What Is Birthday Depression?

Birthday Depression: Why Birthdays Are So Hard

What Is Birthday Depression?

It’s my birthday today! (pause for celebration, confetti, and cheer.) And while I love birthdays, I also know that birthday depression can be hard, anxiety-inducing, and full of pressure. 

Have you ever been asked any of the following questions on your birthday?

  • What are you going to do today?
  • How are you celebrating?
  • Aren’t you excited?
  • What should we do?
  • Where do you want to go to celebrate?

The Peculiar Phenomenon of Birthday Blues

I’ve noticed a very particular pattern with certain people right around their birthday. Their behavior starts to change, and they get nervous or even sad. They have the birthday blues,

Does this sound you? If so, I want to tell you…

You are not alone.

What is birthday depression?

Urban Dictionary defines “Birthday Blues” or “birthday depression” as “a general sadness or feeling down by a person on or around his or her birthday.” A person feeling birthday blues should know that it is normal to feel this way and should be supported by his or her family and friends.

But what if the person with birthday blues doesn’t have any friends or family? This is especially common in the elderly, who often spend their birthdays alone. One study of persons aged 75 and over found that in the 30 days before and after a birthday, the rate of self-inflicted deaths increased. 

Why is that? The study suggests that people’s morale are greatly affected during their birthday season. 

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Why are Birthdays so Hard?

While there may be many reasons someone feels down on their birthday, some of the most common reasons include:

Aging. Birthdays can remind us that we are aging another year. It’s the “official” day that we are one year older, even though the day before our birthday we feel virtually the same. And unfortunately, getting older isn’t exactly something to look forward to.  A birthday is just another reminder that we’re not getting any younger. 

High expectations. Sometimes we are disappointed by not having expectations met by a birthday party, celebration, or gifts. I’ll cover more of that below.

Lack of accomplishments. Feeling unsatisfied with accomplishments since the previous year or previous birthday is a common cause for birthday depression. 

Social pressure. Have you ever felt all the birthdays in movies look really good? Or maybe you see your friend’s Instagram picture and see how cool their birthday parties are. So if we decide to spend our birthday alone or with a few close friends, we might feel it’s just not “good enough.”

Less excitement. When we are kids, birthdays are awesome. We get to party, go to the movies, and eat cake. When we are older, birthdays are, for some, ehhh. When our adult birthdays aren’t as exciting as our kid birthdays, that mismatch can cause the birthday blues.

Milestone birthdays. Have you ever heard of Sweet 16, 21, 30, 40, 50, and 60? These are the “milestone birthdays” that are celebrated throughout our culture. Some people may feel sad if they don’t have a huge party to celebrate their milestone birthday.

Less love. You’re 4 years old? Wow, great job! Turning 18? Finally an adult! It’s your 45th birthday? Umm…congratulations? As growing adults, you may notice how people pay less attention to you—especially the older you get.

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Who Can Experience Birthday Depression?

  • People who don’t have many friends or family members. These people may face birthday blues because there’s simply nobody to spend their birthday with, and they feel birthdays must be celebrated with close people.
  • People with fake friends. Even though these people might have friends over for their birthday, they might feel empty inside because they have fake or toxic friends, and not real ones.
  • People struggling with anxiety. If you have anxiety, you may have fears surrounding the birthday itself. Who to invite, how to handle yourself in social situations, what other people think about you—all these things can lead to increased anxiety, or even depression. 
  • Introverted people. Introverts might feel the most comfortable spending time alone, but feel they have to socialize with others during their birthday.
  • People who have high expectations. There’s a long list of expectations surrounding a birthday. If these expectations are not met, it can lead to the birthday blues.

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Birthday Expectations

There’s this unspoken idea surrounding birthdays that they have to be big, exciting, and EPIC. And this expectation alone can cause birthday nerves and anxiety. There are also a ton of other birthday expectations that don’t come close to reality:

Expectation: I’m going to invite all my friends over!

Reality: Does anyone want to come to my birthday party? *Crickets*

Expectation: I’m going to look fabulous on my birthday with the new makeup and dress I got for Christmas!

Reality: Oh shoot, did I gain some weight? It doesn’t fit anymore! And I totally overdid the eyeshadow. Well, time to go to Plan B…plain top and pajamas. 

Expectation: My birthday party is going to be at 7:00. I’m sure everyone will arrive on time!

Reality: 7:30. Empty room. *Checks phone* No new messages.

Expectation: I know exactly what kind of birthday cake I want!

Reality: Vanilla, for sure. No, chocolate. No wait, vanilla. Can we have both? Okay, we can do a fruitcake. Wait no, vanilla. But what if I want chocolate? Ugh, fine. Two birthday cakes.

Expectation: Wow, I can’t wait to see what kind of gifts I get!

Reality: Oh, thanks grandma. I really wanted those socks. They’re very… comfortable.

Expectation: I’m going to book the best pizza venue in town!

Reality: Sorry, all booked until 2030. Can we celebrate my 35th birthday a decade later?

Here are a few tips if you’re feeling the Birthday Blues on your next birthday:

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4 Unique Things to Do on Your Birthday:

What if I told you that your entire birthday mindset could shift by doing four things.

Well… not quite things, but, rather, answering four questions.

There are 4 specific questions I ask myself to deepen my learning and grow my understanding of myself. Every birthday, I take out my journal and write my answers down. And every birthday, I learn something new about myself and feel a little more cheerful and grateful. Here are the 4 questions you should answer in your birthday journal.

  1. What was the best thing that happened last year?

There are so many things that happen in one year of our lives. But what was the ONE thing that stood out to you the most? Review your year and choose your favorite thing… it could be something big, such as:

  • Going on a travel vacation
  • Getting a raise at your job
  • Finding your soulmate

Or even something small:

Whatever it is, cherish that moment and feel grateful for the best thing that happened last year!

Write it down: The best thing that happened last year was _____.

  1. What did you learn last year?

Every year comes with its ups as well as downs, but I believe we should reframe these negatives as challenges. Ask yourself: what were some of the biggest challenges I faced last year?

After you have a mental list, write down the lessons you learned from those challenges. And if you are still facing a challenge, write down what you can do to make it better!

Write it down: Last year, I faced the challenge of _____ and learned _____.

  1. What do you hope will happen this year?

Let’s take a look at the future now! This question aims at what do you want to be celebrating in the future? Imagine sitting down at your birthday next year— if I handed you a glass of red wine, what would we be celebrating about? 

It could be something goal-oriented, getting new clients or a bonus. But it doesn’t have to be—your hope for this year can simply be an inner change within yourself, becoming more compassionate, more patient, or controlling your negative emotions.

Write it down: I hope to _____ by my next birthday.

Pro tip: Research shows that people who set goals are more successful. Read our article on goal setting to make your goals more achievable!

  1. What do you want to learn this year?

Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck came up with a term called the “growth mindset.”

What is a growth mindset? A growth mindset is a belief that one can develop and increase their basic abilities and skills through hard work and dedication. This mindset is opposite of the fixed mindset, in which people believe their qualities cannot be changed. People with a growth mindset often learn and achieve more compared to those with a fixed mindset.

People with a growth mindset are:

  • Happier
  • More successful
  • More fulfilled

Do you have a growth mindset? When you truly believe you can learn, new skills and abilities will come to you SO much easier! Here are some skills and abilities you can work on by your next birthday:

And sometimes we truly forget how much we can accomplish in just one year! Do you have one big lofty goal, or multiple smaller goals?

Write it down: I want to learn how to _____ by my next birthday.

  1. BONUS: What happened in the past few years?

Here’s a fun bonus question you can do when you have a few years’ worth of Birthday Questions already done! Look back on your previous years and see how much you have changed:

  • What were the highlights of the past years?
  • What were some of my biggest life lessons?
  • What were some of my goals, and did I accomplish them?
  • What new skills did I learn?

When you look back in your journal, you can truly see how much you’ve changed! And it makes your birthday feel that much more special.

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How to Beat the Birthday Blues:

  1. Birthday Blues “often simply are part of getting older.” Remember, you are not alone in feeling this way.
  2. The hard truth: People can’t read your mind. If you want to celebrate small, big, or not at all, it’s on you to plan it or at least verbalize your own expectations for your day.
  3. Be direct about gifts. People also don’t always know what you , so give friends and family ideas about what kind of gifts to get you.
  4. Have compassion. Be kind, easy, and non-judgmental on yourself. Realize you are more than your birthday.
  5. Your birthday comes once a year. So take charge and do it right—for you.

Special Note: If you are dealing with someone with the Birthday Blues, or suspect that they are, please show them they are loved and appreciated. Send them a funny video. Gift them the perfect gift. Or simply say “happy birthday.

” A small action from you may mean the world to a person who is alone on their birthday.

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Things to Do On Your Birthday Alone:

I have some rituals I do on my birthday, whether I am spending my birthday alone or with close friends and loved ones. Here are some of my favorite things to do alone on my birthday:

  • Donate to a non-profit. Every year on my birthday I donate to KIVA, my favorite charity, and pick female entrepreneurs to sponsor.  I also ask friends and family to donate to them instead of getting me gifts. You can even volunteer if you want. Do you have a favorite charity? Find one you love on your birthday!
  • Go on a journey. It’s always really fun to go somewhere new for your birthday. If you can’t do it with others, why not go yourself? You can travel somewhere far, or browse Airbnb and find a home close by—whether it’s a treehouse in the middle of a forest, a cabin up in the mountains, or a seaside hut, find a unique place to stay and live it out!
  • Treat yourself to the spa. At least once or twice a year I try to treat myself to a massage at the spa. It definitely helps relieve stress and removes tension in your muscles. It’s the perfect relaxation activity on your cake day!
  • Take a class. You can also try a new class on your birthday—cooking classes, fitness classes, a writing class; you name it, and there’s probably one available.
  • Eat some cake. Even if you can’t enjoy it with others, there’s no reason not to make a cake! You can even make some brownies, buy a donut, or enjoy your favorite food as an alternative.
  • Reflect on learning. Every year I sit down with my birthday journal and self-reflect on the 4 questions above. Last year I even wrote a post called “20 Key Lessons I Learned in My 20s.” Check it out:

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You are Not Alone

Remember, there are a lot of people who spend time alone or who feel birthday depression. You are not alone. But it is up to you to cherish it and spend your birthday however you want!

And if you need help, please DO reach out to someone! Here are some crisis services worldwide that are trained to provide support, courtesy of Reddit:




http://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you [UK]

https://www.lifeline.org.au/Get-Help/ [AU]

Finally, here’s a little birthday gift for you, from the team here at Science of People.

I hope you truly own your birthday, and do what makes YOU feel happy!

Happy birthday!


Источник: https://www.scienceofpeople.com/birthday-depression/

Reasons Why Birthday Depression Is So Common

What Is Birthday Depression?

Updated June 22, 2021

During our formative years, birthdays are meant to be a time of celebration. Having parties with our friends and getting lots of gifts from those friends and relatives all make it a joyous time in our lives that we look forward to.

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But at some point, for many of us, that feeling fades. For example, as we grow older, many of us don’t care too much about birthdays anymore. And some of us begin to feel serious sadness when that same day comes around each year.

There is a term known as birthday blues, and it is a very real thing. This is where our behavior begins to change as our birthday approaches, and we can display nervousness or sadness. This time is also known as the birthday blues.

So, what brings about birthday blues, and what can be done about it?

Looking Farther Into Birthday Blues

While no two people are the same, there are certainly a number of factors that come into play and make someone feel bad about their birthday. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be the same reason each year; that reason can change over time.

Birthday blues can be felt through factors such as these, but they are certainly not the only things causing sadness around a birthday.

Aging. This is perhaps the biggest reason behind birthday blues. Let’s face the facts: birthdays are awesome when we are young because of the presents we get and the time we spend with friends and family and because we have our whole lives ahead.

Thinking about aging and our mortality is not something we typically do when we are young. But as we grow older, those thoughts only become natural. So instead of looking forward to another celebration, it reminds us that we are a year older. And, on a down note, it makes us feel closer to the end of the road.

Few of us look forward to getting older, and our birthday is a reminder that we are doing just that. While some think about being and acting young, it is only natural to consider where we live and realistically how much time is still ahead of us.

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High Celebration Expectations. Some of us have particularly high expectations for our day of birth each year. However, expecting to have a huge party or celebration or be showered with gifts that we have dreamed of can lead to major disappointment.

This may not be quite as common as looking towards our remaining years, but those disappointing experiences can lead to birthday blues all the same. Unfortunately, that sadness can be difficult to mitigate if expectations have not been met.

Generally Less Excitement. Depending on how your family operates, people can begin to dread birthdays simply because there isn’t much excitement behind them. We throw big birthday parties for kids because we want them to feel special and have fun.

But when we are adults, there is less of a focus on birthdays and gifts. So, it is only natural that as we age, there is less excitement from both our families and ourselves when that day rolls around. Sure, there may be activities going to dinner or relaxing with friends, but those are generally more reserved than having a huge party.

There is also the added weight of adulthood that weighs down the excitement. When we are kids, looking forward to a birthday can take up an entire week. But when we are adults, there are responsibilities to take care of and work to do. So it is almost as if there is no time to be excited.

Social Pressures. This is becoming more of a regularity thanks to social media and entertainment. Have you ever seen a birthday take place on a television show or a movie and wished that your party could be that way? Maybe you’ve seen a friend’s post on Instagram or and thought that everyone else’s birthday parties are something special.

This creates a constant feeling that our birthday is just not good enough if it is with close friends or family and not this big, raging bash.

Now that we have identified some of the reasons behind those feelings of depression on your birthday, how can we combat them? Here are a few ways to stave off these feelings and keep the birthday blues at bay.

Finding Ways To Combat The Birthday Blues

It isn’t necessarily that we want to experience those feelings of sadness around our birthdays, but they are only natural. So, what can be done to keep those feelings away so that we can enjoy this milestone day every year? Even if you don’t consult professionals  those at ReGain, some things can be done.

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Celebrate Your Way. One of the most important things to keep in mind about birthdays as we get older is that they should be what we want them to be. So instead of creating this ideology in our heads that it has to be this massive, extravagant celebration that meets everyone’s standards, we should find what is important to us.

Suppose that means having a big bash, fine. If it means spending quality time with friends or family, that should be fine as well. However, it is a day where a little bit of selfishness is okay. So do the things you want on your birthday because it is a day for you.

Adhering to plans that others have made, even if they are not plans you want to partake in, can lead to that birthday sadness that so many people feel every year.

Get Off To A Good Start. When you wake up in the morning, try to think about having a positive birthday even if you are not particularly anticipating it. Having a good frame of mind is a good way to ensure that you have that frame of mind for the rest of the day.

Maybe start by listing reasons that you are grateful for in your life. That can help to keep a positive mentality going forward instead of focusing on another year being gone or more negative thoughts.

If you have the opportunity to do the things that you want to do, do them. But, again, it is your day. So do the things that you want. Maybe make a special breakfast or watch a movie in bed, whatever it is that gives you some joy.

If you do have to work on your birthday, try to give it a little variety. Order lunch from one of your favorite local restaurants or other little changes that can make it feel a day different than any other.

Don’t Make Too Many Plans. One of the reasons people struggle with birthdays is that there are too many things on the slate. Gatherings with friends, a party with family, special time with a significant other; are all things that can make the day feel too busy, too stressful, and put additional pressure on the birthday itself.

Keeping things simple can lower the risk of feeling overwhelmed and of anything going wrong with plans that have been set up for the day. It can also lead to a little less stress on what is supposed to be a special day.

Limit The Sadness. Feeling sad on a birthday is both normal and okay. But there is a fine line between experiencing some sadness and wallowing in it. Limiting the amount of grief you are willing to experience on your birthday can help keep it from feeling overwhelmingly sad.

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Crazy as it may seem, it might be a good idea to accept that sadness will happen. This allows the person to accept that sadness will occur to process it and move forward.

Tell People. Another major reason that the birthday blues happen is that there isn’t enough acknowledgment. It’s okay to tell people, “it’s my birthday tomorrow.

” There isn’t anything wrong with letting family and friends know that they can make a little bit of a fuss when your big day arrives.

It doesn’t have to be an over-the-top party; just being told “happy birthday” can be enough to make someone’s day.

The birthday blues are a real thing, and there are many reasons why birthdays are so difficult. That feeling is entirely normal and okay, but it is about managing those feelings and finding a way to either enjoy the day or mitigate those feelings of sadness.

The older we get, it feels birthdays are so hard for many of us. But taking some of the aforementioned steps can make those days feel more special as they are meant to explore and take some of the sadness the day.

Birthdays are what you make of them. Get what you want them and try to make them a day of fun and celebration if you can. We only get one per year, so even if you feel wrong about that day, many of them have to go through.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is my birthday sad?

It’s very common for people to feel sad when their birthday is coming up. In fact, it is often a natural progression throughout life. When you’re young, birthdays are a time of joy and celebration and presents. You feel invincible and know you have so many birthdays to look forward to.

When you get older, though, you realize you won’t live forever, and dealing with mortality is one of the most existential problems a human can deal with. It’s okay to feel sad and experience birthday depression.

However, it can be really helpful to understand why you feel this way and address it preemptively.

Another reason you may feel the birthday blues or birthday sadness because you have high celebratory expectations that aren’t met. It can be helpful to beat the birthday blues by tempering your expectations and making realistic plans for how you want to celebrate your birthday. Try to plan something yourself and actively make your birthday a good birthday by planning events that you to do.

Why do I cry on my birthday every year?

It’s normal to feel general sadness or depression on your birthday, especially as you age. Every person is different, of course, and each person deals with their birthday blues differently. Some of the most common reasons that people cry on their birthdays include: 

  • Dealing with mortality and aging
  • Very high expectations of a birthday party that aren’t met
  • Unrealistic expectations of a birthday social media or television and movies

Even if you have plenty of friends wishing you a happy birthday, it could still fall flat or feel unfulfilling. A good way to try to reduce these feelings to celebrate your birthday your way. If you love hiking, invite a few friends on a birthday hike!

What to do when you hate your birthday?

If you find yourself thinking, “Oh no, I have a birthday coming up, I’m dreading my party. I always cry on my birthday,” don’t fret. This is a pretty common feeling for many people. Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives to a traditional birthday party that can help you have a happy birthday. You don’t need to have the traditional party that we see on TV or in movies.

Instead, try to find a way to incorporate what you love into your party. If you love movies, go out to dinner and a movie with a few friends. If you enjoy hiking and being outdoors, plan a hike or a walk with friends and family.

Don’t feel inclined to do something traditional other people birthdays should be a celebration of the individual, and therefore you should do something that makes you happy!

What do you say to someone sad on their birthday?

If you notice that one of your friends or family members is sad on their birthday, it can be really helpful to offer some words of encouragement. Don’t try to fix their problems or force them to be happy — that never works.

Instead, try to find ways to suggest fun activities that will naturally cheer the person up.

For example, if you notice that a friend is sad at their birthday, but you know that they love to play sports outside, maybe suggest a game of tag football instead of traditional games of cards or board games. 

At what age should you stop celebrating your birthday?

There’s no set age that you need to stop celebrating your birthday! Some people will throw huge parties each year until the day that they die, while others will stop celebrating by age 20. Either one is okay. It all depends on what makes you happy.

If you’d rather not be the center of attention, don’t feel bad about not celebrating birthdays so hard. Instead, do something small with a small group of friends, so don’t worry about it at all! Conversely, if you love throwing a big party, feel free to go all out even if you’re turning 38.

Your life should consist of things that make you happy, and your birthday celebration is no different.

Источник: https://www.regain.us/advice/depression/reasons-why-birthday-depression-is-so-common/

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