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 like 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.
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 like 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.
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 like 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 like 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.
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:
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.
- 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:
- Making a new friend
- Playing a really cool board game
- Having an amazing conversation with someone
- Setting a good habit or breaking a bad one
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 _____.
- 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 _____.
- 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, like 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, like 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!
- 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:
- 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:
- Learning people skills
- Learning how to program
- Becoming good at drawing or painting
- Becoming a public speaking wizard
- Becoming conversational in a new language
- Starting a new Youtube channel
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.
- 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.
How to Beat the Birthday Blues:
- Birthday Blues “often simply are part of getting older.” Remember, you are not alone in feeling this way.
- 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.
- Be direct about gifts. People also don’t always know what you like, so give friends and family ideas about what kind of gifts to get you.
- Have compassion. Be kind, easy, and non-judgmental on yourself. Realize you are more than your birthday.
- 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.
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.”
- Set smart goals. Not all goals are equal, especially if you make them but never achieve them! I found the best way to set achievable goals. Check it out:
How To Set Better Goals Using Science
Do you set the same goals over and over again? If you’re not achieving your goals – it’s not your fault!
Let me show you the science-based goal-setting framework that will help you achieve your biggest goals.
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:
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!
147 replies on “Birthday Depression: Why Birthdays Are So Hard”
Since I am turning 50 in a couple of weeks I feel a lot of pressure. My younger sister is always posting that her husband buys her expensive flowers on Facebook. She loves to brag. My husband is not the most romantic person but he is very loving to myself and our kids. He is organizing a few low key things for him and I to do on my birthday. My in laws (his family) don’t like me so they are ignoring my birthday. I did nice things for all their milestone birthdays in the past. My in laws are also very extravagant and take fancy trips for milestone birthdays. So, there is just a lot of judgment on that side. Luckily my family is supportive and loving. They are having a small party for me. I don’t want to feel the pressure. I am very grateful for having my immediate family and husband, kids to celebrate with. I have been alone many times on my birthday in the past. I wish I did not have to feel like my 50th birthday is a let down compared to all the over the top things I see others doing.
Tomorrow I turn 62. I once had friends and family that loved me back, but they are all dead now. At 60 I had to leave an abusive marriage and left with little. I have 2 surviving family members that are also abusive. One dies (my mother) two months ago. She disinherited me. Since Covid, all my coworkers left, and the new hires were incredibly bullying and pushed me out. I took a new job but half the pay (can’t find work when over 60). So needless to say I am pretty depressed and absolutely no one will be wishing me a happy birthday.Lin
I am very sorry Lin! I want to wish you a Happy Birthday. I will be turning 50 soon. In the past I have spent many birthdays alone. Treat yourself to some cake. Get some wine. Try and pamper yourself. Sometimes life can be tough. Be kind to yourself.
You are still very worthy of love though there may not be loved ones around. And there are still lots of things to go and enjoy. Hang in there and have whatever kind of fun you want.
I am so sick of my birthday, and it hasn’t even happened yet. I feel like my birthdays were always fun but not anymore. Last year was Covid so I didn’t do anything for my birthday, and this year I am starting high school. Everyone at my school went to the same middle school, so I sort of know some people but they all know eachother way better. Even the people I consider my closest friends just think of me as an afterthought and my old friends don’t talk to me anymore. I hate this birthday because you are supposed to go out and celebrate with friends, but I literally have no friends.
Things are going to get better! Hang in there!
i feel the same
I’m so glad I found this! I always felt like my birthday was cursed or something, either plans would get cancelled last minute or I always end up crying on my birthday. My bday is in a couple days and this time I’m gonna treat myself and not depend on others for me to feel good 😌
I have cried too on my birthday for the past two years I thought I was alone🤦♀️
Thank you so much Vanessa! You made me feel humane.
Hey! Thanks for this beautiful article. It does help me feel better. I’m going to turn 30 in a week. Out of all my friends and family I am the most excited about birthdays, I never thought I’d be feeling the opposite on my 30th. I guess until now I was hopeful things would be better or the dreams would finally come true by next year, but now that I hit thirty I’m less hopeful and feel like giving up on those dreams completely. Naturally it won’t be exciting.
However, I am greatful for everything that I have and I think this would be a new start for everything. I’ll take it as a challenge. I may have failed in achieving my dreams but I certainly haven’t failed in life.
hi my birthday is in a week and this article really helped me figure out that I m not the only one facing this. I m turning 17 this summer and it s my last year as a child so becoming an adult scares me a lot. just like others I wish I ve done more till now and I still don t know what is going on with my life. my bday just adds up to my chronic depression so I believe the best gift this year would be just to skip the date as it doesn’t t even exist. I don t feel like celebrating and anyways what’s the point in having a party if it s filled with friends that will always see you as the second choice. thank you for this read it actually made my day and made me feel a little bit more at peace with my first year of experiencing birthday sadness.
I dunno my birthday is sorta jinxed
like i just keep screwing up
Hello my name is Maya. My birthday is in 2 hours and this was my first time experiencing birthday blues. First I have to say this article made me feel better – thank you Vanessa.
I think I have birthday blues because I moved last year and my life turned upside down. I lost so many things I cherished so deeply that it’s so hard for me to let them go. I lost all my friends my mentor my band and my mum is also still there and I am living with my sister.
So I have no once to celebrate with for a year now I have been sad because I can’t make friends here. And realized that it’s been a year made me really upset. I don’t have anyone here real friends who I would want to celebrate with. They don’t even know me.
And I just miss my best friends Back home and all I wish is to celebrate with them. And to feel happy.
I hope for next year I will have found friends who care about me enough that I can celebrate with them. Because next year I am gonna turn 18.
I was sad to read your comment but also happy because I am experiencing the exact same thing. I moved away from all my friends and family last year and I am used to big birthdays but this year I feel so alone. I related to your post heavily.
I hope your birthday was okay and that next year you get your wish for your 18th bday.
I’m going to turn 13 in a week, I know I’m very young but I don’t know why I have BIRTHDAY DEPRESSION.
IDK WHAT TO DO……SORRY……..
hey im turning 13 tomorrow.. my sisters are going out with friends on my birthday i feel you, i feel sad looking at my old self and how im just a failure, its ok things will get better.
Just wanted to let you know that you are not a failure you are still figuring yourself out, whatever you may be going through I can assure you that you are not a failure.
Life is hard enough as it is, be kind to yourself. You are doing your best.
Hello ! Thank you for your article.
Today is my birthday, and I am crying. I thought I was being childish at first, but reading this made me feel better, and I am not ashamed to cry anymore. When I was four, my mom died two days before my birthday. In France, it’s usually around mothers day. So that period generally sucks to me. I was emotionally abused by my former step mom for three years, in my childhood. Now i’m twenty, and if I’m not distracted from the fact that this day sucks, I’m depressed and crying, and feel like i’m alone, and the thoughts make me want to lifen’t.
Happy birthday to me I guess.
Sending belated birthday hugs. I had a friend that went through a similar experience and I can’t imagine it gets easier over time. The best thing to do to get over the birthday blues, at least for me, is come up with your own tradition for yourself. For me, this includes traveling to somewhere new. Even if you’re alone, it’s nice to gift yourself a new adventure.
Today is my 40th. I have been trying to be okay with this milestone. My husband asked what I wanted to do. I said I wanted a “party”/ “get together”. I mean I don’t need anything huge…just something. Since my birthday is on a Monday and I have 4 kids that are in school at home I figured we will do something this weekend. It is more convenient. It was in agreement that we are doing something this weekend…My husband works M-F and my oldest gets out of school around 4:30…so it makes sense. But every time I get asked by my husband what I want for my birthday and what food I want…anything about my birthday *snaps fingers* just as quick as that the subject gets changed. And now my husband said he is going to his boss’s house this weekend to help him build his porch and it will be all weekend. So there goes my get together for my birthday. Then if I bring it up about the fact we were going to do something for my birthday he tells me that maybe we will grill something if he isn’t home too late. So then, I even thought maybe a special dinner tonight…but no my husband said something simple because his son is probably coming by and anything special will cost more…with his son here. He is supposed to be at his mom’s anyway….and before u think ” oh, maybe he wants to celebrate with you” umm…no. His sister and himself do something to mess up special occasions (birthdays, Valentine’s, Anniversaries, etc) every year. They get their dad to go and pick them up just to take them somewhere…when their mom can do it and the sister is an adult and has a car and drives…but she too has her dad/my husband go pick her up to take her somewhere. She did that on our anniversary one year. We were supposed to go out to dinner and he texted saying that his daughter invited him to dinner…on our anniversary! She could have waited for the next day. So in mostly tears I had to cancel the sitter. I don’t have anyone to talk to really…and the majority of my family is in Okinawa, Japan and all over the U.S. I don’t have my family with me. Really truly the only reason I am not in full tears is because of my littles telling me they love me.
I think I’m sad because I thought I could have something little at least to commemorate this day, but no…it is hard….and sometimes the little joys of your life can’t even get you as happy as you think you should feel…then you get sad about being sad…it’s a mess!😭
Your husband is a jerk. He obviously doesn’t care. I would start saving money and take your babies and go home to Japan and family where you are loved. Keep it on the down low.
Next year hold him to his promise and make the step kids wait. They’re running over you and you deserve respect. I’ll even call you and talk or send you a present if you want to friend me on FB! My husband pointed out that every year I’m disappointed on my birthday so now that I just turned 40 and I read this article, I’m finally realizing it has been a pattern. I obviously need to be more clear about my expectations and desires.
I have been feeling really sad and upset because my 20th birthday is coming up next week. I just feel the need to cry everytime someone brings it up. My family minimizes my feelings about this and that isn’t really helping. I know 20 is not old, but I just feel like life is slipping away and I havent accomplished as much as I would like. At what point did I want to become an adult? I just want to go back to when I was a kid and life was simple. Anyway, I loved the article and from the comments I can see Im not alone. Thanks for letting me vent on here and thanks if you read it!
My 24th birthday is today and it seems ever since my 18th birthday I have grown to hate my birthday. I don’t like the idea that people who don’t talk to often only check up on you this one day a year. And if people can treat you this nicely on my birthday doesn’t that show that people are able to treat me nicely every single day and not just today? Why can’t we all treat each other like it’s our birthday everyday? Wouldn’t that make this a better place to live in? + all the anxiety and responsibility that comes with planning and inviting which guests and hosting. Too much pressure
the closer and closer i get to my birthday (which is in a week now) the more upset i get. My parents want to buy sweets and presents for their friends (apparently “family friends” but i don’t really know them and aren’t my age) and I’ve repeatedly told them and shown them that it’s not what I want. It’s a milestone 16th birthday and I want to do something for me but I don’t even know if I’m going to be happy that day. I feel like saying this makes me narcissistic (like no one actually cares about my birthday so i shouldn’t be making a big deal out of it) but every time someone in my family mentions it, I literally am on the verge of breaking down. And I know I have cried on every birthday since I was ten, and knowing that it’s normal is just really comforting:)
It’s my 20th today. Same situation. No friends, except some who don’t care to even wish. Girlfriend didn’t even call. Maybe it’s over, who knows. We move no matter what.
I was crying while reading the entire article and your comments. I thought I was too immature to feel this way. 😭🤣
Oh, tomorrow is my birthday.
I’ve been experiencing birthday blues for 9 years. I never get excited when this month comes. Like most of you, I enjoy planning for others’ birthdays. But I never experienced even a simple celebration. I thought, nobody cares. They greet me on social media, but that’s it.
I never felt special. **Oh, gosh, I’m crying again.
In my 27 years of existence, I only received a cake once. Yes, just once. I only blew a candle once. It was from a friend, but she lives far from here.
Why am I feeling this way? Many factors. Relationship. Family, etc. I thought, ‘Oh, did he plan to ruin my birthday everytime?’ something like that.
Anyway, let’s hope a better time will come to us.
I’m quite relieved to express my emotions here. Thank you for this article! Now I know that I’m not alone.
Though here in my own home, I always feel sad, anxious and depressed.
My birthday is in few minutes. I just want to wish Ray, (below) Happy Belated to you. Youre so precious. I hope you feel better <3
It’s my 25th birthday today, I never wishes i always used to put extra effort for others Birthday but no one ever cared to celebrate mine literally I was sad nd depressed when I didn’t get any wishes or proper celebration it’s 4 am now and I could sleep even without my conscious I was crying that when I saw this article! I don’t know whether this could bring a change but atleast i feel good to vent my feelings!!
Another reason for disliking birthdays is abuse. It’s been documented that abusive partners target holidays and birthdays. After having enough birthdays in a row intentionally destroyed, a person can feel afraid or depressed when that date rolls around again.
I sympathise with Deeksha especially, as I always feel I make a special effort for other people’s birthdays and remember to send cards, but they don’t seem to bother to remember about mine. It’s so hurtful.
This was so helpful, thank you! I had my birthday a few days ago, and I was so frustrated with myself for not feeling as excited about it as should have, but reading your article helped me understand that I was just growing up and my needs were changing. I don’t need to have a huge party or do anything particularly special to celebrate it. I can just be. Thanks again!
It’s my birthday today. I thought it’d be different this year because it’s the first birthday I’m spending away from my abusive mother, with my loving boyfriend. I’ve told him for 3 years how difficult birthdays are for me, how they were always overshadowed by a narcissist mother, and that I never got to feel special on my special day. I guess I didn’t communicate it enough because he walked on eggshells all day and downplayed it being my birthday. I ended up taking a walk by myself and crying my heart out for several hours, getting myself a muffin and birthday candle and doing it for myself. He still doesn’t seem to understand why I’m so low today, when the day is running out and he’s treated this like any other day. I don’t know how to tell him I wanted to be made feel special today and that the way this birthday was, will just reaffirm it in my brain that I don’t get a special day for me on my birthday. If I’m spiralling into unreasonable thoughts and expectations, do let me know, I’d love to change my mindset to help with these feelings.
I had my birthday yesterday…and I can say I totally get how you are feeling. My parents both score high on the narcissistic spectrum so does my husband, so as usual, my father forgot my birthday, and my mother got me a totally inappropriate gift (anti-wrinkle face cream and some money) which se showed in my hand and went on her way. My husband baked me a pavlova cake (which would be a sweet thing, coming from someone else, but he is cheap, so this costed less, than buying a real one, not to mention that it wasn’t a successful bake). Although he promised he would take me out for dinner (during our 15 years together we dined out like 5 times, from which 3 times I invited him and payed for the food), he gave me the cake and went on his way, didn’t even wait for me to blow out the candle. I came home from a work trip, exhausted, hungry…not even a crumb of food in the house. So that was my special day…all alone and hungry. I really HATE birthdays, especially mine, and I try to act as if I don’t have birthdays, because they are never about me – I mean, those who are supposed to be close to me won’t even bother to spend time with me…I got some coupons from firms that I use to buy things from, and that was more personal than how my family treats me. And it really hurts, because I usually bend over backwards on every special occasion to please them…And if I say something they rebuff it, saying that I am selfish and spoiled and ungrateful.
It’s my 21st birthday tomorrow, and every year I plan something for my birthday but things never go right. It really makes me sad when I try so hard to give family and friends special surprises and never receive anything. The circumstances are never my way nor people are so excited for my day and because of all such experiences, I have stopped expecting anything for my birthdays.
And this year I only expected a small dinner out somewhere but it’s really frustrating when a pandemic doesn’t allow you even that happiness. I have to probably celebrate it some other day, but you never get the actual birthday feeling that way.
Well, 21 hits hard it’s scary to get old and I’m feeling most accomplished by the fact I have finally found what I want to do in life. So I’ll celebrate my birthday with that achievement, even though there is no celebration honestly. Oh, well.
My birthday was the 3rd. Something seems to ruin it every year. This year it was a selfish teenager convinced she can only go prom dress shopping on my birthday even though prom is 6 weeks out. I don’t really have any one to care except my family so it hits pretty rough especially since I go out of my way every holiday ever year for my wife and up until recently my stepkids. Sorry you have to go through that. It’s highly relatable .
I turned 40 today, yeah, just like all the 39 past birthdays, I was sad and depressed. Then I searched in google “why do people sad on the birthday”? Boom… got this article. Van, you made my day. I definitely found it why am I feeling sad on my cake days. Thank you so much! ❤️🤗
The past two years I’ve been basically alone on my birthday and felt so sad the whole day. Mine is tomorrow again and I’m dreading it because I feel uncared for, even though some family/friends I’m close to show me that I’m loved on my birthday. It’s nice to know that other people go through this and that I’m not crazy for being so sad every birthday that I have now.
It’s the week before my birthday and I was uncontrollably crying when I found this article. It really helped me a lot, I felt understood and the journal questions helped me see things with a positive light. Thank you so much for this, I feel better.
Heya, it’s my bdy and I feel better than before.
It’s my birthday today. The idea about answering those four questions is great. If you’re reading this in your birthday, happy birthday to you
Happy birthday! I’m so happy I found this after feeling the birthday blues. I get them every year during the peak of seasonal depression. And after the pandemic, I feel I’ve lost touch with so many. I plan on journaling ❤️
it feels better to read this the morning after my birthday and knowing that this feeling is normal is in some weird way comforting. I wish I could stop having expectations of people which is something I’m working on I just still sometimes can still have them and I don’t even mean too. I hope that tomorrow will be better 🙂
Today is my Birthday. I really wish I could feel happy and celebrate. All I want to is turn off the phone and hide.
Today is mine and this sums up my feelings exactly.
At least once we get past it, we can get on with the year.
Today is my birthday and I feel exactly the same way!!! It’s almost over.
Tomorrow is my birthday and i have no one to celebrate it with. My family lives in another country. I do feel sad about it but I’m turning 26 so i think I should just suck it up and treat it like any other day in the year.
My birthday that was on 6th Januray I was actually at school… I’m in 11th grade so I really had so much hopes that we would have fun,,, so my mum made the cake but it wasn’t good enough to the guests apparently .. i dressed up put on m makeup to go to the guests but no one cheered for me I was so sad and depressed it was the worst! i had to try and hype them up things refused apart from my one friend that recorded me and posted the rest were disgusted! i quickly ran inside and washed of my makeup because I figured I looked like a clown and I went back outside and just sat. when music was played, no one bothered to dance I decided to ran back inside and cry myself to sleep …so much for my sweet 16! i will never make such again and to think it was my first party howwww saddddd
I hope you make new friends that you like and are nice to you. This article was right, you should have a birthday that YOU want and I’ve been there too … trying to improve the vibe and cheer ppl up, but that’s not right, we aren’t clowns to cheer ppl up specially on YOUR Birthday. My birthday is January 24 and I have high expectations for it. It’s my big 21🙈 I have no plans and no friends (at least not the ones I want to spend my bday with) I want to go out of town and go somewhere exciting on an adventure. Idk how I’ll pull it off but wish me luck!!🤞🏻
Today is my bday and I am facing the same issue.I turened 21 today and I had planned to go somewhere which dint happen and now I am really sad and I don’t know what to do.Could u tell me what did u do on ur bday?
I feel alone on my birthday and during the other regular days too.
I have no expectations for birthdays, just feel a generalized sense of sadness. I feel like listening to cold play and old 2000s sad songs. Crying feels good sometimes. 🙂
Birthdays can be a little depressing, we’re growing older, and we don’t live forever. We’re temporary people on earth celebrating getting older, and getting closer to death every minute that passes by.
Birthdays also make me think of the meaning of life. Why am I here? Just to get old, reproduce, and die?
Maybe some questions are better unanswered. May be too hard for people to comprehend yet. I don’t know.
Birthdays suck for me. I put zero expectations. But they still manage to suck. I don’t have much control over them. That’s the main reason why. It’s during a time where all my friends are out of town. So I can’t really celebrate with friends. My family doesn’t have the culture of celebrating birthdays. They never do. And the older you are, the less big of a deal your birthday is. And it slowly reaches a point where it just isn’t acknowledged anymore. So I spend the birthday doing really mundane things like work and errands. I know social media doesn’t help but how do people get birthday cakes? I just find it baffling! It really feels like another universe when people get to blow out birthday candles and are given presents. I never got that experience. It’s not like I want to be swamped in presents but A single present would be nice. I can’t even take control over my own birthday anymore. Treating myself out is too expensive for me. Perhaps a lot of this has to do with the fact that there’s this pre convinced notion that your birthday is your SPECIAL day and therefore needs to be perfect. And it’s really a matter of breaking free from that mindset and treating your birthday, Christmas Day, and even the new year like any normal day. Yes, it’s nice to celebrate and be celebrated but there’s no way out of this mess
Quite frankly, everybody deserves to be celebrated.
I can relate so much to this! And it´s even worse when you do everything for your family and friends, meanwhile they dont do shit for you. I hate my birthdays so much, its just another reminder that I´m still not happy and I haven´t done what I want to do with my life. TBH it´s nobody´s fault. I always get sad the day before, it´s a thing I always had even when my birthday was celebrated. IDK if there is something wrong with me. I just hope that one day… I could be happy around my birthday, realising that I´m who I always wanted to be.
My birthday is Christmas eve… So when I lived in the States it was ALWAYS overshadowed. I remember having a birthday party as a teen and receiving regifted gifts from my friends. I have this raging anger towards my birthday even now that I don’t live in the States. This year I thought I can handle celebrating with a couple of close friends, but when they told me about the plans (they really put thought into planning) I got so angry I told them to cancel it and I haven’t answered them since… I don’t know what to do because on one hand I don’t want to celebrate my birthday at all but on the other hand I know I’ll be upset to see them doing something else that day instead…
Tomorrow is my birthday and I feel myself angrier than ever. I never liked this day even as a child, but things have gone from bad to worse over the last years. I feel myself like if I wanted to die at once. I cannot cope with this misery.
I’m so sorry you’re feeling this way. We encourage you to reach out to someone you trust or professional help to better support you. Text CONNECT to 741741 to chat with a Crisis Counselor or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. – Kensi | Science of People Team
Dear Hector, i really feel you and I want you to know that you are not alone! As I am reading this I can tell you that i feel exactly the same towards myself. Tomorrow is my birthday and I feel like I want to disappear so no one contacts me. But I want to make myself stronger by learning to support me and love me and I think that should be our first priority since the birthday comes and goes but a whole year is there and we need to make it work by putting ourselves first so I wanted to write you this and tell you that I’m hoping your bday blues is over but your life adventure only starting and continues to surprise you every other day with small but new winnings xoxo
Iam sad that my birthday is on december. Many of my friends forgets about it easily as they enjoy their own holidays. I am not mad at them but I just feel sad.
Hey there. HAPPY BIRTHDAY STRANGER!
As a fellow sagittarius I know how you feel. Plus there’s also the pressures and stresses of xmas. I dont even have time for a birthday. All my friends are usually at work Christmas parties on my birthday. Can’t blame them though..
Any way I hope you enjoy your special day 😃
HAPPY SAGITTARIUS SEASON ❤️
Its good to know that I’m not the only one who gets the birthday blues. I consider myself an introvert and for me birthdays have always been hard. So today when I woke up I felt so depressed that I even cried but in the middle of it I said fuck it I don’t want to spend my day all alone and sad. So this is what I did. I took a shower and left my house with no particular destination in mind. I treated my self out all on my own and trust me I had such an awesome time and even made some new friends. Like my favorite musician once said “the only apparatus required for happiness is your pain and going outside”
I totally underatand! My birthday is on December 20th… it’s not easy. But I hope you were able to do something nice for yourself!
WARNING: What follows is a rant, so if it is not allowed, please feel free to delete the comment!
My birthday is actually today! (some cheer) But it really doesn’t feel like. I got about 6 birthday wishes from friends or family, I have 11 in my family. (so do that maths)
Every year, my birthday comes and goes like it was nothing. My mother does try to help to celebrate something, but it usually doesn’t work almost every year.
My birthday is also over shadowed by a holiday in my community, so yippee for me. Everyone is usually too busy with that event to celebrate my birthday. (imagine your birthday was on Christmas, that is what my birthday is like.)
The questions that you listed at the beginning of the article are true. I hate every single one of them when I am asked. You said that we shouldn’t keep silent, and express what we want. But, I was always taught to not be a hassle, and it is hard trying to express my wants. Also, I do have a side that wishes people will remember my birthday by themselves!
Someone asked me to come over to them so they can wish me happy birthday. If they were ill, off course I would go over, but they are healthy, with 2 working legs. It got me so angry and mad, why couldn’t they just put a little effort to make me happy!?
Some of my friends have tried to make it a happy day, but I always notice that I am second. I can see the parties and events that happen on this day, not for me but for the holiday and it does get me very upset!!!
I have also spent the majority of the day working hard for my finals. So, not really an enjoyable way to spend it.
Oh well, there is always next year. 🙁
I hope no one took this the wrong way and will totally understand if this was taken down. Just needed a way to vent and not feel alone.
Thank you for reading,
Today is my birthday and I feel particulary depressed today. I live in another country, away from family and friends. I have friends here, but it’s just not the same.
Thank you for this article, definitely deepens my understanding of how I’m feeling today. I will definitely do the list to lift my spirits!
I’m turning 24 today and I just have this overwhelming sense of anxiety because it’s my birthday. This happens every year that I just quit expecting anything so I’m never let down. Well this year I made one plan to take a walk on the beach with a friend but the plans had to change due to the current situation. It upset me to another level because the one year I decide to try to feel good on my birthday this minor inconvenience has set me off to no other. I just wish I stayed home and did nothing now.
I will be turning 17 on 4 th of December.Every year this day has been the most significant day for me.This year everything is different . With no social life , I am just caught at home with my parents .Its not like they are too strict or anything but they expect too much from me.They expect me to wake up at 4 in the morning , study for 18 hours a day ,lose weight , take care of my skin etc.But what they dont realise that all of this burdens me a lot.I try my best to match up to their expectations but still fall short of something .This makes me very demotivated and demoralised . They often taunt me about my weight ,calling me by names which because of which I cry almost everyday.I have tried my best but with so much of studies and classes it becomes impossible to take out time and energy to do intense exercise.They expect me to be perfect in everything .Also they are very moody.So like they will be talking nicely to me for a second and then suddenly they will be rude as anything.They keep cribbing about how much difficulties and pain I have brought in their lives. This makes me feel guilty of just being in this world .They keep comparing me to some extra smart all rounder kid which makes me feel pathetic. They never apologise on their mistakes and It’s always me who says sorry even when I am not at fault
I just sometimes feel so useless and unwanted . I just can’t explain .And this birthday makes me feel even worse.
Felt like sharing my grievances so typed this out
I’m so sorry you’re feeing this way. We encourage you to reach out to someone you trust or professional help to better support you. Thank you for sharing <3 - Kensi | Science of People Team
You are beautiful and you shouldn’t let anyone make you feel otherwise!! I hope you had an amazing birthday even without a lot of friends 🙂 Never feel useless, you are here for a reason
I feel for you 🙏🏻 You are perfect the way you are and I’m sure your parents are being strict bc they love you but I wouldn’t like to feel that way either. I’m very vocal so I’d talk to them about it but if your jot vocal about your feelings you should write them a letter and leave it on their bed. Things always get better once your realize the issue, I hope you have a 🎉HAPPY BIRTHDAY 🎉 and see how awesome you are 😎
I’m turning 18 this Friday. Because of my dad’s job, I’ve had to move around every couple of years. This is the 9th country I’m living in, and as much as I love traveling, I hate moving. I can never have friends for more than 2 years. I fell into a really bad depression from 8th grade to mid junior year because of this and I thought I was finally recovering. But thinking about how all of my past friends are moving on without me makes me so sad. It’s like I meant nothing to them. I promised myself sophomore year that I’d commit if I wasn’t happy by 18 and I’m still not happy!! Ofc I’m not gonna go through with it cuz that’s just stupid but ugh, I really hate birthdays. I feel ridiculous for even complaining about such a small thing when people are literally starving and dying around the world but I just feel so empty. This wasn’t how it was supposed to go.
My relationship with my family is super rocky bc of a lot of reasons so it’s not like I can even celebrate with them. All my relatives are either in a different country or dead.
I have nobody. Literally no one. Maybe next year will be better? That’s what I always hope for but in all honesty, it never gets better. Just worse.
Well… I doubt anyone will see this but keep your head up 🙂 (I really should listen to my own advice.) Happy Birthday <3
I’m so sorry you feel alone, but we are celebrating you here! Thanks for sharing <3 - Kensi | Science of People Team
Hey kare, I feel you. I was you. But listen up: you turning 18 is the best gift in the word because you get to set out on your own adventure and surround yourself w the people you want. You want to be around assholes, stay where you are. If not, pick a school pick a city and start your life. You are not bound to your parents. You are bound to yourself. Get started. Life your life for yourself. Make money. But your own gifts and be happy.
Hello, my birthday is tomorrow,
My sister and parents bought for me yesterday a cake from my cousin. I saw it before on her story and this made me upset because it ruined the surprise. my sister invited her fiancé with his sisters so when they bring the cake my reaction was so normal I wasn’t surprised, also my sister made me a customized jacket with my caricature on the other side, the hair was black (my hair is brown) so this made me also feel more angry, I didn’t enjoy it at all, also the cake wasn’t tasty or like what I love and I made them feel sad also, feeling guilty but I really wanted a very nice planned birthday. final note: I wanted them to celebrate my birthday tomorrow in the real date because it will be more surprising and now there’s no more lock down.
I am turning 18 on Monday, December 21, 2020. Growing up, my birthday was always one of the most exciting days of the year. I always wanted a big party with all of my friends, but I wasn’t going to complain about eating cake, having a special supper, and opening presents either. I always remembered my friends’ birthdays to the point they found it freaky, and I knew I always remembered theirs better than they remembered mine; besides, mine is right before Christmas and kind of gets lost in the shuffle.
When I was in 11th grade in 2018, the girl I liked at the time said she didn’t want me to get her anything or make a big deal out of it, even though it was her 16th birthday and turning 16 is supposed to be a big deal. I didn’t understand it at the time, but when I turned 16 a month later, I started to feel old, like my life was over and I hadn’t done anything with it.
I turn 18 in just under a month as of this writing, and it would be nice if everybody were just to forget about it as though the day didn’t exist. I fully expect none of my friends to e-mail me or anything, but I know my family is going to want to make a big deal out of it. It’s just yet another year of my life I’ll never get back, it’s a milestone age, and for what it’s worth I had a hard time this year, getting my first job, graduating from high school and starting college. I don’t mind the idea of having a special day of the year dedicated to celebrating me, but I just wish it weren’t correlated with “getting old.”
Sorry if the formatting is messed up; this was typed on a mobile device (specifically a Nintendo DS).
I felt the same when I was 16-18 I felt so old and like my life didn’t go anywhere bc I had ALLLLLL these expectations I didn’t meet and felt like a failure. I’m turning 21, on January 24 (5 days away) and idk what to do yet or how to feel😰 I am happy that I’m moving out of my parents house and live in Chandler AZ (2h away from my parents but I’ll take that). I’m moving in w my boyfriend, he is 31 jajajaa (he’s a complete secret not even my friends or parents know) he makes me feel young lol which I am but I he’s helping me grow like you have no idea, he helped me open up my first credit card, helped me open a brokerage account (TD Ameritrade) and helped me set up my personal phone plan (bc my parents would spy on my phone w the family plan)…anyway. I feel like this huge change will open so many doors for me. I’m going to transfer to ASU as a Junior in college and work in my free time. My boyfriend advises me to save save save and puts so many great ideas and plans in my head but he helps me put them to action. I met him last year on November 7, 2020 and today is Jan 19, 2021. I think we’re moving to fast lol but I’m ready to spread my wings and fly out of my parents nest.
Wow it went from a birthday rant to my boyfriend rant 😅😅😅😅 sorry I just haven’t told anyone about him and I know that’s not good but I feel safe around him so don’t worry❤️ Anyway hope someone read this or not but hope you have a wonderful life 🙏🏻 Shoot me a text on my insta anapvt20
Today is my birthday and honestly, I’ve always wanted to skip birthdays.
I’m always the type to go on full supportive mood when it comes to other people’s birthdays–I don’t know why, I just do–and sometimes I truly regret it. Being a student, people will want to be friends with you only if it benefits them–like if you’re pretty, it’ll give them popularity points or if you’re smart, you can be their on-the-go teacher–and I’m neither of those things. Someone from high school once told me their honest opinion about me and it was that they’ve always thought of me as a “filler character in a movie,”. Exactly those words, and while it was harsh, it was as true as it can be. I never stopped believing in that because I am. I’ve never felt like the main character in my own life, I’ve always felt like a “filler”. I never had any close group of friends, a bestie, or even a teacher who took extra notice in me. I just exist–like a random stranger with no background info whose sole purpose is too fill the room and make it more crowded. That’s how I feel, every single fucking day. And it sucks, very, very bad. There’s no purpose in celebrating my birthday and my life is already a mistake as it is, adding birthday celebrations just adds one more.
I hate it. I hate being alone and I definitely hate being just a “filler”. I wished my mom really proceeded with aborting me 20 years ago.
I hate birthdays. Truly.
Hi Julia. I’m so sorry that you are feeling this way. Please know that you are important and needed in this world whether it feels that way or not. You are valuable just as you are- no superpowers needed. If anyone makes you feel this way, it says more about them than you, and you don’t need to let these thoughts define you and your future! I encourage you to reach out to someone you trust- personally or professionally- who can talk with you more. We appreciate your honesty here. -Kensi | Science of People Team
I’ve been dreading my birthday since my last one. I’m so hyper aware of every day/week/month that goes by, and it makes me so crazy and sad. It’s gotten so bad that I wish I was dead. I don’t want to get older and I try to make everyday fun and memorable. I’m turning 27 soon and I know that’s a young age still but it’s so close to 30, which is the only age milestone I’ve ever dreaded. I’m not ready. I’m so depressed and anxious. I want to feel like my old self again 😔
Hi Zara. We’re so sorry that you are feeling this weight and sadness. You are important, and the world needs you! We appreciate you sharing your heart here, and we would definitely recommend you reach out to someone close to you or a professional that you trust to receive more support if you are feeling this way. Birthdays are hard! – Kensi | Science of People Team
Ever since I turned 20 I have dreaded birthdays. I feel a fear and dread of being older. Thanks fully because I’ve always looked ten years younger and felt it I have got away with it and put my age back by ten years. My husband is ten years younger that me. I wish I was one of those people that was proud of my age and it was no big deal to me but it is. It’s a horrid prison. I sometimes think of committing suicide rather than get another year older.
Hi Suzanne. I’m so sorry that you are feeling this way. You are not alone, and please know that you are SO important and needed in this world! I’d like to recommend texting or calling 800-273-8255 if your thoughts get too heavy or difficult. I appreciate you sharing, and you are valued, heard, and appreciated here! -Kensi | Science of People Team
Hi I’m Sneha
I love myself and adore myself so much. Over the years though a little lesser because of the critical people in my life that I’m surrounded by all the time. I would love for someone to celebrate me, I’d just like that from a few people who’ve been fair to me all year and not just fake show it on my birthday. I’ve hated my birthday because my mom of all the people treats me horribly throughout the year. She takes and takes and takes and is never happy with anything I do. While on my birthday she wants to own it like oh I’m celebrating you. I gave birth to you. Suddenly I’m not the maid she hired by birth. She makes me feel like she’s doing the dues. Take a gift and any gift she wants to shove it on me. She doesn’t really care what I actually need otherwise even if it’s just basics. It makes me angry. Why would she be nice to be just because it’s my birthday? Then birthdays shouldn’t exist. Because I don’t want you to feel obligated to celebrate me for the heck of it.
I hate getting special treatment because of some default. I want to be special to someone for actually being special. You just tell me you love me randomly I’m going to love you forever. Don’t have to be materialistic at all. I don’t have too much expectations.
Also I don’t like outsiders who’ve not asked me how I’ve been for the longest of time, don’t know anything about me. Suddenly want to get cuddly and snuggly. Get the *uck off my face.(sorry about the language) but I feel strongly.
I would love a surprise and some celebrations but only if everyone enjoys it; not as an obligation to put me on some pedestal for a day only to bark at me the next. I don’t transform into an Angel on my birthday and the demon the next —then why the partiality why the shift? Why do you care what I plan to do in that 24 hours? Get a life! I don’t want your formality.
I expect -I’m human. Tomorrow is my birthday (and I already cried about it) that I wanted my boyfriend to be here with me. He’s not going to be here. If I voiced it he would get angry for being childish to have such expectations. I just want to spend time with people who want the best for me. Is that too much to ask. I don’t know many people to be honest. I have been living with rules that discouraged strong bonds and friendships. So whoever I know I would love to spend some time with them.
My family love me and I love them, more like the attachment over the years but I cannot live in denial of the fact that they don’t show me love otherwise ever. I’m tired of craving that emotional attachment like I’m carrying a big hole in my heart. I’d love for that to feel whole. It’s tough to do it living in the same environment that caused it. I know in my heart that I’m working on it. I know if I crack this I’ll be unmessable with! So that’s my next year’s birthday gift to me! To become someone who no one can mess with.
Fill myself with so much attention so much love so much pampering and so much of that which I deserve (and was always denied). I’ll give myself the friend I never got to have. I’ll give myself the caressing that no one gives. I’ll be special to me. I’ll be the person who acknowledges my own special. If I can be my own becon of light imagine what can not happen in my life!
Happy birthday! 🎂❤️😘 I love myself and I deserve love! I know in my heart I’m a nice human (I don’t need anyone to tell me that). I know it and that’s enough.
Thankyou for this portal to be able to express! Thankyou!
The last bit made me feel a little better. only one person other than my sister said happy birthday. everything else feels like theyre just reciting lines, cause they have to. no one feels genuine and i hate getting attention even though i want it.
We hear you- it’s so hard! For what it’s worth, happy birthday- you are always worth celebrating!
I feel so relieved,there are people like myself.God i feel some kind of sadness on my birthday…although i live with my husband and son,i feel my husband may say something unknowingly mean like other days and it will hurt me.I try to stay away From everyone.i just want kindness and warm words as someone mentioned here…may be i am expecting too much…anyways 22Nov falls on a Sunday and With lockdown not sure where to hide:-)
Mine is on the 23rd! Happy birthday! I feel exactly the same way. I wish I could feel calm about turning 20 but I’m honestly dreading it. I just know how sad i will get if one person I care about forgets my birthday, as I would never forget there’s…
So relate to you!
So it’s my birthday today and I feel sad that it is only going to be there for one day! Sounds greedy but as the day passes by and evenings is the time I feel worse even though I’m having a good time and enjoying. Not sure if this happens to all but if it does, please be assured you’re not the only one!!
Happy birthday… enjoy your day love 💕
If you’re reading this, it’s a sign, you’re doing great, HAPPY BIRTHDAY. I know how you feel and you’re definitely not alone. I love you. A lot can change in a year and I recommend you write a letter to your future self. One year from now, you’ll be so glad you did, trust me.
If you didn’t have a great day, it’s okay. Also if you’re an overthinker, your mind is lying to you, trust me.
My birthday is tomorrow, which is great. I’m excited is what I want to say. But I know I’m not. I’m honestly scared. And I even know why. What if people don’t live upto my expectations? I have a good friend circle that cares about me, but my anxiety convinces me that they may let me down. My mind is lying to me, hopefully. My family too is quite supportive, thank God.
Anyway I’m using this comment section because I don’t want to talk about it to anyone. It’s good to know I’m not alone. Exactly 24 hours to my birthday. Hope it goes well. If you read this far, thank you so much, please pray for me.
Loads of love ❤️
Love this- thank you so much for sharing and encouraging! We are grateful for you! -Kensi | Science of People Team
I turned 17 today (exactly 14 minutes until my bdays finished, maybe 12/13 by the time I’ve written this comment) I had a great day with my family and I got such great and thoughtful gifts but I just feel so guilty that I’ve put people out money. I feel like this every year and it gets me down. I also worry every year about getting older! It’s so frustrating because I was 16 on the 23rd yet now I’m 17 I still feel the same! It’s so crazy and super anxiety inducing so it’s always around midnight on the night of my birthday that I panic and feel so depressed and anxious. I also feel like time is slipping though my hands like sand; I get so depressed because my birthday signifies another year of life over me. Oh well, what can I do, I can’t stop time. Especially with this Covid I feel like my 16th year was a bit wasted- I didn’t go on holiday, I barely saw my family, I missed out on doing gcses, the virus filled me with anxiety so much so that I could barely function. I just hope 17 will be better! Tbh I’m not as bad as I usually would be on my birthday but I still feel a bit anxious although I will settle down over the next couple of weeks. Next year I’ll be 18 which scares me so much. I’ll be fine, God will look after me. God bless everyone who reads this comment, give your life to Christ and it will make life and death seem so much more meaningful. Pray to Him on your birthday, the One who gave you life, and it will all work out.
Birthdays can be so hard! And how confusing the emotions and thoughts that come with it. Just remember that you are always worth celebrating! Thanks for trusting us with your thoughts and feelings.
Happy belated birthday love;
Praying for you
You’re gonna be just fine.
17 will treat you well.
For those who read this and feel alone on their birthday, I just want to wish you a happy birthday. We might never meet, but if you’ve found this article to help illuminate what you already know on what you believe should be a great day, then we share a common trait.
I didn’t grow up with birthday parties. And hardly have friends to celebrate with. And when I did celebrate, it never felt genuinely fun or even about me. I have family members that don’t remember or know my birthday, or don’t contact me. And I have a husband who tries his best to see me happy, but disappointed when he sees if I’m even slightly sad. I don’t have a community of people who support me as I’m always busy with work and being a mom. And work is of course far from nurturing, and is not the place to celebrate me. I tend to feel invaluable and lonely most of the time, but birthdays and holidays are the worst.
I read articles like this to remind me that I alone don’t suffer like this. And hope that there are others out there that if they knew me, and actually have the empathy because they know how I feel, that those same people would appreciate me and maybe celebrate my birthday in spirit with me.
Because I would do the same.
Again, happy birthday. I’m rooting for you, my kindred spirit.
Hey! Happy Belated BB! Hope your day was amazing! Sorry we couldn’t get together, with COVID, I wanted to keep by best friend safe! Best wishes, your BFF, Viv!
I find myself depressed for the past 2 years at birthday time .. Im seeking to understand why – but it seems to be none of the reasons in this article. For me it is about grief, remembering a close friend who died a terribly and I was there and basically have ptsd from it. The grief resurfaces and that must be why for me.
❤️❤️ thank you for your love and I really hope that you can have a good one ! Love you
This is beautiful and so appreciated! <3
Your comment brought tears to my eyes. Really made me emotional on my birthday. I hope you had a great birthday, love.
I’m 17 years old this year and for my birthday in February I didn’t do anything as my friends had school (we’re in different schools) and my best friend didn’t even text me till the evening. I know I sound selfish but I just don’t feel appreciated sometimes as I go all out on their birthdays. I always wonder “is it so hard to do the same for me?”. But tbh I never brought up that issue to them either so it’s partly my fault as well. But even though I’ve been alone for the past few birthdays I’m starting to appreciate myself more and enjoy being on my own as depressing as that sounds😂
My birthday is coming on monday 16th, now i feel sick and depressed i feel like i wanna end my life for being burden to my family and still haven’t make them happy. I was turning 21 btw, each year the more im getting older the more birthday blues i reveived every year. Idk too, i feel sad. Always. Knowing the fact I don’t have many friends and getting older making it worse. I wish I could skip the day and living my life as nothing happen i mean its better than receiving fake attentions from people especially ur family, when you know they only care for you just on your bday. I freakin hate it. Thank you for ur article, it made me realize that im not alone. Thank you. Bless you.
Hi Nara. I hear every word, and we’re so sorry that you are feeling this weight and sadness. Please know what you are not a burden, and if anyone makes you feel that way or that you don’t make them happy, it’s their own struggle, not yours. You deserve to live your life to its fullest and in a way that brings YOU joy. We appreciate you sharing your heart here, and we would definitely recommend you reach out to someone close to you that you trust to receive more support if you are feeling this way. You are important, and the world needs you as you are! – Kensi | Science of People Team
I feel exactly the same. <3
I really hate the attention on my birthday, but I also am hurt when people I naturally put effort into, don't reciprocate my efforts. I know I need to lower my expectations but I find it so inherently natural to be kind and give everything to my friends and family, that it always leads me to getting upset when I don't get the same treatment.
Thank you for this post! This really shifted my perspective on my birthday. I often feel not valuable and so I do not like being celebrated, but the journaling questions especially helped me reflect on who I am/what I have accomplished.
Every year when my birthday is around the corner, I’ve noticed that I feel very down, upset, angry, anxious and nervous. Every year I read articles to understand why I feel this way when everyone I know is very excited on their birthdays. I’ve come to a point where I have to educate everyone around me that this is not something “stupid” or that I am not the only person who feels this way, but I still could not manage to make them understand. I hate this pressure that everyone puts on you on your birthday for example by saying “Are you exited?”, “How are you going to celebrate your birthday?”, “Are you having fun?”… These questions just make my anxiety reach a peek point and that what makes me to always cry on my birthday. I hate the fact that I must read my birthday wishes (which btw are always sugar coated and written by people that I am sure dont mean a word they are saying), plus having to reply as if I am excited just makes me so sad. I dont like those family gatherings or going out with “friends” to celebrate because I hate all the attention since I am an introvert. I have this fear that something bad is going to happen all the time and the fact that on your birthday its all about you, I always have a feeling that something is going to ruin it (even though I already feel like its the worst day of the year).
It’s my birthday tomorrow and like every year I had a breakdown. I’m not sure why I feel this way but it makes me nervous how people always expect so much of me on my birthday. I have to be happy and upbeat and when I’m not they get upset. It’s the one day a year where I’m allowed to be selfish yet I have to make everyone happy and give them what they want from me to make them feel better. It sounds entitled but it’s just the way I see it. And it always ends up with me lashing out at someone putting too much pressure on me then being ridden with guilt and apologizing. I can never feel happy on my birthday because it’s just a reminder that it’s a new year for me and yet nothing in my life points in the direction I want it to. It renders the entire day meaningless to me. All I want to do on my birthday is sit in complete isolation until the next day begins and no one gives a crap anymore. I wish I could change and be the type of person that’s ecstatic to celebrate their birthday. I don’t know how to change it.
Thank you I can relate to this so much. I get sad the days leading up to my birthday and I would also just isolate myself the day of if I could. I started thinking “Well.. I like celebrating other people and celebrating holidays so I guess I do like celebrations,” “Maybe I just don’t like the attention on myself?” I can’t quite figure out why I don’t enjoy my birthday like others. But glad to know I’m not the only one feeling like this.
officially my birthday ended. i cannot say i am fully happy. so it seems i have birthday blues. cuz of covid i celebrated with family and my puppy. i am thankful but feel like crying nonstop. some of my friends sent me text messages. i wasn’t really happy. i wanted to disconnect. my close friends totaly forgot my birthday. they always do so i thought i am used to it. but i hate it. they totally ignore me on my birthday. maybe i should reconsider my friend list. i am thankful for the ones who wished me good.but why this affects me emotionally. and it is true…i look at my accomplishments but i see nothing. i just hate being old. i am scared of becoming a loner my whole life. it is the total opposite of my wishes. but it is true the more i get older the less people care. but that totally hurts. is there a solution for that? i am a little jealous of young people it is could to celebrate birthdays when young but not when getting old. i donno it felt like commenting too although i might sound so similar to others.
Wow this makes so much sense. My birthday is in 2 days and I couldn’t understand why I was feeling this way. There’s just a lot going on and as stated, it’s not easy getting older. I will use these tips moving forward! Thanks again for this!
Thank you for explaining why I feel this way. I moved to the UK nearly 4yrs ago and hardly made any friends. not much family members just my husband. He is supportive. Actually, he is starting to annoy me as he is keen on celebrating my birthday which is today btw but I just feel like staying at home, work on my business plan and organise some bits.
Hi.. Thank you so much for this explanation and comment box!.. I so badly want to tell somebody what I feel but I can’t.. Atleast I can share it here 😌.. So birthdays why do they even exsist 🙄.. On my birthdays I don’t want to have something grand but.. I just wanna be happy on that day!! Why do people no where come on that day and wishes u and again gets invisible.. Like whyyy do people even take time on birthday.. Don’t wish me if you can’t be loyal to me or even genuinely care about me.. It hurts it hurts alot.. Being alone is better than being surrounded by fake people!! And I wanna tell everybody including my family I don’t feel happy on my bday please let me be alone.. It’s k if I don’t feel happy.. It’s not bcoz of you.. And don’t force me to be happy bcoz I should be thankful for what you do for me.. I’m thankful but I don’t feel happy on that day 😑
My birthday is in just a few days. And 2020 has been nothing but the worst. So I’m really scared of celebrating my birthday this year. I’ve always been extremely excited about my birthdays. But this year. I AM NOT AT ALL EXCITED. I just want it to get over soon. And it’s really confusing. My last birthday also turned out really bad for some reason and i was in my hometown. This year also owing to the pandemic I’m in my hometown. And this just makes it worse. I don’t want my relatives or cousins to come. I just want to be left alone with my dog and my sibling and my parents. I just wanna sleep, eat and watch good movies, read a book. I really don’t want anyone else to know. This is really confusing and anxiety provoking to me.
I’m so sorry, Mili. I know how difficult birthdays can be, and how confusing the emotions and thoughts that come with it. Just remember that you are always worth celebrating! Thanks for trusting us with your thoughts and feelings.
I can appreciate this article. Most people probably wouldn’t think I fit into this category, but I do….every year. I’m mid, well now late 30s, with two kids and a great husband but I get the melancholy birthday blues every year. I don’t have a best girlfriend that plans things and the 3 males in my household do their best, but I never quite feel right. I can’t tell what category I fall into, maybe a few. It’s kind of comforting though to know that I’m not the only one. It’s weird, I want to skip my birthday but at the same time secretly want to love it. 🤷🏼♀️
Ah good to know that I’m not alone. My “sweet 16” is in 16 days and I’m honestly really depressed about it. I like being 15… I know my sweet 16/golden birthday will not be anything like my other birthdays. I always set up high expectations even though I know better. Guess I just have the birthday blues
My birthday is about to finish in 10 minutes.
I was so depressed today. I couldn’t think straight or get anything done it was such an effort to even eat anything.
I still can’t understand why I’m feeling like. I mean I have everything I want or could have but I don’t know I feel very empty on the inside.
I wasn’t expecting anything today but I thought that at least I was going to feel special but that Didi g happen either.
And there you go my birthday is officially over.
I’m so sorry, Shivani. I know you feel alone, but you aren’t alone in feeling this way on your birthday. Birthdays are so, so hard. I’m grateful that you feel safe here to share what you are going through. We are always here to listen.
Hi my birthday will be tomorrow I hate this because my family doesn’t talk to me in 19 years over reason very hard for me to be upset when my birthday is coming but hope in 3 years time will have 50 th party if my family will talk to me or not how will I treat on my birthday tomorrow can u help to discuss on this my birthday
Looking forward to hear from u
I’m so sorry that this is so hard, Caroline. Not having family around is a major founder of the birthday blues. In response to your question about treating yourself, in the article, Vanessa mentions a few ideas on how to make your day unique and how to beat the blues- I hope something stands out to you! Celebrating you and your birthday from here! -Kensi | Science of People Team
I really hope that my the time your 50th b-day comes around your family will find it in their hearts to forgive you and let love be their guide. I too have a birthday tomorrow turning 45. All I wish for is to be delivered without any put downs or fighting. I only wish my family would out me in the spotlight just for one day. And money is not needed. Just warm words and kindness. We all deserve to have that in our day. I truly hope you have your next birthdays to come in that way. I pray to have one like that tomorrow but if not will keep praying… God bless.
Such a brilliant article, described my feelings and sentiments exactly. I can’t say I’ve EVER had a birthday that’s the ‘full shebang’ – tonnes of guests, balloons, party poppers, loads of food, loud music etc etc. But tbh, that isn’t my thing, I’m WAY too reserved/socially awkward and simply don’t have the amount of friends required 😜 I just tend to go out and have a meal and maybe spend some of my birthday money. But just like you said, I think the best thing to do is try to do as many meaningful things as you can each year – big, small, anything. Then whenever a birthday does come around, you (hopefully) won’t feel like you just let the year pass by not having done/accomplished anything. And try to work on or eliminate anything that is negative or unhelpful in your life. Thank you for this article, it’s very helpful and clarifying for me and others in my position.
today is my 15th birthday,i was originally looking forward to it…and now …i’m not. People are thinking i need attention,which i don’t.They don’t mean anything when hey wish me,and that kinda hurts…They don’t even bother to look at me.I felt left out and unimportant.But after seeing this i realize that i don’t really need to depend on others to have a blast on my birthday. They are great on their own as well!Thank you so much for clearly explaining this. It has helped me greatly.
Thank you so much for this! I never understood why I am sad or how to fix it. I usually just lay in bed and cry but today I am documenting my day so next year I can watch it and do it again. You’ve gave me an amazing coping skill.
It just feels good to know I am not the only one feeling this way. I always thought it was so weird, that I was being selfish and unappreciative.
My 19th birthday is in 4days time and I feel really empty. All I want is just warm words and act of kindness. I really don’t need money from anyone. It helps knowing I am not the only one who feels this way and I’ll make conscious effort to reach out to others before, during and after their birthdays. Thank you so much for this article
My birthday has always been an awful time for me. For my 30th birthday, I invited a few people to come for dinner. Only one person came, I am grateful for that person. But I was also sad because I realized how little I mean to others, “friends of convenience”.
In about a month I turn 33, I’m already sad. I’m not working due to COVID. I was hoping to travel but with no income, this puts a hitch in that plan.
It makes me sad that I don’t have strong fulfilling connections that want to celebrate, as I wish to celebrate others.
I have been working on self-love, I do feel this will resolve my birthday dysphoria.
Very similar story here. Today is my bday, and I’m on here reading like minded stories after googling this struggle. Not how I ever imagined it would turn out after years of celebrating it with my own friends of convenience in the past. It’s incredibly tough and difficult to prevail from, but not impossible. One hurting stranger to another, wishing you the best on your quest for self-love. Hope your next one this month was or will be at least a bit easier for you.
My birthday is in 8 days and I am very hurt and sadden by it. All the things that I would do to entertain / celebrate myself or with friends are all shut down due to this pandemic. I don’t have a boyfriend or close family to share my moment with and due to this pandemic I can’t even do a quick get away. My friends have no idea how to celebrate me so I don’t even bother to express myself. I can’t wait until this moment past. This is hitting me hard because throughout the year, I am completely selfless! This is the only time of year that the spotlight could actually be on me and unfortunately that’s not happening. I hate outdoor venues because I can’t predict the weather nor do enjoy sweating in the summer heat.
Hello, today I “celebrated” my 20th birthday. It was nothing, can’t even call it a celebration. Family didn’t even remember that it was my birthday and toxic friends never really liked me, so they also didn’t remember about anything. Only when I bought a cake for myself, everyone suddenly remembered, but instead of getting even a one “Happy Birthday!”, they just ate what I bought for myself. This happens every year, but I hope that with your tips, I’ll someday have a happy birthday.
May your 21st birthday and many, many more birthdays after that be a happier, more enjoyable one Alina. Worse come to worst, I’ll celebrate with you next time 🙂
Thank you for this. Today was my 40th birthday. I hated every second of it. I just wanted to be alone and take a nap (note, I did NOT get to). Expectations are never met, I have to modify my food, cake and gift wishes to make others happy. The last couple of years, I begged to just “skip it.” My husband won’t. Which may be a good thing because I would probably be hurt if he actually didn’t acknowledge it. But at the same time I just don’t want to deal with any of it. It isn’t fun anymore.
i get it Trish. Just having my birthday today and can’t wait for midnight and for it to be over. I just have never enjoyed all the hoopla. I like acknowledging others but the whole social celebration just feels unnecessary. I have such angst at matching my husbands enthusiasm for my birthday. I just don’t feel present on my birthday. And its so draining to get through. Yet if I was alone with no one wanting to be with me that would be hard to. Such a strange experience.
I definitely feel this birthday depression. Its my 21st birthday today and I just stayed in and out of bed feeling sad. I was expecting some type of surprise. Something planned for me but instead I got nothing. I guess thats part of the high expectations brining me down but its my 21st birthday. I feel like today was a waste. I can try to celebrate myself next weekend but it doesn’t feel the same as when it’s your actual birth day. Oh well.
Thank you. Today is my birthday. I always feel a little down. Going out alone to roller skate, treating myself to a manicure, helps. But the mere realization that I’m a little different in that I prefer to be alone on my birthday and am down on that day makes me feel worse, especially during the pandemic when I can’t go out got my usual adventures. I just needed to hear that it’s normal to feel this way. Thank you.
It was my birthday yesterday. Each year I dread it. I’m a very anxious person and without fail, my husband picks on me or starts trouble which he did yesterday. I’m so down and so tired of it. He buys me things that he wants to see me in and not things that I’ll like. So each year, I tell my family not to bother as I know what it will be. It makes me feel rock bottom. Thank you for this article. It helps.
Girl! You and I should talk! Same boat for me exactly! It’s my birthday today.
My birthday is tomorrow, sep 8, and honestly im not really happy or excited about it. im not even looking forward to it. my friends and family are more excited than i am. i dont know why im sad, or feeling really super duper down when thinking of my birthday, and its not even about aging. a month ago i was so excited to finally turn 16 but now, i just feel like its worthless to throw or celebrate a party for my birthday. its just me after all. its not a big deal. having a birthday feels like i just completed a really hard level, and moving on to the next hard one.
I know birthdays can be so hard, but you ARE worth celebrating… always, no matter what!
You’re missing something here. Your birthday is one of the few times you’re allowed to do what you like. It’s supposed to be ‘your day’. Therefore, being depressed on my birthday is something I choose to do because I like being depressed. The whole birthday thing just makes the depressive experience that much more, well, depressing. There is something joyous about it and I appreciate that sounds like an oxymoron. I can’t explain the psychology behind this but I think many feel this way.
Hi thanks for this vanessa! tomorrow is my birthday but i felt anxiety / sadness i think its weird . good to know to read your articles about bday blues!
Thank you Vanessa, my birthday is in a few days and I was really beginning to feel the anxiety and just general malignant feelings I have around my birthday. These feelings are augmented tenfold this year because Covid-19 means the only person I actually want to spend it with (my girlfriend) is unreachable due to travel restrictions.
I decided to see if I could find an article to help me and this really did. Honestly, I still can’t see how my birthday this year is going to be a ‘good’ day, but your piece now has me a touch more prepared, positive and more plentiful with ideas to help. In particular the section on “Unique things to do” with the reflection on the best thing to happen to me in the last year, which was 100% the jump I made to move away from my family to a new country to be closer to the woman I love which has gone great (until this virus which flipped my life over there on it’s head, hence why I’m temporarily back home), so that made me smile as did contemplating my goals for the next year and the year after etc.
So from someone who felt pretty bleak before clicking on the link to this article, thank you sincerely and keep doing what you’re doing because it really does help.
Thank you, Vanessa for this article!
Throughout my entire teens, I’ve always experienced “birthday blues” where I can’t overcome feelings of sadness, overwhelming feelings of lack of accomplishments, and also overwhelming amounts of expectations.
The last time I remember feeling happy about a birthday was when I turned 14. I loved that I could call myself a teen, and that I would be able to wear some makeup.
At 15, I felt mildly emotional because I didn’t feel fifteen, I still felt fourteen.
At 16, I expected to have had my license by now, and a job, and money of my own, and lots of makeup, and friends to celebrate with…
At 17, I realized I should be… what every other 17 year old is on YouTube. I may have put myself into this predicament because I had a habit of watching birthday vlogs on the actual day of my birthday finding something to resemble during mine.
At 18… whew! It was a good birthday! I had lovely gifts, I felt lots of love & support during my birthday and I felt good.
However, I still felt emotionally plagued! Saddened by old age, feelings of inadequacy, and hints of doubt in my mind concerning whether or not I deserved a good birthday.
I remember most of my birthdays in good memory, with good times and fun, but no matter what, I always feel like it goes by too fast. I want to do so much, and experience a vast majority of so many things in so little time, so much up until the point where I am looking forward to getting older, and looking forward to a birthday.
The funny thing is: I love celebrating other peoples birthdays— buying them gifts, watching them open them, making them dinner or a cake, spending time with them, but I just can’t stand the idea reversed.
Soon, (6 months away) I will grow another year older. And I ‘m glad I found this article to help me identify the reasons behind why I feel this way before and during my birthdays.
Thank you for writing this article, Vanessa. It is significantly accurate to the way I have felt in the past.
Happy Birthday Vanessa!
Hello, my birthday is coming up and I’ll be 21, every one around me keeps saying that I should be happy and grateful for another year of life, but it doesn’t feel that way for me, it feels like things will just get worst. Every year something bad happens on that particular day, making it very discouraging for me. According to my family, I’m just overreacting and don’t appreciate their efforts, but in reality I just feel sad most of the time, specially that day.
With your tips, I’ll try to consider the more positive side of things and see what I have accomplished this past year.
I just had my birthday last week (4/26) and I felt that it was a step up compared to last year. I’m currently 22 so I often have to celebrate away from home since I’m at college. However, unlike celebrating for one day, I often do small things during the month of April in case my my birthday would end in a mediocre way (which it didn’t). Really helpful advice on this post.
It’s my birthday today and I feel you all. Im happy I’m not only the one, thanks for the encouragement. Godbless!
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