I haven’t really celebrated my birthday for the past few years. One year, I believe I deactivated my Facebook around that time so I wouldn’t have to see all the well wishes. One year, I literally told my mom “Don’t tell me Happy Birthday.” I’m pretty sure this devastated her.
Why all this avoidance? In 2011, about two weeks before my nineteenth birthday, I was diagnosed with major depression. Since then, I have associated my birthday with the diagnosis. Also, my birthday has been an annual marker reminding me that I haven’t been where I have wanted to be in my life (graduated from college, secure in a full-time job, in graduate school, etc.)
This year, I’m fully embracing my birthday. I fully acknowledge that I’m being obnoxious about it, but I’m making up for about five years of not really celebrating. This year, I’m in college, on the road to where I want to be in life, though not quite there yet. My depression and anxiety are relatively under control and I’m working on further expanding my support network.
I’m actually looking forward to the future and what it may bring. Despite being a (nearly) 24-year-old undergraduate student, my experiences have been quite positive, and I have made some new, really good friends. All the worries I had about returning to school and living on my own were pretty much debunked, and I’ve already made even more progress this semester on living a more independent life (I’m also kicking butt and taking names when it comes to school).
So come February 23, I will proudly own the fact that it is the day of my birth and not think back to five years previous when I was first diagnosed; instead, I will think of my present life and all that I have accomplished and all the more I have to look forward to.