Birthdays are always special, bringing joy and laughter. People tend to receive many gifts and wishes around their birthdays, which add to their happiness. However, for some, the special day stands to be different. With the person feeling disinterested, numb, sad, and gloomy about the day. That brings everyone to the question, “Is birthday depression real?”
Is Birthday Depression Real? Birthday Blues Vs. Birthday Depression
Most people consider ‘birthday blues’ and ‘birthday depression’ synonymous. Defining the terms as a general feeling of sadness in a person around their birthdays. However, looking into the core, the two stand as different.
Birthday blues are certain overwhelming feelings that you happen to come across around the time of your birthdays. These usually do not last long and fade away without formal psychological treatment.
On the other hand, when talking about depression, according to the DSM-5-TR (Diagnostic And Statistical Manual) of mental disorders, a person has to experience particular symptoms for 2 weeks to be termed as depressed. The list of symptoms includes:
Consistent feelings of hopelessness, emptiness, and sadness
- Disturbances in the sleep routine
- Feeling anxious
- Fatigue or aches
- Getting these self-harming thoughts
- Being irritated
- Alterations in appetite
Contrary to birthday blues, when you have these symptoms waving around for the longest time, lasting more than a week, it can be termed depression. Thus answering a ‘Yes’ to the question, “Is birthday depression real?”
The Potential Causes Of Birthday Depression
Moving on with the question, “Is birthday depression real?” no fixed criteria can explain why or what is the main cause of birthday depression. Everyone is different and comes across various incidents as a child or a grown-up during birthdays, leading to what they are today. Also, social triggers can be a possible cause when living in a society, making things difficult. As an added help, here are some of the common reasons mentioned:
High Expectations From Life
Unfulfilled expectations always tend to guide a person toward acute depression. And things can get more overwhelming around birthdays, with one reflecting on their lives and trying to find a true purpose for their living. Also, some with a competitive mindset often try too hard to overcome the situation and stand out. These people cannot get concrete reasons to understand why they deserve happiness. And end up self-sabotaging their birthdays.
Fear Related To Ageing
Most people are too skeptical when it comes to thinking about themselves getting old. They know that anything but ageing cannot stop, but this eerie feeling continues to hamper one’s mental health around birthdays. People feel sad because they think it’s time to change and leave behind certain habits as one grows old.
Change In Family Dynamics
Birthdays are about celebrating with your loved ones and receiving wishes and gifts for the special day. Things continue to be great when you have your loving family or childhood friend beside you. But, with tragedies and changes in family dynamics, situations spiral the other way. It is a person not being able to celebrate their born day as they used to do as a child or the way they want makes one feel depressed, angry, and not loved enough.
Feeling Of Loneliness
Busy work schedules, problems with the family, and judgmental neighbors often make people lonely. These unexplained and unresolved feelings later inflict a sense of loneliness during birthdays. Mixed with other hurdles in life, the person starts losing all hope to be happy and celebrate their birthdays with an open mind as they used to.
How Can One Cope With Birthday Depression?
Now that you have definite reasons backing your question, “Is birthday depression real?” things ought to get easy. And to help you further, here are a few tips to bid farewell to all the gloominess around birthdays.
Try To Identify The Real Cause
It will always be of help when you sit back and analyze. Identify the real cause, “why are you feeling in such a way?” Rather than pushing your emotions under the rug, you can sit with your journal and channel the thoughts into the paper that are there in your mind. Also, discussing them with a confidant does make things look easy, decluttering your brain for its best.
Plan Your Favorite Activity On The Birthday
It’s your day, do what you like the most. If you love to shop around, do that. If it’s food which amazes you for the best, you can book a table at your favorite restaurant. Also, get yourself a nice birthday present, something which you wanted for soo long. Eventually, you will feel much more relieved by the end of the day.
Reframe Your Thought Process Around The Event
For many, the reason behind birthday blues or birthday depression has to do with a traumatic past. Probably a childhood experience or something they came across while growing up. The best way to change those negativities is to replace them with many good ones. So, give it in all (it will be tough in the beginning) and try and reframe your birthday memories in the best way possible. Go for a trip, get some new clothes, and be yourself on your born day.
Problems, failures, and dissatisfactions are a part of one’s life, and with true determination, one can beat it all, thriving into a better future for the best. And Birthdays are always meant to be special, so be it anything, one must live their day happily.