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Why I Choose to Celebrate My Birthday as a Suicide Attempt Survivor

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This year will be my second birthday since my suicide attempt, and although I am extremely grateful and proud of this milestone, it is also a time I find to be very difficult to handle.

I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s just something about the month of January. Apart from the fact it feels like it is one of the longest months of the year, it makes me feel awkward and vulnerable. Which is strange, because I used to love my birthdays. I am not even kidding. I always had to celebrate my birthday and I would’ve started planning my birthday months ahead. Now, sadly the thought of my birthday leaves an awkward taste in my month, accompanied with a deep-rooted sadness that’s just too willing to be my best friend.

The thing is, this time of the year makes me always think about that dark day back in April 2018. Sometimes, it still feels like I’m not supposed to be here. Well, I’m not. It’s been a wild ride, but somehow, I survived so many things: assault, suicide attempts and a totally random seizure. I know there is a reason I’ve survived and made it through it all. And this is what has changed my mindset toward my birthday. Since April 2018, my birthday’s no longer in January. The 30th of January is the day I was brought into this world, but the 17th of April is the day that gave me a completely new life, a second change.

What makes January a special month for me is the fact I can celebrate it with my mom. She just finds a way to make it so special. For instance, she gave me a plant in a smiley-face pot and just said, “This is how I see you now and I know how much you have grown and are still growing.”

Things like this make this awkward birthday so much better. It gives me hope and it also makes me realize this day isn’t just for me. It’s a day for my mom, too. It’s a reminder for her I’ve made it and she still has her baby. And this — this is everything. For this reason alone, I will happily celebrate this day. It’s a day of love. It’s our day.

I can’t be the only one who feels like this, right?

I hate that I have to hide this side of my life from the world, especially my job, because you know, the good old stigma about mental health still finds its way into the workplace. But this is a whole other post on its own.

For now, my message is simple: if you’re still dreading your first birthday after a suicide attempt, I am so proud of you. Celebrate the day for your loved ones and celebrate the day that gave you a second chance. Celebrate the small milestones.

Our journeys may differ, but our emotions are the same, so believe me when I say it will get better and I wholeheartedly believe it will become less awkward.

Until then, cheers to the awkward birthdays and another milestone!

Unsplash image by Caterina Berger

Originally published: January 30, 2020
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