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Dealing with the Birthday Blues: How to Cope When You Don't Feel Like Celebrating

Last Friday, my birthday rolled around again. My son was the first to wish me a happy birthday that morning. We met in the bathroom after waking up, and he gave me a huge hug, with an enthusiastic 'Happy birthday, mommy!' I smiled, hugged him, thanked him, and sent him on his way to get dressed for school. 'Oh, right- it's my birthday,' I thought. Not really different from any other day, I went about my business as usual, and got ready for work, dropped the kiddo off at school, and headed to the office.

I felt distracted as I tried to work. Unable to accomplish much of anything or cross any tasks off of my to-do list. I couldn't stop thinking about turning another year older, inching closer to 40. How could possibly already be turning 36? While to some, that might seem young, it makes me ever more aware that my body is going downhill, and scares me as to what might lie in the years ahead from a health standpoint.

It's a beautiful life we live.

As someone who suffers from anxiety, my family's medical history often keeps me awake at night- worrying about whether or not I'll wind up with breast cancer like my mom did, a different women's cancer, heart disease, or other cancers, like all of my grandparents. I try to take good care of myself, but I need to try harder. I have a laundry list of things I need to see a doctor about, and just don't want to go, because I don't want to face the possibility of another surgery, having to be out of commission, especially during a time where my husband is trying to make some career moves and needs me to be fully able to care for our kids so he can be free to pursue  next steps.

It's amazing what anxiety can do to a person, and I remember being much happier when I took regular medication to balance myself back out. Yet, for some reason, I resist self-medicating. I want to be able to get out of the rut on my own, and just can't seem to do it. I've always felt myself to be outgoing, and the older I get, the more anxious I become, and the more anxious I become, the more I close myself off.

On Friday night, we had plans to go to my mom and dad's house for dinner and cake- to celebrate my birthday. I usually love celebrating my birthday with my family, and this year, I just wanted to crawl into bed, instead. A great way to beat the blues when you just aren't feeling celebratory or festive is to surround yourself with people who love you- family, friends, co-workers. Just be with them and let them love on you. Going to my mom and dad's helped me to get out of the funk I was in all day long... the funk I was in despite the many texts, messages, and gifts I received from people who care about me. We ate, drank (a little), and oh yeah, I got to open my gifts and cards, which were so appreciated and wonderful.

The next day, I felt a lot better. 36 is a number- one that I am so blessed to have reached. Since my teens, I have had an irrational fear of dying young, so while each new day raises my anxiety a bit, I also know that each new day is a blessing and another chance to actually live my life. I spent a quiet Saturday with the kids while hubby taught his new Saturday class, and when he came home, he surprised me with a gorgeous new handbag. We spent the rest of the day playing, baking, building LEGOs, cuddling, watching movies. It was the perfect way to wrap up my birthday- yet again spending time with people I love.

Ways to Combat the Birthday Blues

I'm more than certain that I'm not the only one who gets the blues around their birthday. Even if it feels like an ordinary day, here are a few things that you can do to make it much more joyful:

Celebrate Yourself!
Yes- you! You deserve it! Do something special or nice for yourself. Go out and grab yourself a coffee, pamper yourself with a new haircut, manicure or massage. You might even go shopping to buy that thing you've been eyeing.

Plan a Get-Together
No one planned a party in your honor? So what!? Your life is busy, and so are the lives of the folks who are in it. Ask a few friends and/or family members to meet you for drinks to 'toast the birthday girl (or boy)' at a predetermined place/time. No pressure, come as you are, no gifts- just conversation and fun.

Call or Honor Your Loved Ones
I tend to become sad on my birthday because my Grandmother died two years ago, and I no longer receive her very special birthday calls, which always included her singing 'Happy birthday.' So, I like to look through pictures of her on my birthday and give thanks for all of the wonderful memories and the time I did have with her. I also always try to remember to thank the two people who gave me life and raised me to be the woman I am today.

If you're feeling lonely on your birthday, turn it around, and make the day about helping others. Your birthday is the perfect time to volunteer your time at a local shelter, local school, or another organization in your community.

I wish I hadn't spent my birthday feeling so down in the dumps. My life is beautiful- it holds value, and yours does, too. Sometimes I feel like I am such a mess, but I am constantly reminded that God doesn't mind getting right into the middle of the mess, even sitting in the mess with me while He helps me sort things out. He makes beautiful things- out of the dust, and out of us. Count each year you're given, each new day as a tremendous opportunity... to love someone, to care for others, to be a light in this overwhelmingly dark and confusing world.

You are beautiful. You are loved. Your life has a purpose.
Friend, if I can pray for you, encourage you, or simply lend an ear, send me an email: themommyblog83@gmail.com

We're in this together.

1 comment

  1. My birthday was last week and I definitely was feeling less than celebratory, lol. Last February, I had an infection that went septic, I spent February unconscious, March hospitalized-- two months in a hospital bed. I was so weak I couldn't move. Since then, I've been in a nursing/physical therapy facility learning to walk again. But I can walk about 22 feet now...so, hopefully I'll be home soon. I keep telling myself next year will be better.


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