What the 'Birthday Blues' Are Like for Someone With Depression
On the eve of my 22nd birthday, I feel a strange surge of emotions. It’s another year I survived with my depression and anxiety. Another year of memories, both painful and full of joy. I sit back and reflect on all I have been through, since the very first day I can consciously remember wanting to be someone else, wanting to harm myself or become nonexistent entirely. As I watch the clock and count the minutes slowly going by, I wonder a great deal.
What will this year bring? Will I be a year older and wiser, or will I stay the same? I don’t want to waste another 365 days lying in bed, crying until I can no longer make a sound, and wanting to disappear.
Will I change my perspective on certain things? Maybe learn to love the parts of myself I once wanted to cut away before? I used to hate my curly hair, but now, it’s not so bad. Maybe I can learn to love more bits and pieces of myself in time. That’s definitely something I’d like to wish for when I blow my candles out tomorrow.
Living with depression often makes me view occasions like birthdays and New Year’s as critical moments in time.
They offer an opportunity to turn over a new leaf, wrap the past up in a box and put it on a shelf way back in the storage of my mind. Thinking of this new year, I am filled with a sense of hope and dread. I fear not being brave enough to expand my comfort zone, find the courage to achieve the things I want or did not even know I needed in my life. I am terrified of not taking on the adult world by storm by completing my Masters in counseling, finding a job to get me by during school and just taking on a whole new set of responsibilities and expectations in general.
I want to be more independent. I want to take more risks. I want there to be excitement and joy and I need it to outweigh the bad this time. Depression is like a dark shadow that follows me through every stage like the Grim Reaper, biding his time until the right moment comes along to seize my soul. When I turned 21, the age gave me many new adventures and experiences, many beneficial but there was also a great deal of pain and despair.
With the unknown ahead of me, I hope to seize this opportunity to take better care of myself, both mentally and physically.
I hope, a year from now, on the eve of my next birthday, I can look back on 22 and actually smile and hope for more of the same.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.
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Unsplash photo via Sofiya Levchenko.