While many people love their birthdays for an opportunity to have fun with their friends and relatives, gifts, and parties, not everyone enjoys their birthdays. For some of us, a celebration of another year can turn into a very sad experience, and some people even talk about such a thing as “birthday depression.”

Is it OK to be sad on your birthday? Well, many people experience depression around their birthdays so it’s quite a common phenomenon. Some people call it “birthday blues,” others use the term “birthday depression,” but the latter isn’t a real, official diagnosis.

The truth is that a person may feel sad on their birthday for a variety of reasons, including fear of aging, fear of loneliness, and fear of uncertainty. Although there is no such clinical diagnosis as “birthday depression,” if someone has depression, its symptoms may get worse around their birthday.

Besides, when a person’s expectations are unfulfilled or the birthday triggers problems with relationships (or highlights a lack of thereof), the sadness triggered by this day may evolve into a depressive episode.

In this article, we will take a closer look at birthday sadness and think of what can make this day so challenging. We will also consider a few tips on how to beat the birthday blues.

Depression is a serious mental health problem that can have a destructive impact on many areas of your life, so it’s important to recognize this mental health issue on time so you can get the necessary help. For instance, people with depression can benefit from depression counseling.

Why Birthdays Are So Hard

People feel sad for different reasons, but there are some common reasons why birthdays may turn into sad days. Here are some of the factors that may trigger sadness on birthdays.

High expectations

Quite often, people throw birthday parties, and for some, it means planning a “perfect” party. When you want every detail to be perfect, the chances are that you will be disappointed, so it’s no surprise that high expectations often lead to birthday sadness.


Obviously, birthdays make it impossible not to think about aging, and becoming one year older isn’t exactly a positive experience. Even if you feel the same as the day before, thinking about becoming older can make you feel sad and ruin your birthday mood.

Social pressure

If you watch a movie with a birthday party scene or take a look at social media influencers’ accounts where they post photos from their birthday parties, the chances are that you will be impressed by how amazing these parties are and how happy everyone looks.

The problem is that a party that looks perfect can turn into a societal expectation. By seeing examples of perfect birthdays, one may develop unreasonably high expectations when it comes to one’s own celebrations. Obviously, the situation may get even worse when other people reinforce such an image.

The problem with expectations becomes especially difficult if it’s a milestone birthday, like 16, 21, 30, and so on. Given that such birthdays are viewed as particularly important by many, “failing” to throw a special party on such a day or spending it alone can easily make you feel sad on your birthday.

 Less attention and excitement

Let’s be honest, the older you get, the less special every birthday feels. When you’re young, every birthday means something. Sweet 16, being able to vote, or buy booze — these are all great occasions for others to send their greetings or come to celebrate such days with you.

When you turn 32 or 45, however, birthdays don’t feel so exciting anymore, and others may also be less excited about you becoming a year older. The difference between your birthdays now and back when you were young may easily make you feel sad when you’re an adult.

How to Beat the Birthday Blues

Symptoms of depression can be overwhelming, but it’s possible to withstand birthday blues by practicing self-care and creating positive experiences to balance the negative ones. Here are some tips that might help you overcome birthday depression.

Prepare in advance

If you know that you may feel sad on your birthday, you can prepare for it by engaging in healthy and positive activities so that your sadness won’t be so intense. You can do something that makes you feel good and connected to others or your inner self. Any activities that improve your mood can be very helpful when dealing with depression.

Acknowledge your emotions

Most people associate birthdays with fun and positive experiences, but if it’s not the case for you, don’t be afraid to acknowledge it. There’s no need to throw a party if you’re not going to enjoy it. If you feel sad, you don’t have to pretend you’re happy because that might only make you feel more isolated and misunderstood.

Besides, your feelings won’t go away if you decide to just ignore them and pretend that everything’s OK. For instance, many people live with so-called smiling depression. They may not look sad, and they handle their regular responsibilities, but they still feel the impact of depression on their mood and behavior.

Practice self-compassion

Self-compassion is rather a necessity when it comes to depression and sadness, in general. Self-compassion can help you avoid some symptoms of depression, such as self-blame and self-deprecation. Keep in mind that self-compassion is impossible without self-awareness.

Create a comfortable environment

When everyone wants to celebrate, it can be difficult to admit that you just want to stay home and forget that it’s your birthday, at all. The truth is that it’s your day, and you deserve to spend it the way you want.

If you don’t want to throw a party, you can simply have a couple of drinks with just a few of your closest friends. You may also feel more comfortable on your birthday when you’re alone or keep it a secret, and there’s nothing wrong with that. To avoid birthday sadness, make sure to create a perfectly comfortable environment for yourself and prioritize your own needs.

 Consider therapy

As we’ve already mentioned above, people experience depression for different reasons, and understanding the roots of depression might be very important if you want to ease its symptoms. A licensed therapist can help you figure out the root causes of your sadness, come up with the right diagnosis, and suggest effective coping practices.

While traditional in-person therapy may not be a convenient option for those who have tight work schedules, online platforms like Calmerry offer a more flexible solution. You can benefit from video chat therapy with no need to leave the comfort of your home or send a message to your therapist whenever you need to share something.

Wrapping Up

While many people enjoy their birthdays, this isn’t the case for everyone. For some of us, birthdays might be stressful, and they may even trigger depressive episodes, making it very difficult to enjoy such days. Unrealistic expectations and social pressure may easily make you feel sad on your birthday.

If you’re experiencing the birthday blues, don’t be afraid to acknowledge your feelings and make sure to create a perfectly comfortable environment.

Besides, don’t hesitate to seek professional help — a licensed therapist can help you figure out what makes you feel sad and suggest effective solutions. Learn more about the benefits of talk therapy to get ready for your first session.


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The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional treatment or diagnosis. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


Isreal olabanji a dental assistant and public health professionals and has years of experience in assisting the dentist with all sorts of dental issues.We regularly post timely and trustworthy medical information and news on Fitness, Dental care, Recipes, Child health, obstetrics, and more.

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