Birthday depression is a big issue and it’s more severe because many people do not even know it exists. Or scratch that, it actually does exist but many people simply would not call it a form of depression. I didn’t think it was a form of depression till, of late, when an acquaintance narrated her experience and it occurred to me that it felt familiar.
Birthday Depression is that feeling of sadness that overwhelms you when it’s about time for your birthday or just after your birthday. I cannot say it happens to everyone because I haven’t conducted a poll on this before but I do can say it happens to quite a number of people.
Birthday depression usually comes as a result of having a terribly sad feeling of unachieved goals and dreams that have not come through. Many people have milestones they want to achieve at a certain age and strive to work towards it. So when the achievement doesn’t come through as planned for, it becomes hard to bear. There is, a lot of times, the feeling of failure that comes with remembering that you’re a year older but not a year bigger.
Asides the feeling of not being able to have achieved your set goals for a particular age, there is also the fear of not getting to where you aspire to get to. Some people want to have gotten to certain places in their lives or their careers at a particular age and as the birthdays pass, the fear and uncertainty of having those things come to pass begin to stare them in the face.
In a couple of months, I am going to be a year older. And while I would have been all excited a few years ago about a coming birthday, I am pretty much far from excited this time around. Oh, of course, I am going to be grateful about another year added in life and good health. But there are goals that I have, dreams that I have dreamed and staying on my present age affords me the superficial excitement that I still have on my side. With another birthday, I am reminded that I am older and time, even if it’s on my side, is running fast against me.
Well, how do I expect to overcome birthday depression?
By first realizing that birthdays are a gift to celebrate because life is worth celebrating. Only a living person can really bother about goals and responsibilities and achievements. I may not be where I would like to be or where I have planned to be but I am sure grateful for how far I have come and nonetheless optimistic about where I am going. You know, hope really never fails.
Secondly, you must also endeavour to focus on the other good things that you possess. As one grows older, it is easier to forget the things that God has done and focus on the things that we do not have yet. When we focus on things that have not happened yet, we let our sight off the big blessings that have already happened. “Count your blessings and you will see what the Lord has done” remains an ever-relatable hymn. You may want to take a notepad and jot down things that you are grateful for having. Or you may want to take some personal life to help you think deeply; whatever will make you think of the positive things.
Third, you must understand that your achievements don’t define you. You define your achievements. You give life to your goals. You decide whether or not the failure to achieve something gets to you and affects you. I am learning that whether or not I do well in a particular area of my life, I will do well as a whole, regardless. I define my goals. They don’t define me. And so when they don’t come to pass [yet], I can still deal with them.
I believe birthday depression can be overcome. I am trying to overcome it too and I know I’d have overcome it by my next birthday.
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