Birthdays and Social Anxiety

It’s my birthday month! Where are all my Cancers and Leos?!

excited happy birthday GIF

That’s what I would probably say if I were social and a person that was excited about birthdays. Sorry, that’s not me. But, I am still excited if it’s your birthday month too!

As calendars would have it, tomorrow is my 28th birthday (yay!). As per usual, my fingers are crossed that no one will notice. What’s my problem? What’s wrong with birthdays? Nothing! However, when you have social anxiety, a cheery birthday is not all it’s cracked up to be.

From a very young age, I never liked having a lot of attention. Too much attention made me scared and inevitably, I would cry. Whereas other summer babies were excited about pool parties and outdoor activities. I considered myself lucky because that meant no classroom cupcakes and no public announcements from the principal. As faith would have it, my brother’s birthday is the day before mine (happy birthday, bro!). He is all about the birthday shine! Luckily for my parents, that meant they could celebrate two birthdays for the price of one. My ideas to stay home or have a quiet dinner were often outvoted for more fun activities like Chuck E. Cheese, backyard parties, and theme park visits.

Luckily, I am an adult now and I have more say into how I want to spend my birthdays. I am totally cool with trying a new restaurant, going to a matinee showing of a summer blockbuster, or eating birthday cake ice cream without pants. I won’t even tell my job my birthday is coming up to hopefully prevent a group outing (it’s only happened once). I want peace of mind and a surprise or group activity makes me on edge, more than I usually am.

My last two birthdays contained surprise visits from my lovely friend. I should have been a ball of happiness, like a “normal” person. But, alas, I had a complete birthday meltdown (twice!). It makes me feel incredibly crappy when I can’t enjoy a social activity someone else has worked so hard to plan. It makes me feel ungrateful, even though I appreciate the gesture. Like clockwork, as soon as I am told there’s a surprise waiting for me, my chest tightens, my palms become sweaty, and my brain is trying to conjure up 20 different scenarios.

After it’s all said and done, I am happy it happened, but I silently wish that next year my birthday will be spent quietly alone.

Are you a big birthday person? How do you like to spend your birthdays?

Author: MutedMouthful

Native New Yorker, amateur artist, sarcastic social worker, professional people watcher, and alliteration addict. Writing about mental health, introversion, social anxiety, and my imagination.

3 thoughts

  1. My birthdays are either just with my mum and a friend on different days. (Odd times we are all together.) Otherwise on my own.
    My last party, which I arranged as in my 30’s. This was a combined birthday and house warming party. I had close people that I knew and kept it small, so it was comfortable and not too noisy.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s