Yesterday was my birthday and I am now 26. Another year older and I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel about it. I know birthdays are suppose be a special occasion but for me, sometimes it can be a difficult time.
Some people may find it hard to understand why birthdays can be hard for someone like me. Okay so I don’t want to be a party crasher or anything but living with a mental illness kind of changes everything. Let me explain and don’t worry, this post won’t be all depressing as it has a happy ending!
Growing up as a kid, I always look forward to my birthdays because it’s a special time. You’ve got your family and friends celebrating your birthday with you and they give you birthday cards and presents. I remember in primary school, my mum would always bake cupcakes for my birthday every year and I’d always bring them to school so I can share them with my class. Even my Year 5 teacher took a photo of me and my class holding the cupcakes and it was in the yearbook which was a big surprise for me as I wasn’t expecting it.
I also remember my family organising my birthday parties every year inviting some of my primary school friends. There was one year that I had my party at this awesome place for little kids and I think some of you guys know this place I’m talking about. The name of the place was Kids Sport (or was it spelt as Kids Spot?). I don’t know if they still have it or not but they had these awesome games for us to play which was fun and they provided our own room for us with food and drinks. Even though I did have a difficult childhood, surprisingly my birthdays would make me happy.
But then when the high school years came, it’s was a different story. After finding out that I had finally been diagnosed with depression, pretty much my depression took over my life and that made my birthdays hard to celebrate. Getting bullied by other students, failing at school, life at home was tough, going through many losses and being in and out of hospitals for my safety, it was tough. I won’t go into detail as I have already talked about it in that inspiration dark story.
There were birthdays where I didn’t feel like celebrating because I felt like I wasn’t that important and that I didn’t really matter to anyone. You know how you’re supposed to feel “special” on your birthdays? Well, I didn’t really feel special. People didn’t understand why I was feeling like that but it was my depression that was making me feel like that and of course, I was a teenager back then and we all know how hard that can be.
Even though I didn’t feel like celebrating, I still did anyway by going out to dinner with family and partying with friends on the weekends. I guess over the years when I was in school, things did improve. That was when I finally graduated from high school which was a massive achievement because I was that close to dropping out of school several times. That was also the year I just turned 18. I didn’t have a massive party but only a small party with my close school friends. I also celebrated my birthday by going out to dinner at my favourite restaurant with my family and relatives.
Nine days after my 18th birthday, I found out that my grandma passed away and that broke my heart into a million pieces. At that time, I knew my grandma’s health wasn’t getting any better but I wasn’t expecting her to leave so suddenly. The last time we went out as a family was actually at my 18th birthday dinner believe it or not and that will be cherished with me forever.
Life after school wasn’t that great. Still struggling with my grandma’s death and among other things, I was at the lowest of the lowest point in my life when I tried to kill myself on the 22nd July 2008 (which I won’t explain what happened again as you guys already know).
At that point, being in hospital made me realise that I couldn’t keep living like this and that I needed professional help. Thankfully I was able to get the support I needed but recovering from my suicide attempt was a very difficult and confusing time for me. I was doing a lot of soul searching because I didn’t know who I was and what was going on with me. That suicide attempt was a real wake up call for me after I found out that I nearly died because I didn’t want to actually kill myself but I wanted to kill the pain I was going through.
One year later after my 18th birthday was my 19th birthday and it wasn’t that great to tell you the truth as I had to spend my birthday in hospital.
Because I was going through a difficult and confusing time and still recovering from my last planned suicide attempt, I had another plan to kill myself on my 19th birthday. Fortunately, it didn’t go to plan as one of the day support groups I was in, the psychologist who was leading the group found out about it. How she found out was because I was having a mental breakdown on that day and she knew something was very wrong so I had to tell her what was going on.
After telling the group psychologist what my plan was, she was very worried about me and had to get the group psychiatrist (one of the doctors who runs the same support group) to come down and talk to me. I don’t really remember the exact conversation we had as this was seven years ago but all I remember was him saying that I had to be admitted into hospital because of how serious my situation was. Yay! Back into hospital again and he had to contact my family and my support network about what was going on as well.
Spending your birthday in hospital isn’t the best way to celebrate but now looking back on it, I can understand why they wanted me to go into hospital. I had to spend a few days there and surprisingly I was allowed to go out for dinner with my family on my birthday which was nice of them to do.
So as you can see, my birthdays haven’t been all that happy. I know I’ve said this in my previous birthday post but the thought of getting older kinda scares me because I feel like I haven’t been able to achieve the goals I wanted to achieve. There is also that fear of failure and expectations as well. Now that I’m 26, I feel like I’m way behind where I wanted to be because I’m still struggling with my depression.
To be honest, the months, the weeks and the days leading up to my birthday yesterday, I was actually anxious because well, I don’t know if my 19th was gonna be a happy or unhappy one. When I think of my birthdays, I tend to think “depressing” because of how my depression took over my life and it just reminds me of past failures and all the struggles I’ve been through.
But now looking back on my life and what I’ve been through, I’m still amazed that I’m still here and haven’t given up even when there were times I almost did. There were things that I was able to achieve which I felt like it was impossible to achieve because my depression was holding me back.
This year has also been tough for me which is why there hasn’t been much blogging all year and I just want to say sorry to you viewers for that. The many ups and downs I’ve had in 2015 have been an unbelievable ride and I can’t even explain what I’ve been through right now but with the support I’ve been getting from my support network, my family and close friends and of course you guys, it makes me appreciate life a lot more.
I know I said when I think of my birthdays, I think depressing but there also have been memorable birthdays I’ve had. My 21st has to be one of the highlights. When I turned 21, that was the year I just had my major jaw surgery and I wasn’t able to celebrate properly because I was still recovering from it and was on a strict diet which meant I couldn’t eat my favourite food. So, my whole family organised a surprise 21st when we were on our family trip which I had no idea about but it wasn’t really a surprise anymore because my nephew (being a cheeky boy) ruined the surprise and told me about it. It was pretty funny as his mother (my cousin) told him not to and I had to tell her about what happened.
There’s also my combined belated 21st/22nd party and when I mean belated 21st, I mean I wasn’t able to have my big party two years later because I was still recovering from my jaw surgery. Having my family and close mates celebrating my 21st properly with me was special and also very emotional. To hear from them that I have come a very long way and are proud of me hit home for me because they know how my life hasn’t been that easy.
So you guys are wondering, how was my birthday yesterday? Well, surprisingly, it turned out to be not as bad as I thought it would be. I went to the city with my support worker as we had a few things to do which was quite an adventure. We had to do a detour in the city where we wanted to go at one point because a train guard gave us the wrong directions haha but we got there in the end.
I also went out for dinner with my parents at Hog’s Breathe Cafe and it’s always nice going out with my parents. Even though my life hasn’t been easy for them, they have always been there for me from the start and not once did they ever give up on me so I’m very lucky to have my parents with me so thanks mum and dad!
And thank you guys for all the wonderful birthday messages I have received in the last two days! It made my birthday a lot more awesome and I really appreciated the support! You guys mean the world to me and without you guys, I don’t think I would be where I am in life right now.
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Be random but stay safe all! ^_^