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HangOnSloth

Depression Flare-Up On/after Honeymoon

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Hello DF,

It's been a while since my last post. Some quick background: last summer I had a significant depressive episode that resulted in me going to a partial hospitalization program and taking 7 weeks off work for treatment/recovery. That's when I found these forums (among other things). Things improved last fall, thankfully. I'm on meds and have been in therapy for over 8 years. I guess one would say I am relatively "stable."

This past 6 months has been a real whirlwind for me. I finally married my longtime boyfriend in April 2013. We had been engaged for almost 3 years, but planned the whole wedding in 10 weeks when the opportunity window presented itself. After that, we took a three week honeymoon in Europe.

Ever since we left for the trip, I've been struggling with a depression flare-up. At first I tried to write it off due to hormones, stress, etc. However, it's not really going away. We returned to the country on Saturday and my depression on the last day of our trip and the day of our flights home was spiking. Yesterday was a little better. But today I woke up feeling hopeless, scared, overwhelmed, anxious, a little out-of-body, tearful -- all my classic symptoms. I was slated to start work today. I had to cancel my first few clients and I may end up canceling the afternoon ones too.

I guess maybe I'm afraid that our marriage isn't right, or won't last? Is this just the depression talking, trying to rob me of the newlywed joy?

Big transitions usually set me off so I guess it's normal to expect a big life event like marriage to prompt some symptoms.

Has anyone else experienced this? I was warned by a few friends and acquaintances that "the post-wedding blues" are normal. I thought that would apply more to people who were really invested in wedding planning and the event itself, which I wasn't. Is this how most people feel 5 weeks after marriage, or is this the start of another depressive black hole?

Thanks for listening/reading,

Ashley

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Big transitions usually set me off so I guess it's normal to expect a big life event like marriage to prompt some symptoms.

Hi Ashley,

I think you hit it right on the head. I'd try not to read too much into the depression other than the fact that was triggered and it's here.

I was married 20 years ago (still married) and I had the exact same thing. I had spent the last 12 months helping to plan a wedding and honeymoon. It was like a full-time job.

Nearing the wedding I knew how to be a fiance and a groom and excelled at the things that a fiance and grooms does. After the wedding, I was no longer a fiance or a groom. I was a married man. What was that? How do I do that? No more crushing deadlines, no caterers, no seating charts, no relatives to manage, no hotel reservations to make, no flights to book. Just some thank-you cards to write and the rest of our life together. I felt all the pressure and fully inadequate to deal with it.

What helped me was embarking on some new (and smaller) projects with my wife. That way we could connect by doing something together. Also, talking to other married friends. Most of them went through something similar. I don't think it triggered a depressive episode in most of them but the basic experience was the same.

People say that being together after you're married is no different than before you're married. I found that to be totally untrue. Everything felt different. Yes, it is just a piece of paper. A $100 bill is just a piece of paper too!

It's a piece of paper that means so much!

Try to relax if you can and know that what you're going through is normal.

Be Well

AM

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I think it's very normal to get depressed after/around big life events. Big transitions are scary. I think it is also partly due to the high expectations connected to a big, positive life event. It's like New Years parties, who always have to be "the party of the year" and therefor end up sucking because impossible expectations aren't met.

Also, I know I get depressed from being away from home for too long. While vacations are great, being out of my normal environment makes me more vulnerable to anxiety and depression. I imagine that's normal for people who suffer from these diseases. Maybe that was also the case for you on your honeymoon?

Either way, it is not an indication that you don't love your husband enough! Try to avoid making the wedding too big a deal in your head. You are your husband are still the same people as you where before the wedding. Your relationship and love is still the same. And should it turn out it's not, that's what divorces are for ;-)

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I was married 20 years ago (still married) and I had the exact same thing. I had spent the last 12 months helping to plan a wedding and honeymoon. It was like a full-time job.

Hi AM,

Thanks for posting. It's reassuring to hear that you experienced the same thing. It's also nice to hear this from a man's point of view. One of the things I hated about being a bride was all of the "women do this" or "women feel this way" messages I encountered from the wedding industry. I have a pretty postmodern relationship with the hubs and a lot of those messages rubbed us both the wrong way. It's nice for me to hear from another groom who was very involved in the planning and who also experienced the post-wedding blues. I hate to admit it but it helps take this feeling out of the category of "women problems" and put it back in the camp of transition/depression problems. I really appreciate your post and your advice. Congratulations on two decades of marriage! :bow:

Best,

Ashley

P.S. I love your line about "just a piece of paper" -- I'm totally going to use that one!

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Ashley,

Believe it or not, you've got your head on straight!

My wife got lots of those "wedding industry" messages. We both hated them! Being a man, I got very few "husbands do this" messages so I just had to figure out the kind of husband I wanted to be. But that turns out to be a pretty cool thing. It's YOUR marriage and YOU TWO get to make all of the rules! So do whatever works for you two and take "advice" with the proverbial grain of salt.

The only qualification a person needs to give advice is that someone else asks them for it. Lots of folks don't even wait to be asked! So just remember that your relationship with your husband belongs to you and your husband. It won't be exactly like anyone else's relationship. A therapist friend of mine helped me through a rough patch many years ago. When my wife and I got through to the other side my friend told me, "Congratulations you are now uniquely UN-qualified to help anyone else with their relationship!"

Just be kind to each other and take care of each other. You'll do fine!

All the best,

AM

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Well, I went back to work this morning and it was not as bad as I feared. Still some depression thoughts and low energy, but I was able to get through. Actually a few of my married co-workers made comments along the lines of, "oh god, you must be so bummed to be back at work." Also one person said, unprovoked, that she had "gotten the blues" after her wedding and honeymoon were over. I guess you are all right -- it really is a common, *normal* feeling at this point in life.

In unrelated but crummy news, my old '98 Altima broke down today and I think this repair is the last straw. $300 is a car payment, and I've been making repairs of that cost or higher on an almost monthly basis for a while now. As if I had the energy to deal with going to the mechanic, rescheduling my work, renting a car while I buy the new one...plus now I'm stressing about making car payments for the next 5 years. This was not the project I was hoping for!! Super stressful. Ugh.

Thanks for listening,

Ashley

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Glad that work wasn't as bad as you feared!

Sorry about your car :( Unfortunately those darn things wear out. I guess it's better to spend money for a car payment than fixing an old car that, once out of the shop, is still an old car! And now you've got your husband to help out!

Warning: Unsolicited Advice!

I know that buying a car is a pain. Every time I've bought a car, I spend some quality time on the Edmunds website thinking about my next car. I find out how much the dealer paid for the car I want and offer the dealer 3% over that. I go at the end of the month and tell the salesperson that they won't make a lot off of me but the offer is fair and it will be a quick sale for them to put on the sales board. They always hem & haw, but eventually they take the deal.

Be Well,

AM

Edited by Another Me

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