My Birthday Is A Reminder That I’ve Won Against My Mental Illness For Another Year

Happy freaking 23rd birthday to me.

I guess nobody likes me now, huh? (Blink 182 reference)

I have no idea how I made it this far. I remember being so young and thinking my 20’s were a lifetime away. I actually said to my best friend, on my first day of high school “5 years is so long, urgh”. Fast forward to now and I left school 7 years ago, that’s freaking terrifying.

Here I am getting closer to 25, and soon I’ll be 30. I guess I really have to accept that I am an adult now? I’m not sure I am ready to do that, frankly.

To be truthful, I still feel like I am still a 14-year-old and the feeling of time passing, it makes me feel sick, like seasick. I’ve never been good with the who mortality thing.

I’m not a fan of birthdays. I just have seriously bad luck, I don’t think I have ever had a really good birthday. It’s like I’m cursed.

It’s not only that I have a track record of people bailing on me or using my birthday as an excuse to feed their own needs, such as the time I planned a trip to a restaurant at 16, all my friends canceled and the remaining two friends came to say “Hi”, then walked off to go shopping – without me.

Life also seems to create heartache around that annual occasion; such as my dear Grandma passing a week before my 14th, or my mother having a stroke the day before my 15th.

It’s not surprising that I don’t tend to get excited about my birthday anymore.

I’ve had so much bad shit happen on December 7th over the years, so much so that I don’t think I’ve ever had a ‘Happy’ Birthday. But I do want that to change – I’m hopeful.

It’s got to the point that I now forget that it’s my birthday half the time, or maybe that is just denial of my inevitable aging. I have this terrible fear of dying and I feel like time is moving faster than I can possibly go.

As a teenager it felt like a whole year would pass so slowly, I was in no rush. Now, it seems like I blink and that’s 5 years gone. I guess that is why I am so worried about getting my life sorted out now.

I don’t want to have a huge party or gain those special favors, I don’t want a celebration. I don’t want people to make a fuss and I certainly hate the idea of being the center of attention. I like being in the shadows really, it’s what I’m used too.

Even on my wedding day, I tried so hard not to make it about myself.

I’m happy with some cake and cuddles my dog, what else could I need?

But, as bad as it sounds that I am attacking birthdays when I have literally just had mine. This isn’t a sad post, I promise (Que motivational speech). Ahem.

My birthday just has a new meaning to me.

When you grow up depressed and anxious your whole life, you don’t expect to make it this far. I never expected to become an adult. A birthday can become a chore when it’s just a reminder that you have existed for another year, when you really, really, don’t want too.

I swore I’d die by my own hand, by cancer or maybe I’d be murdered. That’s just how my mind likes to keep me on edge. It just seemed like the odds of death were greater than life, and I was not willing to fight said odds.

Surprisingly though, I’m so happy to be able to be here today and write this. I know many birthdays before I have been so annoyed at my existence, but not this time. I am learning to embrace age like the fine ass wine I am.

Each year that passes is only making me more mature and stronger. And honestly, I’m finding a future that I never thought I had.

And then, most of all, I freaking lived. It’s a trophy, a miracle, to make it through one more long year. It is a reminder that I am more resilient than I like to think. I’m going to give myself a big pat on the back!

To think that after my suicide attempt, when I was 18, I could have died. But here I am making little changes of good in the world.

As far as I am concerned, life can come at me because like a cat, I always land on my feet and I’m willing to give it my best shot to make my life something that I and my family can be proud of.

So, one big happy birthday to me and any birthday twins I have, but let me give you this one bit of free advice, let’s get those deep thinking hats on…

Your birthday, your existence, is what you make it.

If you don’t want to celebrate, that is okay. If you’d rather be at home or down the pub, that’s fine. No matter what you do today, make it your own. Don’t pretend like you don’t matter, you deserve to be celebrated because your life is a freaking miracle.

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