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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Stonehill chapter.

Birthdays are meant to be a time of excitement. You’re meant to wake up with this glow about you. All day you get happy wishes and praise, maybe some presents, and a delicious treat with a candle, as your friends and family gather to celebrate you. 

For most, birthdays bring joy and new beginnings. Although, this isn’t the case for everyone. 

Once every year, some people experience what is dubbed the “annual birthday cry.” 

There isn’t ever a true reason behind it, or a good excuse as to why. It just kind of happens. It could happen for many different reasons, all at once.

While it remains a mystery to most, some are beginning to find answers to their questions in the form of birthday depression, or birthday blues. 

Birthday depression/blues refers to feeling sad, apathetic or even disinterested in anything revolving around your birthday. Symptoms also include low energy, a fixation on the past, specifically what you have or have not accomplished, or just wanting to avoid the entire day in general.

Many people who feel this way don’t even know birthday blues exist. Take myself for example: when I was a kid, my birthday was my favorite day of the year. I got presents, cake, and people all gathered to celebrate with me. How could I not love it?

Then I got older, the birthdays stopped, and my attitude towards my day began to change. I wasn’t excited anymore, I didn’t want well-wishes or the cake. My birthday became just another day in my life. 

Over time, I began experiencing the birthday cry.

I couldn’t really say why this was happening. I felt like I had so many reasons behind the why, but none of them ever really made sense.

I felt lonely, but I was never really alone. I always had my parents and a few close friends to wish me happy birthday, or to give me a slice of cake.

I felt conflicted and confused. I always wanted to be left alone, but birthday acknowledgements still made me smile. 

I felt frustrated because I didn’t really know what it was that I truly wanted. Did I want a little special treatment? Did I want it to be just another day?

All these conflicting feelings built up my frustrations and slowly became the source of my very own birthday cry.

It was strange though, everytime I would finally let my frustrations out, I would immediately feel better. 

I had all of these emotions building up for weeks leading up to my big day. All the times I felt frustrated because people insisted on celebrating me, or insisted on buying me something. The loneliness I felt when I distanced myself from everyone just so I wouldn’t come off as grouchy. The confusion I experienced trying to figure out why I was acting this way.

Birthday blues seem to have been the cause this entire time.

I don’t believe I have a severe case of the birthday blues. My happiness certainly increases as my day goes on and the birthday wishes flood into my phone. However, I do think in the days leading up to my birthday, I experience a minor form of the blues.

Now understanding why I act the way I do, I can find ways to cope and overcome my negative feelings towards my big day, and make recommendations for those who find themselves in the same space as me.

As with any persistent negative emotions, we all know it’s not healthy to keep them in. Letting your emotions boil up over time, in my experience, only makes you feel worse and eventually, you might blow up. Don’t hold onto those emotions, find someone you trust and ask them to listen, and maybe give advice as needed!

Sometimes birthdays may be more exciting for the people surrounding you than it is for you. My friends, family and boyfriend all insist on doing something with me, but I usually ask for peace and quiet every year. While that’s usually not an option for everyone on their birthday, I found it important to compromise on how to celebrate with them. Talk to them about what you are most comfortable doing on your big day. This way, everyone feels included, and you are not stuck in an uncomfortable situation. If it’s going to be about you, then you should be the one to decide how everyone celebrates!

Lastly, I find it important to make some time for yourself on the big day. It can be chaotic receiving all the attention from everyone you love and value most. While they surely mean well and are just excited for you, it can be overwhelming. Sometimes, being bombarded with funny birthday crowns, balloons, hugs, and all the photos being taken, can be a lot to take in.

So my advice is this: schedule at least an hour in your day to yourself with no work, no people, nothing. It can be just you with some peace and quiet. Take the time to think everything over, or maybe even take a quick nap. Feeling run down throughout the day is not fun for anyone. My time alone helps me to prepare for the rest of my day and relax a little, so that I can actually try to enjoy my day with everyone I love. 

It’s okay to feel how you do on your big day. The birthday blues can be tough and exhausting at times. Just remember to take some time to yourself and communicate with your loved ones about how you feel and what you need.

And if you need to, have a good birthday cry. Sometimes it helps more than we think it does.

A sophomore at Stonehill College, Paige is a double major in communications and criminology. Paige enjoys spending time with her friends, sitting on the quad somewhere, and finding ways to cook in her dorm. Her roommate is also a betta fish named after her favorite coffee drink from her hometown, Chippi.