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Birthdays

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Birthdays | Soultenders

Birthdays

Feeling Overwhelmed? | Soultenders

Feeling Overwhelmed?

Stay at Home Parents | Soultenders

Stay at Home Parents

Birthdays | Soultenders

Birthdays can carry a lot of weight. A birthday can be a special way for us to be celebrated by others. An interruption from routine, a birthday can remind us of the people in our lives who see us. People who care about us, remember us, encourage us, think about us. Between the gifts, the cake, the parties, and quality time, we can really feel valued.

Birthdays can also draw attention to what we do not have. In the absence of things that we are longing for, a day that marks age and the passing of time, can be painful to bear.

Excessive worry may cloud our thoughts as we wonder if people will remember, and if they do – will they meet the hopes that we have for how we long to be celebrated?

We may step back from social circles as a way to protect ourselves from having to manage others’ responses to our birthday. Social anxiety can make us shirk away from any opportunity in which we might be placed in the spotlight.

Anger and resentment can build if we know our birthday becomes a time when we are talked over and not listened to. How do we tell someone who cares to orchestrate a celebration on our behalf that it is not how we want to spend the day and in fact triggers anxiety?

Parents can struggle with how to celebrate their child. Financial worry may limit the type of celebration and the guest list. The implications of each limit can be overwhelming. Is communication healthy and effective or avoidant and irritable?

An annual reminder that we have not met desired milestones like marriage, kids, a career, or financial goals can trigger negative self-talk. Comparing ourselves to others who have things we do not can make us question our own decisions. Questioning can spiral into minimizing our efforts toward goals. How do we cope with disappointment in how we imagined our life to be?

Significant birthdays that mark decades can give pause to reflect on mortality. Reflecting on the passage of time and estimated time left can cause overwhelming feelings. How do we respond to things that are out of our control?

Who can understand what it’s like to struggle with mental health when the typical expectation of birthdays falls somewhere in the realm of decorating and celebrating? A therapist can try understand. A therapist can’t stop your birthday, but a therapist can help you navigate the deeper issues that are triggered by the day. Understanding the deeper issues can inform how to implement coping strategies to give you a different kind of gift – taking care of you.

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About The Author

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Lauren Pena
LMFT
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