Sunday, July 11, 2010

'Tis the season....the wedding season, that is.

Yes, 'tis the season for weddings...and, the little-recognized post-nuptial depression. No, psychology is not creating another disorder that psychiatry can medicate and that the average layperson can mock. It's simply a fact of life: most of the big events of our lives are followed by a certain amount of let-down. For example, the college graduate, who is now leaving the academic fishbowl and facing an uncertain future in an even more uncertain economy, will probably feel some sense of loss for the predictability and freedom of their old life, and some anxiety about their new life.

So what is post-nuptial depression? Let's face it, there's a lot of excitement and romance leading up to the wedding. You're the center of attention and people are calling you all the time. There are details to manage, people to manage, and dreams to manifest. Ah, but then it's all over. Everyone goes back to their own lives, and there you are, stuck with reality. Yes, it's time for the letdown after the parade.

Not to mention the buyer's remorse. That prince in shining armor, who floated with you down the aisle and off to a wonderful honeymoon, now starts looking a little less shiny and little more rusty around the edges. That glowing bride, who never wore anything but matching lingerie, is now wearing comfortable underpants. And those changes don't take long to occur. Now that all the wildly flowing oxytocin and serotonin have calmed down, folks start to wonder if they settled.

Or, financial issues kick in: "Wow, we spent all that money, now it's over, and what do we have to do show for it?" "Geez, we coulda spent that money on a downpayment for a house."

Or, there can be the re-emerging depression. Very often there is a depression that predated the marriage, and now, in the not-so-glowing after-glow of the honeymoon and a return to the real world, the old depression is being kicked up, again.

None of this may become apparent right away. It may occur right after the wedding, or it may be delayed 3 or 4 months. In either case, finding someone to help with the problem can go a long way toward creating a more satisfying future. Just a thought.

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