The worst Birthday I’ve ever had

1st of March. How I used to love that date. A day to feel special, a day where all your loved ones call you, message you, maybe even get you little presents. A day where you get to share delicious cake with everyone around you. I used to walk with a spring in my step looking for an opportunity to share with anyone who cared that that was my special day.

This year it was a bit different. After a couple of months of wishing the restrictions (and the winter, for that matter) away, the 1st of March arrived and the restrictions where still very much in place. So much so, that the week leading up to it, the question “do you have anything planned for your birthday?” made me produce an awkward smile and some crowd pleasing lie, then turn around, and as soon as the doors were closed, cry. Needless to say, I was crying for more than my birthday. I was crying because of the lack of blue skies, the early sunsets, the loneliness of being at home by myself day after day after day, the news prolonging the torture one week and then another and another and another…

So on the 1st of March 2021 at 9am I went to the doctor and started the consult by saying ” I don’t want to cry” as the tears began to stream down my face. I talked about the total unwillingness to get out of bed in the morning, the wish to just be put in a coma and have someone wake me up when the restrictions and the grey days are over, the nightmares and the overthinking, and the anger. The anger I had been holding against the government, my friends who all seemed to be doing ok with it, the news saying that us young people wouldn’t be getting the vaccine for another year, the knowledge that there was no other solution than staying home and “safe”, the claustrophobia that came with that knowledge.

And I got medical leave. Two weeks off on account of “depression”. An appointment with a psychiatrist and another one with a therapist. In the meantime my phone was buzzing with more messages than I had gotten all year. So many of them asking the questions “how are you doing?” “do you have anything planned for today?” “are you taking the day off?”. I couldn’t reply. I felt like a failure for having caved under the situation that everyone around me was living through as well.

Instead I went home, hid under a blanket and continued wishing time away, wondering if not working would make any difference. Life was still shit regardless, I would have still preferred to be in a coma…

But it did help. I went on walks by the river, I downloaded the latest seasons of Rupaul Drag’s race, I got some birthday presents (pictures featured in this post) and managed to get through all the text messages I had received. It is now over two weeks later, I am back to work, and although I am still struggling, I feel like the worst has passed. I also feel proud of myself for being able to step back, asking for help and taking care of myself. I hope if you’re reading this and you are feeling like someone just needs to press “pause” on life, you can do it too.