Chapter 23

A cursory glance at birthday depression and what the past year has been for me as I get older.

Birthdays used to be exciting for me. I’ve never been one of those people who would shit on the concept of birthdays for whatever reason. I loved them. I think birthdays are important to celebrate because they remind us that we’re alive.

My last two birthdays, however, have been grim. I recently saw a Twitter thread that described it as birthday depression, but even before then, I’d already used the term. Birthday depression is a feeling of intense sadness that comes as your birthday approaches. It mostly presents as a lack of desire to celebrate or even mark the day.

In 2020, I got depressed after my birthday. I released my second poetry collection FLOAT, which I had been working on for months prior. I was excited to finally have it out but afterwards, I had a terrible depressive spell. I felt empty and alone even though I really wasn’t.

2021 was worse. I was already inexplicably sad before my birthday came and as it drew closer, I grew worse. I shut down my WhatsApp for months and was out of touch with a lot of people. I only struggled to come around for the week of my birthday but even then, the messages and attention only further drained me.

The greatest irony was that this was a pretty good time in my life. I was objectively doing better than ever, but I was just mentally incapable of appreciating it.

The worst part was, my birthday passed and then I hated how I felt in those times. The inability to appreciate the love and attention I got began to eat at me. The depression was (partially) past, but now I had to deal with the guilt of being depressed.

The past year has been good for me. I can’t lie. A lot of things I’ve wanted have happened either just the way I planned them to, or close enough. Of course, I’m not exactly where I want to be yet, but there’s a lot that is different too.

This blog, for one, is something I’m very proud of. I’d wanted a blog for the longest time and eventually, I made it happen. I’m proud of the emotional growth I went through in the past year. A lot about me changed as an individual and is still changing, but the difference for me so far is palpable and I enjoy that.

Career-wise? I’ve grown a lot too. I hate that ASUU is still on strike, I’d hoped to be done with the university experience by now, but I can’t deny how impactful the last 5 months have been for me. Almost half of the past year of my life has been spent away from school because of the strike, but every moment has been worthwhile.

I’m grateful for the people in my life too. While I didn’t meet a lot of new people in the past year, all of the relationships I had grew deeper and more meaningful.

All this happened, and still, I’ve felt birthday depression creeping on me as the day draws close. Even more than in the previous years, it feels like I have more to be sad about because, despite my wins, I’ve lost some too.

But I remind myself, as I tried to in my last blog post, that sadness always makes time for itself. So, if nothing else, I consider it a birthday gift to myself to not give in to birthday depression this year.

I deserve to be happy and I’m going to create that for myself. I’ll let myself appreciate the life I have, and the people I have around me. I’ll let myself go through the day without getting crushed under the weight of my own expectations. I’ll let myself be happy.

If birthday depression is something you’ve ever experienced and are probably still dealing with, I hope you find a way to be happy. Make a list of all the things you’re thankful for as I’ve done above and don’t let yourself forget. Our birthdays are important. Let’s not allow depression to steal them.

Birthday depression is the worst and I hope you never experience it. But if you do, don’t judge yourself for it. Life is sometimes hard and it’s not easy keeping your head up all the time. Just remember not to let the sadness linger. Create time to be happy.

I turn 23 on July 17th and the thought of that is frightening (I mean, where does the time go?), but I’m happy too. My life is incredible and I have a lot to be thankful for. I have you to be thankful for.

If you read this far, thank you. It’s not my birthday yet but I’ll consider it an early birthday present if you share this post. You can also send me money – 2208670186 (Victory Okoyomoh, Zenith Bank) ?

Thank you!

Comments (32):

  1. Okoro Victoria

    July 15, 2022 at 6:22 pm

    Happy birthday in advance dear.

  2. Hedwig

    July 15, 2022 at 6:24 pm

    Love it!
    keep it up!

  3. Zimoni

    July 15, 2022 at 6:41 pm

    Hey vee, I’m smiling while writing this comment. We have a lot ahead of us. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of responsibilities ahead but if we only focus only on those we make our existence centered just on bleak necessities. We would not be fair to ourselves that way. So let us take out time to listen to the echoes of the mountains, express every emotion as they come, watch the sky turn blue to grey to yellow and everything beautiful. Life is beautiful. Take your time and live it. Happy Birthday to you ???

    • Victory Okoyomoh

      July 16, 2022 at 4:23 am

      “If we only focus on the magnitude of the responsibilities ahead, we make our existence centred just on bleak necessities and we would not be fair to ourselves that way”

      Such true words that I’m going to try to remind myself of often. Life is truly beautiful. Thank you ?

  4. Nora

    July 15, 2022 at 8:34 pm

    I have battled with birthday depression for a long time now and I thought it was just something only I felt. Days to my birthdays I am filled with trepidation and gloom and I can’t seem to come out from the depression.
    I turned a new year this July and it was worse than ever. It provoked me to write something about it. I just wish I could be as happy as everyone else and simply enjoy the beauty of my birthdays

    • Victory Okoyomoh

      July 16, 2022 at 4:26 am

      Hey Nora, I’m sorry you’ve had to struggle with this. I have too and it’s honestly no delight. You deserve an amazing birthday celebration and I hope you’re able to find the strength to enjoy the next one.

      There’s a lot to be thankful for. I hope you’re able to see this truly ?

  5. Bilqis

    July 15, 2022 at 8:46 pm

    Happy birthday in advance Victory.
    This post is very relatable and i always try to make those who experience same feel better , but i hardly do for myself. Thanks for this beautiful post. I hope you feel happier and happier for this and many more birthdays.

    • Victory Okoyomoh

      July 16, 2022 at 4:27 am

      Thank you!

      I’m jealous that you hardly ever experience it and I’m happy for you too. Birthdays should be delightful and I’m glad you have that ?

  6. osamu

    July 15, 2022 at 9:43 pm

    Happy birthday in two days, Victory.

  7. Deborah

    July 15, 2022 at 10:25 pm

    Happy Birthday in advance, Victory.?❤️

  8. Mojisola

    July 16, 2022 at 6:39 am

    This is a very lovely post? I have the birthday depression almost every year too, my birthdays have just always been a reminder of the things I haven’t done, you know? The recent one though, in May, when I turned 22, i wouldn’t say it wasn’t depressing, cause it kind of was; all my friends weren’t around, and I spent it alone, but the step-up that I think it had over other birthdays, was the fact that I didn’t dwell in the depression. I made sure to keep pushing it to the back of my mind, not giving it any light of day, to fester. But, in that sense, and reading this post now, I see that it is not exactly a full progress, because I didn’t deal with it, that is, I didn’t think about the good things, I just pushed the bad things to the back of my mind. Which, if I’m being really honest, is really not all that better either. But what your blog post have done for me, is, one, helps me see that i am not alone in this (the comments :)), and, two, I am going to try to be better about my birthday next year.
    (I’m really sorry I’ve turned your comment section to a mini blog post, lol?, this topic just really speaks to me, and a lot of others, apparently)

    Thank you for this❤

    Oh, and happy birthday in advance.

    • Victory Okoyomoh

      July 16, 2022 at 7:01 am

      I’m glad I shared this. Honestly, comments like yours make me feel like I’m not alone too. I like to remind myself that it’s a work in progress. Maybe your last birthday wasn’t awesome, but the next one could be and it’s up to you.
      I don’t mind you turning the comments section into a mini blog post, I’m just happy to hear your thoughts?
      Thank you for reading, and thank you for the birthday wish ?

  9. Rozmarie

    July 16, 2022 at 11:07 am


  10. Emmykingz

    July 16, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    Beautiful. I feel it every time, good to know I’m not alone haha. I occasionally get me gifts and go somewhere different to help me feel better but I almost always work all day on my birthdays to keep me distracted (as usual).

    Thanks for sharing as mine is few months away and I can’t predict how I’d feel by then. I’ll keep my fingers crossed this time?

    • Victory Okoyomoh

      July 17, 2022 at 7:17 pm

      I’ll keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best for you man. Thank you for reading ?

  11. Xoxo

    July 16, 2022 at 7:27 pm

    This is sooooooo relatable.. I hope you’re happy tomorrow, but even if you aren’t, I hope you know that I’m rooting for you ?

  12. Dorcas

    July 16, 2022 at 8:45 pm

    I actually smiled when you said your birthday gift would be not giving in to birthday depression.
    I love how raw this is. I thought I was the only one that feels this way. My birthday is also this month and I’ve been masking the birthday depression with superficial happiness.
    I’d try not to give in to birthday depression this year?
    Thanks for sharing this.

    • Victory Okoyomoh

      July 17, 2022 at 7:18 pm

      I’m rooting for you. Us July babies deserve happy birthdays. I hope yours is delightful ?

  13. Chantelle

    July 16, 2022 at 10:09 pm

    I hope you have a splendid day tomorrow ?Happy birthday dear?

  14. Omah

    July 17, 2022 at 12:55 am

    This year’s birthday was the only one I was genuinely excited about before it even came for the past 3 years.

    I thought I was the only one who experienced this. I find solace in knowing I’m not alone.

    I think what happened differently this year was that I finally came to terms with the fact that growth is not as terrible as I thought it was. A new season should be exciting and the fact that I get a shot at another year to stretch onto greater things? Amazing..

    Happy birthday in arrears Victory?

    • Victory Okoyomoh

      July 17, 2022 at 7:22 pm

      I love all you said. Growth isn’t as terrible as it seems ?
      Thank you for sharing

  15. Ifeoluwa

    July 17, 2022 at 11:26 am

    Happy birthday Victory ???

    Thanks a lot for talking about this.

  16. Ibrahim

    July 19, 2022 at 4:51 am

    Belated birthday victory!


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