Special Occasions & Mental Health

Special Occasions & Mental Health

This year has definitely been a weird & complex one. It honestly feels like time has been completely distorted as some days/months felt extremely long whereas others (definitely the summertime) felt too short. But here we are, in October 2020. 

Before I dive into this post, I just want to express the immense gratitude I have for all my family & friends who made this year’s birthday one that I will remember to be jammed packed, full of love. From the moment I woke up to the moment I fell asleep, my phone overflowed with messages and calls that wished me a happy birthday. Some sent paragraphs of memories together and what it means to have me in their lives… let’s just say I ugly cried that night.

I know that Birthdays don’t feel as important to others because it's just ‘another day’ but I do believe that even if you don’t like all the attention & glitter that may come with it, it’s still important to celebrate you. Birthdays signify another year of life and whether that year was happy, exciting, confusing, or painful, it still needs to be celebrated because you are still here! With this said, special occasions can also be a major trigger point for people. I will never forget the first birthday I had after my dad passed. Not to mention, it was my 18th birthday… and I never thought I would be celebrating me becoming an ‘adult’ the same year I lost my dad. If I could use one word to describe how I felt leading up to it, it would be:  painful. For some reason, it’s always on my birthday that I tend to miss my dad the most. Each birthday since his passing has been a combination of happiness, confusion, & grief. It took a couple of birthdays to accept that my dad will no longer be physically part of them and to understand that this underlying sadness is OKAY and is NORMAL. I’m thankful to say that I finally came to an understanding and have been able to grasp the underlying sadness that comes with days of celebration. I was able to find peace in knowing that he has been and always will be with me as he doesn’t only live in my memories, but he also lives through me. So when I do feel those emotions and feelings of grief, I find that visualizing my dad being a part of that day makes me feel more grounded and happy. 

Whether you are celebrating a Birthday, Anniversary, Thanks Giving, Christmas, (and the list goes on), it’s important to acknowledge and know that these days of celebration can also bring up difficult and painful memories from the past for someone else. 3 Key Lessons I’ve learned from this is that, 1. I need to be more gentle with myself and allow myself to feel whatever emotions come up during special occasions. Your family and friends love you and are there for you, so it’s okay to cry! 2. We need to be more mindful of others as we have no idea what their smiles or ‘happy posts’ online may be masking. And last but not least, It’s okay to share the struggles and the painful moments in your life. It’s not asking for attention at all – In fact, this kind of transparency shows great strength and utter realness to the world. I also find that it can inspire and impact others around you.

As we are all well aware of, life is not all rainbows and sunshine but, it IS beautifully meaningful and something to most definitely be celebrated.

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