3 reasons why you sometimes get depressed on your birthday

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Shouldn't birthday's be joyful?

Your birthday is the memory of the day you came to that planet. For the first instance it might seem unlogical to feel bad on that day. After all no matter what you think of yourself you will still have that part inside you that makes you feel proud of yourself and of the day you were born on.

So how come sometimes you feel depressed on your birthday? And why can that depressive phase begin few days before the awaited birthday? And why do some people find that day a happy one while you sometimes find the opposite?

I have said earlier that our emotions change based on our perception of events and not based on the events themselves. If your mind made certain unconscious conclusions about an event then this event will be associated with some emotions based on the result of those thoughts. Got confused? Then here is the explanation:

3 reasons you get depressed on your birthday

  • 1) How far i am from my goals?: Whether you spent some time thinking about your achievements in life or not your mind will still think about that topic on the unconscious level then respond to you with the conclusions it made in the form of emotions. If your mind believed that you are growing up without achieving one of your important goals then the result might be a depressive mood on your birthday since it's the day that will mark the loss of another unfruitful year
  • 2) How much appreciation i got: Even if you never thought about it that way your mind can still use your birthday to measure people's love for you. The number of calls, texts and even gifts you get can be used by your mind to measure the level of people's love for you. If you didn't get appreciated like you expected on that day then you might mistakenly conclude that people don't love you and so you might get depressed (see also Depression and false beliefs)
  • 3)Did the deadline pass?: We tend to think about deadlines all the time even when it comes to life goals that should come naturally. For example, many women expect to get married at a certain age and so growing up while remaining single can be very depressive for them especially if they believed they are already past the marriage age they were after (see also Why do we fear growing up)

But why some birthday's are more depressive than others?

Why is the 25th birthday usually more shocking than the 26th?
And why is the 30th birthday usually more emotional than the 31st or the 32nd?

Since we were kids we were taught to divide time into certain phases. For example: if your watch points to 2:07 then you will automatically think that its 2:10 and the same goes for your age.

When you become 27 you will start to think that you are very close to the 30 and when you become 24 you will think that you are almost 25.

The 25th birthday is usually a very emotional checkpoint for the many because it marks the end of the first quarter of a century. Of course not all people look at time the same way but the take away is that the way a person perceives time is the major factor that determines how he will feel on his birthday.

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Want to know more?

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Can believing in God help with depression?

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