birthday blues

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i’m in the best place i’ve ever been in my life. aside from some work stress, everything in my life is pretty fantastic. i’m engaged to the most loving partner i could have ever imagined, my relationships with my family members are healthier than ever, financially i’m not drowning anymore, and i have such supportive and loving friends – i mean, come on, things are really awesome. despite all these things, my annual birthday month depression has manifested whether i like it or not.

i was pretty impressed last month when my usual holiday-season depression didn’t rear it’s ugly head like normal. i’m usually in such a funk from november through january that i’m basically just existing – living moment to moment. decembers and januarys are always my fuzziest months since i’m just not present. i wonder if the excitement from tony’s proposal whipped that little monster into shape so it decided to stay away for christmas. whatever the reason, i was really glad when the new year came with me still in a great state-of-mind. i felt like i’d conquered my own little mountain.

this month my depression has manifested in a really tame way so i didn’t notice it at first, but it’s been hanging over my head so now i feel it there constantly. i realized it over the weekend when i found myself to be abnormally tired. i joke with people that i’m always sleepy and i could nap on command – granted that it’s true –  but i can always tell when it’s out of the ordinary. since i’ve gotten my versa 2, i’ve been wearing it to bed. i’ve been sleeping at least 7 hours each night (plus several naps a day) but my exhaustion never seems to go away. i’m getting sleepy while driving during my daily commute and can’t seem to go more than an hour without feeling tired again. i can’t even remember the last time i woke up and had an entire day that i didn’t feel drained.

not only that, i’ve been hounding tony a lot more than usual about affirmations. i typically do ask to keep any overthinking at bay, but now i question every little thing i do, following up with a question to tony if he’s mad – which he never is. i’m really lucky he hasn’t gotten tired of telling me “of course i love you! why wouldn’t i?” with me asking so many times a day lately. regardless of all of this, i can’t shake this feeling like something’s wrong or rather not quite right. and i mean this in general, not exclusively in my relationship. since there’s no evidence to support this kind of feeling, i am sure i’m just in a funk yet again.

my therapist always encourages me to say “i’m feeling flat” or “i’m just a little blah today” because she wants me to introduce some normalcy in my life and not give my negative emotions too much power. i always tend to get this way around my birthday because i suffer from hoping people will make a big deal out of it but not wanting to ask anyone to because it feels like i’m selfish or a diva. i’m sure all these feelings stem from not really having my birthday be extra special since five of the six of us in my family have january birthdays. and as a kid i didn’t have friends who made it a momentous occasion, so i’ve always felt pretty unfulfilled.

i always hate admitting this because it feels like a childish thing to get so emotional about so i end up with all these pent up feelings – i feel guilty for wanting more, i feel unloved because i don’t get it without asking, i feel ashamed for even stressing about this so much, and i feel lonely because i can’t talk to anyone about it. i’m sure by bottling all this up it manifests into this wonderful ball of depression that begins with the month in anticipation of my birthday and fades away once the feelings settle by the end of the month.

writing itself is, however, very therapeutic – i’ve actually discovered a lot about myself just writing this out. identifying the cause of feeling bad helps it stay in control – i don’t feel like i’m senselessly broken or that i have no reason which makes a huge difference. when i don’t know what’s wrong that frustrates me and just adds to all the negativity. it’ll be a key point of discussion with my therapist when i see her next, but until then i’m trying to keep myself above water and have to find a way to cope.

i don’t like the idea of mental health days – but i wonder if i just need to take one full day and sleep non-stop until the next. with how overwhelming work has been lately, just the thought of doing that feels tremendously suffocating and i can just imagine all the disasters that will be awaiting me the next day. i’m trying to exercise more again and it seems to be helping, but i’m not doing enough to keep the endorphins pumping long-term. writing this has helped immensely, and perhaps by just admitting this ridiculous reaction i have each year to my birthday i’ll find some sort of peace.

fingers crossed that things ease up a little over the next few days. i’m going shoe shopping with my bridesmaids this weekend as a birthday/wedding event so i’m doing my best to focus on the excitement of that instead of the fear that my birthday will be forgotten or just glazed over. thanks for reading – i’m sure this was a little silly. Xx

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