedding so I felt the need to write this post instead.
For me, I ignored and pushed away any negativity leading up to my wedding. It obviously metastasized until it had to come out one way or another. And my body just wasn't up to par to deal with all the stresses being thrown my way and it completely gave up on me. I do not want that to happen to you!
So what do you need to do to not be in my same boat? Just get rid of all those stresses, right?!
Oh, if only it were that easy. Of course we can't get rid of our stresses. We're human and we live in a world where things aren't always smooth as butter. But there is a trick. The trick is all in how you handle the stress. I've learned a lot since my cute chubby faced newlywed years. The following is a compilation of everything I've learned from my fitness certifications, my life coaching classes, my therapy sessions (I am a huge advocate of counseling), and just life experience in general. I sincerely hope that something on this list can be of use to you.
Top 5 Ways I Learned to Handle Stress in a Healthy Way
1. Meet Basic Human Needs: Eating, Exercise, Sleep
All three of these things co-exist to make our bodies run at their optimal levels. Healthy eating gives us our bodies the proper fuel to keep moving. And I'm talking about a nutritious balanced diet, not the Don't Eat 'Til the Wedding Diet or other FAD diets. Just one example, refined sugars can cause our metabolism to crash, it can cause depression, sluggishness, irritability and you guessed it, it can cause stress.
Exercising at least 30 minutes a day can be a miracle drug to both prevent and combat stress. It can metabolize the stress hormones in our bodies and restore the mind to a calmer, more relaxed state. Cool right?! I've been toying with the idea of teaching a Bridal Bootcamp, who's in?!
And finally our last human need. If we're dealing with x,y and z from the stress list I mentioned earlier, then more than likely, we're wanting to get a break from it all. But when in the world do we get a release from it with our busy lives?! The answer is so obvious, but people rarely use it to their advantage. Sleep is the answer. A consistent pattern of 7-9 hours of sleep a night is the optimal goal to give your mind and body a break from all stressors. It's the time your body needs to restore and rebuild.
As a Yogi, I'm a huge believer in the power of meditation. If you've never done it before or are a naysayer about it, hear me out. Meditation or a form of it, has been PROVEN to relieve stress, decrease anxiety, improve cardiovascular health, and helps relax the body and mind. Now who doesn't want that? So find a little quiet space, focus on your breath and relax your body with each exhale. Do this for 5-10 minutes any time you're feeling overwhelmed and stressed and then see how you feel afterwards. It takes practice, but I encourage you to give it a go.
3. Let It Out
This concept has required a lifelong journey of learning for me. For whatever reasons, I hold everything in. And then surprise, surprise, it comes out in one shape or form. Sometimes it comes out through tears and other times it comes out through frustration. No matter the way, stresses need to be let out and not kept in. One way to let it out is to keep a stress diary. Write those negative feelings away and get it out onto paper. Another way is to let it out physically. Go for a run, hit a punching bag, or my favorite, go dancing! And then one more way is to talk it out. Go to that non-judgmental friend of yours and just vent. Any way you choose, just LET IT OUT.
4. Take "Me" Time
Don't have time for this one? Well, make it! Even if it's just 5 minutes to read a chapter out of your favorite book. Take some time for yourself every single day. Don't ever lose who you uniquely are. My "Me Time" is almost always a bubble bath at the end of the night. It's my reward to myself for a job well done, or a little TLC after I just successfully survived a stressful day. Figure out what your reward can be and then implement it into your routine, no questions asked. It's like saying to yourself, "I matter and I'm going to do the things that matter to me."
5. Learn to Say "No" and "I Need Help"
Say what? You've got finals next week, 3 Christmas parties that you need to bring a potluck and white elephant gift to, you haven't bought your S.O. the perfect gift yet, your boss just asked you to plan the company holiday party and your wedding is only one month away and you haven't even hired a florist yet? My friends, you've got to be able to honestly know what you can and can't do and be able to either say no, or reach out for help. Period. We can't do it all, nor does anyone around us expect us to. If you're the world's best planner and you've got this, then kudos to you, go get 'em tiger. But if you haven't quite got the non-procrastinating or organizing or not-taking-on-more-than-you-can-handle thing down quite yet, then don't stress yourself out over it. Say no. Or reach out to your loved ones (or me your wedding manager!) and ask for help.
Well, that's all folks. I know this was a bit of a lengthier blog post than what I normally write, but I felt like it was important. I was actually just telling one bride, that I've seen stress come out in the strangest ways. I've seen physical injuries, tempers lost, anxiety, significant weight loss or gain, depression, ulcers, chronic muscle pain or migraines, and of course (I'm taking a bow right now) illness'.
I sincerely want the best for you! And as always, I want your wedding day to be the best it possibly can be. So take care of yourselves!