As today is my birthday, I thought I would share some random thoughts about how birthdays can effect our mental health. For many, indeed most, birthdays are a time to celebrate the anniversary of them coming to life. There is cake and presents all shared with the people whom they love.
However, for some, birthdays are a reminder of mortality, missed opportunities and loneliness. This last one is particularly common for those who spend their birthdays either alone or away from the people they love. Birthdays are not always happy.
I have seen many people over the years who have difficult relationships with their friends and families and for those people, I often have a great deal of sympathy for at significant times of the year. Birthdays, of course, fall into this category.
I would ask that people rather than wishing folk a happy birthday once a year, instead spend the year telling them how important that person is to them and to let them know they are loved not only on the day of their birth, but for the other 364 days of the year. Doing this can only lead to more happiness and less despair and, of course, less need for people like me, psychotherapists.