Sunday, 26 May 2013

The Crying Shame


'There is no reason to cry; it's not like anybody died, it's so stupid.'
'Crying is a sign of weakness.'
'Crying is embarrassing.'
'Crying means I have lost the battle.'

Sound familiar? These are all reasons we tell ourselves and other people, to convince us that we cannot and should not cry. It's all lies. 

Crying is a perfectly healthy physical response to overwhelming emotion. Happy, sad, relieved, angry and proud are just a few instances when people get the familiar 'welling up' feeling, but we look away, we take deep breaths and we fan our eyes because crying is inconvenient, it is shameful and it's just downright embarrassing. But why? Why have we become so afraid to cry?

"Like the ocean, tears are salt water. They lubricate your eyes, remove irritants, reduce stress hormones and contain antibodies that fight pathogenic microbes."

"Typically, after crying, our breathing and heart rate decrease, and we enter into a calmer biological and emotional state."

So tears are proven to have health benefits and can literally calm us down yet we, I, still find it hard to admit that I need to cry. 

I am an emotional person, even in the throws of an apathetic depression some sneaky emotions still wormed their way in and obliterated my tear ducts, but if I cry because I'm stressed or hurt then it must mean that I have lost. I am only just coming to terms with how ridiculously wrong (and stubborn) I am. I am a bottle and eventually I reach my fill, once that happens then I will either dramatically explode or become completely unable to take any more. Crying is a release, a purge and a bloody good one. Better than self harm, better than drugs or alcohol as this is something your body is prepared for and actually welcomes!

"Tears are your body's release valve for stress, sadness, grief, anxiety and frustration. Also, you can have tears of joy, say when a child is born or tears of relief when a difficult time has passed. To stay healthy and release stress, I encourage my patients to cry. For both men and women, tears are a sign of courage, strength and authenticity."

So, for the love of God, cry your heart out. Not literally, although I'm not sure that can be done but I wouldn't try it, just in case. But cry it all out, the pain, the fear, the tension. Cry at home, at a film, a book, an advert, a puppy, a tin of soup if you have to but just do it because your body will thank you for it*.

Cry and be sedated, cry and be liberated. 

*Your make-up, however, will not thank you so you might want to retouch and maybe carry some tissues and eye drops for the red eye.

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