How to deal with being an OCD bride
21 Jan 2021
Bride-to-be Ashleigh Tuttle offers advice to those other brides (and grooms) to-be planning the perfect wedding
Main picture: Getty
Disclaimer: This is very much my own experience. Other brides/grooms etc may have experienced different triggers and dealt with them differently.
Often when we think of brides planning their weddings, we think of the countless hours writing out invitations, conjuring up a seating plan, or finding the exact colours that match perfectly. Often these women (or indeed men) are called bridezillas.
Bridezilla; a woman whose behaviour in planning the details of her wedding is regarded as obsessive or intolerably demanding.
Ashleigh attending a wedding fair in 2020
I have been referred to as a bridezilla, and have also called myself one. When attending a wedding fair last March, I had the option to choose between ‘bridezilla’ or ‘bridechilla’. For me, there was no contest. But also for me, it goes a little further than that.
Ever since I was young, I’ve been a worrier. Constantly fretting about getting lost, or on worse occasions having intrusive thoughts that something terrible would happen to my family and I had to be there to stop it.
This continued into university, when I met my fiancé John. I hated him going on nights out in the beginning, simply because I was terrified he would get hurt in some way. I imagined all sorts of scenarios and I needed to be there to protect him.
After time those thoughts subsided, and new ones took their place. It wasn’t until six months ago that I decided I needed to do something about it.
The day John proposed was absolutely the best day of my life. If I could do it again, I would in a heartbeat. However now the thoughts include a variety of different genres:
What if something goes wrong at the wedding?
What if you don’t invite someone and they hate you forever?
And the most pressing one: What if you don’t deserve to get married?
The last one is the most frequent and difficult to deal with. Ever since I was little, I dreamed of the perfect wedding, with the perfect guy, with the perfect dress etc (you get the gist) and I feel so unbelievably lucky to have that. But I have this little niggling voice inside my head that says I’m not good enough for it, and that I don’t deserve this happy ending, which is awful.
This I’ve found is a confidence issue which, although I’m quite bubbly and try to put myself out there as much as possible, is a big part of the problem. The second part which I’m just coming to terms with, is it’s a form of my OCD.
In my experience, OCD basically attacks the tiniest weakness you may have, and as soon as you start to believe the intrusive thoughts, it feeds on them and makes them seem that much more believable.
Ashleigh's bride squad are always there to talk to
So, my way of combatting this is to try and focus on organising the perfect wedding, and if everything’s perfect maybe that will make it better right? I’ll talk about the wedding for hours, going over such minute details. I am the type of bride to message bridesmaids again and again with different ideas, and bombard my mum’s Facebook with pictures from Pinterest. I’ve found sometimes this helps, but not always. The extraordinary amount of pressure I’m putting on myself actually makes it worse. And don’t even get me started on how Covid-19 has impacted these thoughts.
What really helps, is talking to my fiancé and my bridal party about how I feel, and letting them know when it gets too much. They are my biggest support system, and after all, isn’t the most important part of the wedding to marry the love of your life? And to feel like they will stand with you through thick and thin?
The group chat
John does that for me, and I know I would do the exact same for him. That’s why I’m marrying him. I am getting help alongside my amazing fiancé, friends and family now, but really the best thing I can implore you to do if you’re going through something similar to me is to talk.
And I don’t know who needs to hear this, but always, always remember you are good enough. Your fiancé/fiancée loves you for who you are, and that’s all you need. You are perfect just the way you are.