Monday, September 20, 2010
The gift of tears. Monday, Sept. 20, 2010.
“Have you ever known the feeling, when you're too sad to cry? When no tears escape your eyelids, and you can't help but wonder why?” -McJunkie
I’ve been having crying spells lately. I get scared or overwhelmed or angry, and the tears come pouring down. Sometimes it’s just a few teardrops that dry right up. Other times it’s a sobbing cascade that requires me to be locked in the bathroom, where no one can see.
Given the choice, I’d much rather not feel down enough to cry. But I’ve lived through another reality – the absolute inability to cry.
When layoffs started happening around me, and whispers of a company-wide bankruptcy began to surface, I began to cry silently in my cubicle. I also began to cry more in general – at movies and TV shows, even at kind comments.
But then somehow, in a way I don’t think even medical doctors understand, I was hit with a mania and a depression at the same time – the dreaded “mixed state,” during which it is reported that one of two victims will attempt suicide.
Along with extreme restlessness, inability to eat, and insomnia, I had a peculiar symptom – an inability to cry, which actually is one symptom of a major depressive episode.
Frankly, it was a bizarre feeling. I had never been so sad, but all I could do was make guttural sounds. At the same time, I was physically and emotionally numb. It was this numbness that allowed me to tell my doctor in the hospital that I was so low, even the death of a loved one would not have an impact on me. And it was this numbness that allowed me to slice open my wrists and not feel it at all.
Today, a year and a half into my recovery, I see the inability to cry as a major red flag. To cry real tears brings some release. To be unable to bring forth those tears – to have hit bottom so far that even crying becomes impossible – is a very scary place to be.
So right now, if I need to cry I will cry; I have a lot inside me that needs releasing. And I see those tears as a gift, helping to wash my pain away.