Another birthday has come and gone. And so has another Thanksgiving.
In my family, holidays and birthdays are just “another damn day of the year”. We stopped celebrating holidays when I was 13, and my last birthday was age 14. These so-called special days mean nothing in a family that is dysfunctional and rifled with mental health issues. This has never been what I wanted for my children. For my 16th birthday, a friend took me to the movies. I had to pay for my own ticket and popcorn. My 17th, was a family dinner at a Perkins restaurant. My 18th birthday was funny. I woke up to my dad calling my name from the kitchen. I stumbled out in only my PJ’s and no glasses, trying to glare at him for waking me before noon. Instead, I see two of my male friends-one whom I had a major crush on-sitting at the table with gifts. As I stomped back to my room, Dad called out, “Where are you going?” My response, “To put pants on!”
The guys gave me “Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman, two CD’s, and one had asked his mom to bake me a chocolate cake because that is my favorite. This was probably my favorite birthday ever! I still have the book of poetry and think of them when I read it. And I still listen to those CD’s on regular basis. For most of my life, I have felt as if my birthday has meant more to my friends, than it ever has to my family. My mom cannot remember when it is or how old I am.
We celebrate the holidays; I just lack enthusiasm. As for my birthday…that still means nothing. The girls forgot about it, J- worked that day and paid no attention at all. He made dinner that night-microwaved leftovers. I still had to do the dishes. Just ordering pizza would have meant something to me.
It would have been nice to get a card. Maybe if one of the girls had made me a picture, or if J- had given me a card or flowers. My best friend forgot my birthday entirely. At this point in my life I should no longer care or be upset. Yet, I wish the day of my birth meant something to someone. My dad was the only person who ever made an effort most of the time, and even that was minimal at best. He would buy me a cheap, gas station fake flower and a card. I keep all of those flowers in a decorative vase on a shelf in my kitchen. I love them.
As for Thanksgiving, I spent that alone. I am not welcomed at my in-laws, and that has been the case for the last two years. J- took the girls to celebrate with family, while I stayed at home. I cleaned, put together a puzzle, spent time with the kitties, and watched TV. It was relaxing, but also lonely.
The holidays had always meant that I would hang out with a few friends in the evening. They would spent their days with their respective families, then in the evening, we would meet up for dinner at a restaurant or maybe a movie. Nothing special or fancy, but important to me. Now that we all have families, this is just a memory from the past. This year I missed it more than ever. I have spent holidays alone before and never paid much attention to it. For some reason, this year was much more difficult and sent me into a depressed funk. I am starting to come out of it, but the memories of the past are still lingering. So many things feel missing from my life.
Ask any doctor and they will tell you, holidays can be a trigger for people with depression. I think this is a given fact. Depression will mess with your physical health as well. I have had less energy lately and feel more tired. I face this with a determination to stay moving and focus on what I can accomplish each day.