"It's my birthday. Which makes me sad for two reasons, firstly cos my birthday always makes me sad. Not due to getting old or anything but due to childhood trauma, birthdays were a way for my mother to show publically how much she wanted the world to think she was a caring mother while in private I was scared and alone. So my birthday tends to trigger dark and sad memories and I'm often left feeling scared and alone. When we lived with my ex birthdays were banned unless the ex wanted to show off in some social way, which was extremely rare as we were mostly bared from leaving the house except for groceries once a week. So my children never got their first birthday experiences until after we left him, for my daughter that was her fifth birthday, third for my son. As such for my sweet children birthdays are a special day to celebrate their lives and their place in this world. A way for me to remind them how glad I am to have had them in a way. That's what birthdays mean to us. They also insist that I should celebrate my birthday too, cos, as my daughter put it, I deserve to be celebrated for being alive too. So for them I try to be less sad and enjoy my day. It's easier with distractions. This brings me too the second reason I'm sad today. Today marks the last day I took my kids out for a family fun day. Precovid our birthday plans would consist of a day trip to anywhere the birthday person wanted to go, so for my daughter that was normally soft play followed by pancakes, for my son it was often the beach with picnic. For me it would be swimming, water is my happy place and where my flashbacks and dark memories can't reach me. So last year I took my kids swimming and we ate in the little onsite cafe. The first lockdown happened less than a week later, we've not been out as a family for anything other than the odd grocery shop or stroll around the local area since. A while year with nothing to do and nowhere to go. Distractions are important for helping to manage mental health symptoms and as part of healing from dark memories by building new memories. Feelings and memories of being trapped, locked up and isolated are much harder to process when one is in a lockdown. I do support the use of lockdowns to combat virus spreading, I don't support their mismanagement (such as being lifted too early this making the while affair wasteful or being applicable only to those who can't afford the fines associated with not following the rules) and I've taken lockdowns very seriously (I'd rather be unhappy and plagued by painful memories for a short time then catch the virus and have my children face a world without me there to love them long term) but it is hard not being able to go out for the distractions I once so heavily replied upon to help me heal from trauma. It's unlikely also that, even after the virus is gone, that I'll be able to use those same distractions as regularly due to financial stresses and strains of universal credit. My birthday treat for today instead shall be a bottle of wine I received last Christmas and saved knowing I'd have no money this spring. And my sweet children trying to give me a relaxing day where I can have a long bath and lots of cuddles."

Victoria B
Mar 15, 2021

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