Actually, It's More Than OK To Go All Out Celebrating Your Birthday
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Actually, It's More Than OK To Go All Out Celebrating Your Birthday

I'm sick of hearing people complain that I take a birthday week. I deserve to celebrate, just like we all do.

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Birthday
Grace Martin

My birthday is October 22 and this year I turned 22, which makes it my golden birthday. Birthdays have always been special to me and I was always so excited for it to be "my" day. I can look back and remember some amazing birthdays but I also look back and remember my worst one.

When I turned 17, I had been experiencing my first relationship. This was the first boy I kissed, held hands with and said "I love you" to. I can look back now and say the relationship was shallow and naive and that we were just kids, but inside my 17-year-old body, when my boyfriend at the time decided to end our relationship on my birthday over a text message, I honestly felt like my life was crashing down before me and started to contemplate suicide.

I remember getting into my car after just sitting and crying my way through theater practice, and my mom was so excited to see me. She and my grandma both asked me what I wanted to do for the day but I had no answers. I told them that he had broken up with me and we drove home with them trying to lift my mood. I don't remember a lot of the next few days except that it was bad. I couldn't understand why I felt so sad, or why I felt the need to hurt myself emotionally and physically.

This event that took place on my birthday led up to my first in-hospitalization for mental health issues. I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and BPD (borderline personality disorder) and then everything started making sense. I started to understand that the relationship wasn't the problem, but it was the triggering event for my mental disorders to onset. Doctors say it would have happened regardless and that I am predispositioned to these things. So, I was put on medication to stabilize my mood and control outbursts and intrusive thoughts as well as started therapy and day programs and worked on fixing myself.

It was hard, I will not lie, and I still struggle daily but I've never felt as bad as I did then. By the time my 18th birthday rolled around, I was a lot happier. I was in college, freshman year and surrounded by friends I found there. So, I remember thinking, if I had died last fall, I never would have made it here. I never would have started college and met my close-knit group of friends. I never would have experienced what this place away from my hometown was like, and never would have learned all I've learned this year academically and from experience, so I made a decision.

I decided that even though I already had a great love for birthdays that I would celebrate mine every year by doing something I love and being around the people I love. That I would reminisce on the past year and the accomplishments I've made and what I've learned.

I made the decision to be thankful for every year I experience because it could be gone in the blink of an eye. Sometimes I celebrate for a whole week: my actual birthday, dinner with family on the weeknights, and then hanging out with friends the following weekend. I do it because I'm happy. I'm happy to be here and face the obstacles the world has to offer me and I'm happy to continuously overcome them.

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