birthday angst

Happy Birthday!

Or is it?

As a kid, we count down the months and days until our birthday for nearly six months before. We tell everyone we know our birthday is coming up even if “coming up” is still a month away. For some people, birthdays continue to be a time of excitement, joy, and celebration forever. For others, they can be challenging and sometimes depressing.

I distinctly remember my 20th birthday being very difficult for me. I can’t exactly pinpoint why it was. Perhaps it was the notion of leaving my teens and starting my twenties. I was very sad and melancholy around that birthday. It’s not like my life was depressing. It was the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college. I was dating a great {editor’s note:  amazing, wonderful, and handsome} guy who I would later marry. I had friends, a summer internship and overall life was good, but I struggled with that birthday.

birthay girl
20th Birthday. It was much harder than it looks.

I would have to say since that time the easiest most carefree and upbeat birthday I have had was my 25th birthday. On that birthday I was a week away from my wedding, I was celebrating my bachelorette party and life was great. I may just have been too busy to even focus on my birthday.

Fast forward to present day, and I still struggle with my birthday.

I didn’t even realize this about myself, but my ever observant husband did.

He mentioned that he knows that around my birthday I get moodier and more likely to fall into a funk. He has just gotten used to it and knows to expect it.

Say, what?

He knew this about me, and I didn’t.

He explained it has happened every year we have been married.. Sometimes I’m out of the funk by my birthday, but every year in the days/weeks leading up to my birthday the same thing happens.

birthday girl
36th Birthday. A morning run got me out of the funk for the day.

In fact, the couple of times that I sporadically went to counseling were around my birthday because I was just really in a funk and completely overwhelmed by my emotions. I didn’t know then that I was battling depression and anxiety.

I wasn’t ready to admit to myself that I was depressed, because depression is for people who have a hard life and battle difficult circumstances, right?!?

How could I be depressed?

I have a life enviable by so many others.

Spoiler alert: Depression doesn’t discriminate, and it impacts even those of us who have what others would view as amazing lives.

For me, I think a part of the reason birthdays are so hard for me is that I am so introspective, especially around my birthday. I think a lot of what I’ve done in life, what I want to do and I wonder how much more time I’ll be allowed to stay on this earth.

I struggle with mortality and birthdays seem like a natural time to dwell on that. Not that I want to, it just happens.

I am hopeful this year is different. I now see a counselor regularly, I take medicine to alleviate my anxiety and depression, and I’m thinking ahead to how I want to spend my birthday. I’m going to plan some fun things I want to do the week of my birthday to hopefully keep it upbeat and positive. Plus my birthday falls between our two family vacations so I’m sure the excitement from those should help to alleviate too much introspection.

There is a difference between a funk and a mental health concern that should be addressed.

If you are not sure if you are in a funk or are experiencing depression or anxiety, take a moment to take either or both of these online tests. They will help you determine if you may need additional assistance.

The hardest part is picking up the phone to make the call, but BE BRAVE. You are helping yourself, which in turn helps you be a better mother, partner and friend.

Anxiety screening checklist

Depression screening checklist.

 

How do you celebrate your birthday? I’m always looking for new ideas.

best birthday cake
38 weeks pregnant with Amelia at Cassidy’s birthday party. This was my favorite homemade cake to date.

 

Everyone gets into a funk once and awhile. Let’s help each other out, by sharing some of your ultimate funk fixers.

2 comments on “Birthday Angst”

  1. Love you!!!!
    This was an awesome blog post (even with the extra editor commentary). As for your request for suggestions on how to spend your birthday….I think you need to buy a new slip & slide and play with the girls on it ?.

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