We celebrate birthdays, every year.
That’s the operative word: celebrate. Every year, we find things to cheer for, find things to rejoice in, find things to be thankful and happy about.
Celebrations come in many forms, but for many of us, there is one thing, every year, that sticks out in our celebration.
On my 28th birthday, I celebrated being loved by the most amazing woman I know. On my 29th birthday, I celebrated a major change in my outlook for health. And this year, I am celebrating being alive. It is the only thing I am celebrating, today.
I celebrate being alive because, for the past three weeks, the idea of living has been difficult for me to fathom. I won’t lie: I have been suicidal. I have contemplated ending my life, and have sought medical help to make sure that I do not take any drastic action. For just over three weeks, I have spent most of my days alone in my apartment, unable to go to work, unable to function in social settings, and suffering from acute anxiety, panic, depression, and despair. For the past 25 days, I have struggled to find any sense of normalcy, to find any reason to stay alive.
I know I have many. I have good friends who support me and are taking care of me while I struggle to care for myself, I have an excellent job and coworkers that are showing compassion and understanding in a hard time, I have a loving family who are united and healthy. Despite all of that, I have seen nothing but clouds and darkness since my recent major emotional trauma, and because of that, life doesn’t seem too bright right now.
Depression is not something to laugh about. It is not something that can pushed off to the side and disregarded as “a bad day.” It is a serious, debilitating illness that cripples you and makes it hard to function. It is something that I am struggling with right now, despite my incredible support network of friends, family, coworkers, and medical practitioners.
So today, I’m celebrating being alive. It is not what I hoped, what I expected to celebrate on my 30th birthday, but it is the only reason I can see to celebrate right now. I’m going to take it, grasp it tightly, and hold on to it.
Today, I am thirty years old. Today, I am alive.
Despite how much I’m finding it hard to want to stay alive right now, I’m not letting go of the fact that I’m still here, no matter how hard it has been.
If that’s not a reason to celebrate, I don’t know what is.