Moms and Maids

Sister with Anxiety/Depression

My sister suffers from anxiety and depression. It can get so bad that she will not leave the house for days. She does not live in the same state as I do and would have to fly in for the wedding. I would love to have her be my made of honor. But with the stress of travel and being around so many people (she's often set off by large crowds), it's impossible to predict how she will feel that day.

I want her to be part of my wedding, and not feel that I'm don't want to have her be in my bridal party because of her anxiety/depression. I would love to have her there, but fear that if she does accept it and thinks she could handle it, she would have an episode the day of and not be able to do it. I've heard of heard of having people give readings at weddings to make sure their a part of it, but I'm not sure if it would offend her to offer her that instead of asking her to be a bridesmaid.

Has anyone else had to deal with this sort of situation? Thanks!

Re: Sister with Anxiety/Depression

  • My sister is very similar - she suffers from bipolar disorder. Sometimes, at family gatherings, she becomes overwhelmed, and it usually doesn't end well for anyone. This has included weddings and funerals, as the more emotional the event the harder it can be on her.

    She and I had an honest discussion - we aren't that close, but I wanted to make sure a) she didn't feel left out but b) if she wanted to be more involved than being just a regular guest, that we could find a role with which she would be comfortable. She told me frankly that she didn't want to be a BM - too much attention on her for too long of a period of time. She was, however, really excited about the idea of doing a reading. On our wedding day, she was really emotional, but she said that knowing her reading was coming up helped her keep from losing it entirely during the ceremony.

    If you're close enough to your sister to want her to be your MOH, you should be able to have this kind of conversation with her. Offering her a say, and phrasing it as a question, is my suggestion for you: "FI and I have been working on wedding plans, and I wanted to see what role, if any, you'd like to have on our wedding day?" See what she says. 

    As for your fear that she may not be able to handle the stress day-of, that's a risk you're just going to have to take - please don't leave her out (unless it's by her own choice) just because you're afraid of what might happen.
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  • That's a very understandable concern. Your sister is important to you and you want to do what's best for both of you. If it were me, I think I would have a serious conversation with my sister and ask her how she felt about being the MOH. Perhaps, your sister is different, but most people I know with anxiety or depression are aware they have a problem. If she thinks she's up to it than go for it! Worst case situation, she doesn't show and you have another bridesmaid(s) fill complete her duties. If she's too afraid of letting you down or thinks it will be too stressful then you can try and find another role that will be less likely to set off her social/performance/whatever kind of anxiety she has. I really wish I could give more concrete suggestions, but each kind of anxiety has its own challenges so its hard to know what would be best. Being a bridesmaid could be alright since it would be less noticeable if she did not show so it is an option, but if she feels up to being the MOH than do that. Don't make her feel like you expect her to mess up, see how she feels. If she is your MOH and a depressive episode beings less than a week before your wedding you may want to keep an eye on her and make Plan B. Do not initiate Plan B though unless you have an emergency the day of your wedding. I hope that was at least a little bit helpful. I really hope things work out for you! Good luck :)
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    scribe95 said:
    Ask her to be part of your bridesmaids and leave the anxiety issues out of it. If it doesn't work out that's fine but you don't want to penalize her for something that MIGHT happen.
    So much this.  

    Talking to her about her anxiety and how it may make it difficult for her to be MOH may just make matters worse.

  • peachy13peachy13 in my cubicle, doing very important work member
    Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    One of my sisters sounds a lot like yours. I didn't think twice about asking her to be my bridesmaid and she accepted with glee. She's actually surprising me with how excited she gets when we talk about my wedding and it makes us both really happy and connected. 
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers


  • That's a very understandable concern. Your sister is important to you and you want to do what's best for both of you. If it were me, I think I would have a serious conversation with my sister and ask her how she felt about being the MOH. Perhaps, your sister is different, but most people I know with anxiety or depression are aware they have a problem. If she thinks she's up to it than go for it! Worst case situation, she doesn't show and you have another bridesmaid(s) fill complete her duties. If she's too afraid of letting you down or thinks it will be too stressful then you can try and find another role that will be less likely to set off her social/performance/whatever kind of anxiety she has. I really wish I could give more concrete suggestions, but each kind of anxiety has its own challenges so its hard to know what would be best. Being a bridesmaid could be alright since it would be less noticeable if she did not show so it is an option, but if she feels up to being the MOH than do that. Don't make her feel like you expect her to mess up, see how she feels. If she is your MOH and a depressive episode beings less than a week before your wedding you may want to keep an eye on her and make Plan B. Do not initiate Plan B though unless you have an emergency the day of your wedding. I hope that was at least a little bit helpful. I really hope things work out for you! Good luck :)
    MOH "duties" are no different than bridesmaid "duties" except maybe signing a piece of paper or holding a bouquet.  And you don't need a Plan B.  If your sister can't get on the plane to get to your wedding, can't walk down the aisle once she's in the dress, or can't stand up at the front of the church, you don't need a contingency plan.  A different bridesmaid can hold your bouquet, and if she's there your sister can still sign the marriage certificate.

    If your sister shows up and decides at the last minute that she can't do "MOH duties" then just let her sit in the pews with the rest of the guests.  She's still your MOH.  She's just too anxious or shy or her knees hurt or whatever you want to tell people about her not being able to stand up near you (the center of attention.)
  • Honestly, asking her to be a reader rather than MOH doesn't make sense if she's got anxiety and depression.

    If she's your MOH & on your wedding day isn't feeling up to standing next to you, she sits.

    If she's your reader and on your wedding day isn't feeling up to doing it (which is more likely because then she actually has to *perform* in front of people, you're short one reader and a piece of your ceremony is missing.
    You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. ~Mae West
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