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Birthday Blues

From the U.S.: I moved to a new state about 5 months ago. I now live in a very small, very rural area, 9 hours from my nearest family member. Today is my birthday and I spent most of the day on my couch alone. The rest was spent shoveling my deck. No one made any effort to spend time with me today.

I had a phone call from my parents and then one from my brother, and birthday posts on Facebook from people I haven’t talked to in who knows how long. I felt so alone. I see all these people online going out with family and friends for their birthdays, and all I wanted was for someone to show they cared that I’m alive. Instead I got quick, obligatory birthday wishes and no attention given to the fact that I am completely alone.

I got locked out of my house just a couple nights ago and had to walk into town to find someone to help. I didn’t know what I was going to do, I didn’t know anyone’s number, and today just solidified this feeling of absolute isolation. I spend everyday of my life caring for people, all I want is to have someone in my life who genuinely cares about me too. I just want someone who would inconvenience themselves just one to show me that I matter, and that I am cared for.

I know my parents love me, but they live half way across the country and it’s different than having a friend or SO. I’ve never had a single friendship where someone cared enough to know who I am. It is better to be loved and unknown than known and unloved, but worst of all is to bel unknown and unloved.

Birthday Blues

A.

I’m so sorry that you feel so alone. At first, I thought that you are experiencing a normal adjustment to moving so far away from family and friends. But then you said that you have never had the kind of friends you long for. That suggests a much more serious and long-term problem.

You indicated in your personal information that you are in grad school. It’s a concern to me that after a whole semester, you don’t know anyone well enough to call them and don’t have anyone’s phone number. Chances are that at least some of your classmates are as new to your new community as you are. Usually the members of a class reach out to each other. If you were seeing me for therapy, I’d be asking you to look at what you have done to initiate contact with others and how you have responded to others’ attempts to know you.

You won’t find friends or love by wishing for them. My guess is that you need to take a new look at how you are interacting with others and what you can do to invite others to be your friends. It could be that you aren’t aware of your part in your isolation. If you understood it, you would be taking steps to change it. For that reason, I suggest you make an appointment with a mental health counselor who can help you figure that out.

I hope you will follow through and make that appointment. A counselor will be a caring person in your life while you work on developing a natural support system.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Birthday Blues

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Birthday Blues. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 11, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2018/03/08/birthday-blues/

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Mar 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Mar 2018
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.