• Kristina Cherep

What My Birthday Means to Me This Year

Supposedly nobody likes you when you're 23. At least according to Blink-182. I only know this because people who have turned 23 this year have used this as their birthday picture caption. I will not be using this caption for one of my birthday pictures this year because even if everyone else in the world doesn't like me, I still like me! This is the first time in my life where I have truly embraced myself and have loved myself.

After recovering from my depression/anxiety episode this fall, I have learned to love me. After recovering from thoughts of suicide, I have learned to love me. After self-harming earlier this fall, I have learned to love me. I have never truly loved myself until now. Yeah there are days where I think I'm not good enough, but that's not me. That's Depression and Anxiety. There are days where I don't like how I look or don't like my attitude, but I still love me.

My birthday this year means so much to me. Back in the fall, I didn't see myself having another birthday. Seriously. I didn't see my life past the next day because I didn't want the next day. I wanted it all to be over. Thank you, Depression. So, I asked for help which led me to meeting extraordinary people in my group therapy. I met a therapist who saved my life. He believed in me and has led me to where I stand today. I have learned the importance of self-love all because of the dark times I went through.

I don't need the most glamorous presents or the tastiest cakes this year. I just need me and the life that I have. I want to be surrounded by all the people who mean so much to me. I've had birthdays where people canceled on me the day of my birthday and I took it so personally. I saw them canceling as a way of telling me that I'm not good enough. I have cried on many of my birthdays because people would disappoint me and I took it personally.

This birthday I may cry. Maybe because of my anxiety or depression. Sometimes I don't have control over when I have an anxiety attack or depressed thoughts and that's okay. However, this birthday I will not let others control my happiness like I have done in the past. This birthday I will (try my best) not to cry if someone cancels on me or changes plans. I shouldn't have to, now that I love myself. I may get upset, but I won't let it affect me so much.

This upcoming birthday of mine is not only celebrating another year of my life, but it's celebrating a year of my life that I thought I didn't deserve to have. It's celebrating the pain that I conquered this year. It's celebrating the realization of what and who truly matters to me. I know I still have a lot to learn about life, anxiety, depression, and a bunch of other life lessons. If I have learned one thing this year, it is the importance of loving yourself and focusing on your own happiness.

If you are reading this and are having thoughts of suicide or are self-harming, please go and ask for help. I now get to celebrate a birthday I thought I didn't deserve all because I asked for help.

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