I cried twice on Dad’s 70th birthday. It wasn’t quite the joyous occasion we’d all envisioned years ago, but it was never going to be, and while that feels heart-breaking in one sense, I’ve realised the following:

It does not matter if the milestone events aren’t the best days of your life. If they are then that’s truly wonderful, but if they’re not, then it really is ok.

Sometimes putting a brave face on isn’t always possible, and holding it together another day just isn’t an option, no matter how much you wish it was. Sometimes no matter how much you want to keep holding it together for loved ones because you feel responsible to, you just can’t. You need just as much care. Pushing yourself to breaking point won’t benefit them in any way. That niggle in the back of my mind of guilt & worry that I’m not giving Dad the full care & attention that he needs won’t budge at the moment, but I am dealing with other big and painful transitions in my life right now that need working through. As much as I would like to, I am not in a position to give myself fully to anyone at the moment, and that’s ok. Sometimes it’s hard to get a balance but recognise when you need to give to you.

Do not force yourself to give to others if it will take away from you.
Be there when you can, but do not neglect yourself. 

It’s ok to cry at what wasn’t, if you need to, but then try to focus your energy on what is and what can be. I cried, deeply & painfully, twice in my room throughout the day. But I was determined to make the best I could of it, for both of us, as that particular day and moment wouldn’t come around to us again.

Dad had made his 70th birthday. He was home. I was back from Australia to spend it with him. It was a beautiful dry, mild, autumnal day. We were able to walk in the park and Dad even had a go on the zip wire and swing, something he’d never usually do. We might not have been fulfilling a lifelong dream touring our way around Graceland & all of the Elvis hotspots together (a trip I hoped and still hope I will be able to take with Dad one day), and I myself might not have been in as sunny a state of mind as I thought I would be, but we had two of the kindest, good-hearted people sat with us around the dinner table to carry myself, Mum & Dad along through the rest of the day. Thanks to them it ended with a smile & some laughter, even though inside I think we were all hurting & uncomfortable.

  

I’ve realised that it isn’t the end of the world that we didn’t have the day that we’d imagined for years, and we didn’t have a day free from tears & feeling unsettled, because those days had come elsewhere and could come at other points in the future. Even if it’s hard to believe those words in this moment (it is for me too right now), I know them to be true. Take the pressure off and give yourself a break.

No day is more special than the next, no matter what milestone or occasion. 

Every day that we open our eyes & breath is a privilege, a chance to start over, to make great memories and to potentially have the best day of our lives. And if that doesn’t feel like today, then that’s ok, just make the best of it that you can in that moment. That’s all we can ever do.

I believe in you!

What events or occasions have you struggled with, big or small, and how did you get through? Sharing these moments can help to remind ourselves and others that there is always a way through, even if it’s an uncomfortable journey. And for the times it really does all feel too much, and you can not find a way to take the pressure off or see beyond the struggle – Help Is Here

2 Replies to “Having A ‘Happy’ Birthday With Mental Health”

  1. Kelly says:

    A truly heartfelt and profound post with such an important message. I suffer from anxiety and depression and, although it is under control and almost none existent at the moment, it hit particularly hard last Christmas. I adore Christmas and felt cheated out of it, as I didn’t ‘feel’ it as I would normally, I didn’t feel the pure happiness and excitement that I am usually brimming with during the festive season.
    I felt guilty that I couldn’t enjoy it and that I was affecting how my family enjoyed it. If we take the pressure off, and take each day as it comes, it might ease the weight we carry, just a little. Find happiness in the little moments, rather than what could have been.
    I hope brighter days are ahead for your father, your family and yourself very soon.
    X

    1. Jessica Phillips says:

      Thank you for your support & kind words Kelly, and for sharing so openly! You’re amazing! I have a Halloween & Christmas post to come that I think you might relate to. Keep being you & taking each day as it comes. Lots of love x

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