It might sound odd, but I never celebrate my birthday and do not usually tell people, either. It is always a special day for me, with a few nice cards from close family, even gift vouchers this year
from a dear Aunt. I might even go as far as to say it can feel like a spiritual day – more about a time of reflection of the past and the future 12 months.
My reflections of life – particularly now that I am 50 – are not too great. There is a huge sense of wasted years… tittering on the brink of being a ‘waste of space’. I am always acutely aware of these self-disparaging views, but try not to allow them to pull me down.
My parents would never say it, but I believe they are gravely disappointed in the person I became. My sister – a Health Professional – might see the situation as being more tragic, definitely sad.
They have little clue of the true extent of my MH problems. In the last 12 years, I have kept them at arm’s length. Mainly because I know, they could not handle seeing me in various states of mental ill health. It hurts not to have their understanding and support, but hey, what’s new!
The first mental breakdown in 2000 was psychotic depression. The vivid memories of visual and auditory hallucinations will stay with me forever. Of course, it spilled over into telephone calls to Mum and Dad. They freaked out and, rather than attempt to get me any kind of help, they made the decision to leave me to it.
“Bolted” is the word that comes to mind.
Beyond basic depression, they have no way of knowing what challenges I face.
In all these years, I have not seen Dad. We did briefly speak on the phone at Christmas. There is no fall-out; this is just how he is. Mum has visited London on about four occasions to see some shows. I have kept our meetings to a minimum and dread them each time.
Mum has little self-awareness or any awareness of why our relationship is so bad. There would be no point in broaching the past; it would only cause major drama. Everyone tip toes around her explosive moodiness. If you have ever watched “Keeping up Appearances”, Hyacinth is my mum all over. Lives in her own snobby dream world and woe betide anyone who threatens to burst the bubble.
“Big-sister” does know the full extent of my depression and BPD. She has heard and read some of my “mentalness” in recent years, but seems to take it in her stride. Behind the tough façade, I know her well enough to realise just how depressingly tragic she finds my situation.
Sis had always been practical, idealistic, and maybe even materialistic. She is one of those people who cannot seem to understand why someone might want to be alone. Her interpretation is loneliness, boredom, probably a little weird.
What hurts them the most is that I never want to see them. I spend half my time Splitting-black my parents and feel so ashamed of this lifestyle, I am too embarrassed to let my sister near me. I tried many times to explain, but Sis cannot see past the fact that she simply wants to see me. This is something I need to work on.
So, where would I like to be this time next year? Well, I do not like to envisage because I have only set myself up for some intense feelings of failure in the past.
If I could make one birthday wish on my new wireless keyboard – with virtual cake and candles it would not be for anything material. My only wish is that at some point during the next 12 months, I will find a desire to change – to re-join and start enjoying life again. Everything else would fall into place.
Wishing you peace on your special day. Happy Birthday Cat! 🙂
Many thanks Aife
Happy B Day Cat! Hope your wish for yourself comes true.
Thank you Ellen
Birthdays are hard, aren’t they? Personally I hate them and I suspect for many similar reasons as you do. Part of me wants to say ‘Happy Birthday, Cat.’ The other part just wants to say, Cat, have a good day, have a year of good days. Get those animals of yours and give them very big hugs, because the one thing you know is that they love you regardless of mental illness and regardless of disappointments. Actually I bet you don’t disappoint them at all, and that just proves to me that you are a great person.
Thank you Cate, that’s very sweet of you to say and just what I need to hear today. I’m not sure what I give Jack and Missy is quite enough. I’ve had a day from hell at the Vets with Missy, ended up walking out without paying! That’s all another story.
I hope Missy (and you) are ok. I know our emotions run strong when it comes to our animals, especially when they’re not well.
Many thanks Cate. Missy looks like she is on the mend. Only Jack to sort out now, which is the biggest dread of all. At least Missy’s illness was reversible, not so fortunate for his Lordship.
My turn to say Happy Birthday! Hopefully this time next year we’ll both be doing a bit better!! *sends birthday cupcakes through cyberspace* 🙂
*Mmmm…Cat scoff’s 6 cupcakes*
Many thanks Rl
I won’t say “happy birthday” as such… but I will wish you love and peace, my friend.
I need peace today, Frank. Many thanks for your kind wishes
Happy birthday, may your wish come true 🙂 xx
I hope it does, Bourbon. Many thanks
Sorry I’m late.
Like you, I don’t do birthdays for many reasons and can’t see that changing.
Sorry to see that you don’t get the support you could do with from family. Must’ve been awful to be left to get on with it when you were really unwell.
Hope all your wishes come true and that you are able to value who you are this time next year.
Thank you for your kind words/wishes