This is a personal piece. Please be aware that content may be triggering.
As my birthday draws closer, I begin to feel the familiar dread that accompanies this time of year. It has plagued me for a long time now and while, yes, my birthday can be an enjoyable day, it also holds other significance in my life. My birthday marks another year passing and this is something that troubled me.
So why should another year passing be such a big deal? It might not sound like a big deal if you’re not struggling with being alive but for me, someone who is regularly suicidal, it feels like the ultimate failure. “Ridiculous” I hear you cry, “It’s an achievement you are still alive” well not to me. If I had my way I would not be celebrating this milestone. This year is especially tough as I have attempted several times to try and end my life but to no avail. It feels like the biggest failure.
Being alive for another birthday feels like the ultimate failure when you were so sure you would be dead by a certain age. Every year you surpass that age doesn’t feel like an achievement but another reason why you shouldn’t be alive.
Then the guilt sets in as you know there are people out there who are desperate to live longer or who have died at a young age. And all you want to do is swap with them. To give them the time you still have. To finish your time on earth as quickly as possible. You feel selfish at thinking like this but the pain inside is just too much to bear. Birthdays are a reminder of this.
Another reason having a birthday is so difficult to me is that it marks time passing and I feel I am stuck in the same situation I was last birthday. No one is to blame for this but me, but still it feels awful knowing that as I head closer to thirty I am still stuck in a very child like state, reliant on others for so much. I feel like a burden. And the worst part is I don’t know if it will change by next birthday.
There is also the fact that people expect you to be happy on your birthday. The problem is mental illnesses don’t take days off. The chances are I will feel just as bad in my birthday. I can’t change that. Of course I want to enjoy the day and be happy. That’s what I want every day but it may not happen with the pressures of other thoughts. But I don’t want to spoil the day for others so will put a mask on. This makes everything harder and more tiring.
This is why I dread my birthday. It’s nothing personal against anyone. It’s just a difficult day. I will do my best to try and make it a good day using some of the tips I wrote about here. If you struggle with your birthday or have any tips to cope feel free to share in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter.