Depressed about upcoming birthday

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deepbreaths

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Depressed about upcoming birthday
« on: March 22, 2021, 05:58:56 AM »
My birthday is coming up this week, and I'm finding myself quite down and anxious about it. My birthdays are always a big trigger for me, a reminder of the ways in which I was never anyone's priority in my FOO. It didn't help that my B and I are twins, so birthdays didn't do anything to change the dynamic between us of always having to compete for M's limited attention. I think it's affecting me a little extra this year since I have been working with my T on processing M's neglect.

I think it also stresses me out to have people wish me a happy birthday? Something about the obliviousness with which people assume I must be excited about it rubs salt in old wounds of having to hide the pain of my abuse/neglect and put on a pleasant face in public or at school.

I would like to find a new way to claim this day, but have so many negative associations with traditions like birthday cake (if I wanted one, I had to make it myself). Has anyone on here found non-traditional fun ways to celebrate or even just practice self-care around birthdays?

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rainydiary

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Re: Depressed about upcoming birthday
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2021, 12:12:41 PM »
Deepbreaths, your post resonates with me.  I feel this way around my birthday and a majority of holidays too.  I have always resisted and avoided ďcelebratingĒ because these types of days bring up memories of feeling not good enough, not special, not worth it, broken.

Near Christmas this past December, I started doing yoga on holidays.  For me personally yoga is currently the only thing that consistently feels supportive on any given day. 

At the start of this year I also made a list of all holidays that come up.  I included some days that arenít necessarily holidays but hold significance (like the winter/summer solstice).  For these days, I searched for ways to celebrate on the internet around a month before the day. Most holidays will come up with lists of things.  I choose one that I would feel up to doing and that would feel celebratory to me even if it is not traditional.

I havenít faced my birthday yet since doing these things so am curious how it will feel this year.  Related to birthdays, I think about how I feel on my birthday (unacknowledged, alone, unworthy) and what I would like to feel.  I decided this year to make a list of family members that I will send cards on their birthdays.  This has felt complicated because I havenít done this in the past and I worry the people Iíve sent cards to so far are questioning what I am doing.  But I am trying to put out in the world how I would I want to feel and acknowledge others. 

I appreciate you bringing this topic up.  I hope that your birthday enters and exits with ease. 

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woodsgnome

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Re: Depressed about upcoming birthday
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2021, 02:54:36 PM »
Deepbreath, I'm also troubled by these occasions. My only lasting success has been to ignore them. This may now be easier as I'm physically distant from others who would insist on ruining my tranquility. I just ignored cards (success -- haven't gotten any in years), but this year got an awful phone reminder I wasn't prepared for from a sibling I thought had gotten the message.

Wrong. They found me (at least it wasn't in person and was only one individual) and I've been in huge EU (Emotional Upheaval) for a month past the date. Their reappeance was stalking someone they knew didn't want them. Only now am I finding space around my heart for this intrusion.

That said, I have no magic answers, beyond staying firm with your boundaries in some fashion; from lack of enthusiasm to ignoring sentiments to more radical steps such as changing phone number or something (nothing's foolproof as I found out).

It is truly crummy that those who expressed obvious or hidden disdain -- not to mention the worst abuse -- in the past can be so insistent (or plain ignorant or just mean) even as one exits the picture.

If I want to 'celebrate' it's to count my good fortune in having gotten away. Nothing big, but just to feel okay about myself for trying to set boundaries. And to push it beyond okay, I'm a huge music buff and can form my own celebration.

Sorry I don't have any superb ideas, but I do have this one and, if alright, offer it here --  :hug: Not in observance of any special day, but for being a feeling human who is trying their best to overcome what once tore their life apart.

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deepbreaths

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Re: Depressed about upcoming birthday
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2021, 04:53:38 PM »
Thank you rainydiary and woodsgnome, it's always helpful for the reminder that I'm not alone in having these feelings and that they are a reasonable reaction to my experiences.

I had a relaxed birthday and spent some time with friends in ways that I normally would, although a friend insisted on going out for ice cream, which was acceptable as I don't ever need an excuse for that. Had a chat with my B and confided in general terms how I was feeling (I left out any resentment about having to compete with him for attention), and was surprised to find that he didn't share my experience. Upon reflection, I think most of the complaints I had about our birthday don't apply to him; it was disappointing to not be able to get that sense of camaraderie with him, but at least I can get it here.

I haven't gotten around to sending "thank you"s to everyone who sent me messages, but gracefully it was a small group of mostly extended family. I wasn't excited to get those messages, but also none of them came from people that I would expect or even want to be privy to how I'm feeling. The one exception was that M didn't even try to message or call me despite not knowing that I didn't want to celebrate this year (we are in regular contact, so it would be expected for her to call me). Which somehow is also bad? Like she couldn't be bothered. Ugh.

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Kizzie

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Re: Depressed about upcoming birthday
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2021, 05:18:24 PM »
Quote
The one exception was that M didn't even try to message or call me despite not knowing that I didn't want to celebrate this year (we are in regular contact, so it would be expected for her to call me). Which somehow is also bad? Like she couldn't be bothered. Ugh.

So sorry she didn't get in touch DB, I'm sure that hurts. Ugh is right - how much effort would it have taken to call or text?   

Sending a belated  :hug:   for "You Day", sounds like despite the fam stuff, it was a relaxed day with ice cream as a lovely bonus.  :thumbup: