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Health & Spirit

Mystery anxiety over brother's wedding

Carolyn Hax on

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My older brother and only sibling is getting married in 15 days, and I'm getting more and more anxious the closer it gets. I can't seem to find a concrete reason for my nerves. I've known my soon to be sister-in-law since I was 14 (I'm 24 now). I'm not a bridesmaid, but am doing a reading for the ceremony. Our respective families get along. I have my dress, shoes, flights and everything set for it. It's the first major wedding on our parents' sides in more than 20 years, so I think I would be excited. Do you have any suggestions?

-- Nerves

Dress, shoes, flights, even liking the bride -- you need to think deeper than that.

Milestones, whether they're ours or somebody else's, can jog loose some feelings we didn't know were there or just haven't wanted to face. Day-to-day life can be ... I won't say numbing, but it can lull you into a state where you use your consciousness mostly for minor, "What's next?" decisions, like what to wear or have for lunch or watch on TV. Especially if you're not entirely mindful of or happy with the routine you're in, a milestone can be the loud knock on the door you weren't expecting.

Can't say that's the case with you, but it's worth considering as the source of your mystery anxiety, if only to rule it out.

I assume you would have said something if public speaking unnerved you, but it is a common source of existential dread.

Re: Sibling's Wedding:

My oldest brother is a decade older than I am. I cried at his wedding, I cried when he announced his impending first child. It was a combination of realizing everything in our family dynamic was about to change irrevocably. Even though he'd been with his now-wife for a while, they were becoming a separate family that would take priority. It took some time to process.

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