Birthdays – from dreading them to enjoying them! #recovery

On Thursday it was my Birthday, a day that in the past would have maybe been horrendous or I would of gone through the whole day pretending to enjoy whatever I was doing when inside I was willing everything to end.
I sometimes wonder what has changed, a birthday even 5 years ago was not that enjoyable.
I suppose the main thing is that when I was much younger I really had little control over my birthday. Family events were difficult for many reasons and I craved so much the ‘normal family’ celebration that I was always disappointed or in some cases completely traumatised by the days events. My birthday always fell in the school holidays and when I was younger I often wished it didn’t.
Going out for a meal for my birthday was also something I didn’t enjoy, I had (and possibly still do have) an ambivalent relationship with food and because of our family setup I would have more than one intense meal out which I rarely could fully enjoy.
Over the last few years I have been able to look back and recollect some good birthdays from my childhood/teenage years such as a party in my garden for probably my 5th birthday, celebrating turning 10 on Brownie Pack Holiday & turning 17 whilst on holiday with the family during a stable period. All of these have taken time to remember as often the bad times crowd the good ones.
During my adult life illness has often plagued my birthday – if I have been unwell I have just wanted to shut myself away or often made myself 10 times worse by pretending that everything was perfect. If I have been ok I used to spend the lead up to my birthday worrying I would get ill and therefore spoiling it not for me but for those around me who go to so much effort.
So what is different now – if I am unwell I can often eventually say I am and I am under no pressure to do anything I don’t feel up to doing. Yes some people will be disappointed and that does throw up some guilt but on the whole I feel so much more able to be in control of what I want and need. I also feel that in the past I thought I didn’t deserve a birthday, I certainly hated receiving cards or gifts of any kind as felt so unworthy. I still find this difficult but I can enjoy it and this is more evidence of how far I have come.
Birthdays are also only 1 day, a day that could happen on any day and are often a chance to catch up with people. Trying to relax is something I find hard but I am starting to do this and last Thursday was definitely a birthday to cherish!

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