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May 15, 2017 6:42 pm  #1

Theraputic Crying...

As some of you know I've been through a rough time recently which involved both physical and mental health problems. I'm a good way down the road to a degree of recovery. But, one of the symptoms I experienced was a tendency to burst into tears - I was extremely emotional. And me being interested in crying as well !

​One of the medical professionals treating me suggested I turn it into a positive. He was a firm believer in crying being (in the main) a good thing. His principle was that most excretions from the body were to expel waste products and tears in his view were no different. I actually remember hearing this theory years ago. He felt people did not cry enough (both male - especially male and female alike). He felt it wrong that western society at least, viewed crying as weak and something that should be avoided.

​Although he did point out that people should not force themselves to cry and accepted everyone had a different threshold for crying.

​He reckoned that my ability to cry very easily was due to my body trying to sort itself out and in doing so it needed to flush chemicals out through my tears. He encouraged me that whenever I felt emotional and tears coming as long as I felt I was in a safe place (and that safe place was considered better if someone else was present) just to let them come and cry - make no attempt to stop the flow.

​He said the way you cry is important - he said it's best if it's not a "violent cry" as he put it (sobbing I guess) because although this type of crying is still beneficial the more extreme it gets the more unpredictable the benefits. He likened it to "Mindfulness Crying" - when you first feel the emotion, sit back and feel the emotion inside your body and let it fill you. Whenever I did this my eyes immediately filled with tears and they would be spilling out in seconds. He told me to be aware of my tears, the wetness in my eyes, how it felt as they ran across my skin. He told me not to wipe tears away, let them flow and not to be embarrassed by them. Accept and acknowledge that you are crying (don't pretend your not) - give yourself permission to cry. And let them stop naturally - don't try to stop before you are ready.

​Being interested in crying and generally agreeing with much of what he was saying I went along with his theory. I'm not one for crying much in front of other guys so it felt strange at the beginning of our working relationship together. But I could not help but cry anyway so there was no point pretending I was not getting upset. In the early days letting myself cry often turned into uncontrollable sobbing. It felt like there was so much needing to burst out. But gradually more often than not the crying would be a more gentle affair - generally quiet, wobbly voice for sure and lots of tears!

​Even now I still allow myself to cry whenever I feel emotional and I feel I can safely let it out. I don't make myself cry - although I could, and probably still can if I wanted too.

​Does it work... I think yes. My mentor did admit he didn't think it can work for everyone - which he reckoned was more down to the person accepting and allowing themselves to cry than the process. But for me although I didn't immediately feel better - probably felt worse immediately after - give it a few hours and I felt more positive.

​I'd love to hear you comments. Have you ever felt like crying and decided to find a safe place and let the tears flow? Have you ever forced yourself not to cry? Did you feel this was a good thing or a bad thing? Do you think this type of crying could work for you to improve your mental health? Or, do you think it's nuts!    

All comments welcome.


May 15, 2017 8:23 pm  #2

Re: Theraputic Crying...

No I don't think it's nuts, it sounds amazingly like singing in a way.  As a singer, I was always told not to "give too  much," at all times, like less is more.  Cuz it can harm the voice anyway and it needs to be supported with the air. I was thinking of that when I read what your therapist said about violent crying, and sometimes adverse results of that.  I likened it to exhausting the physical body too soon and therefore not getting to full release.  I usually sob when I cry but not always really loud. I'll let my body shake and the tears flow down. I'm uncomfortable with the idea of just crying outwardly with tears running down the cheeks and especially the nose running...I always feel like I want to cover my face, but I see what your therapist means.  Covering the face or wiping tears is like trying to cover up the fact that one is crying...or make oneself stop before they're ready.  I always thought well hell, everyone knows someone is crying even with their face covered, cuz they hear the sobs and see the body shaking...but I see the benefits of allowing tears AND snot to roll down with no shame, discomfort or fear. I think I might start practicing that next time I need to cry.
Another thing you mentioned is not forcing oneself to cry.  I sometimes have sat alone and sobbed, without tears, and although some may frown on  it cuz it's "fake," there are times it can bring about real tears. Depending on how I allow it to flow.  If I don't try to direct the sobs or some such, the tears will come...and it won't feel like I'm acting or something lol.  There's a writer called Sark who wrote about crying once, and suggested in one of her books certain ways to get to tears. One of them was throw oneself on the bed and pretend to cry loudly and theatrically...and within moments you actually do cry.  It has happened for me.  But I also see more benefit in just allowing and letting things go naturally.  It gets more feelings and ultimately, more TOXINS out...than trying to control it in some way. Yeah I also used to force myself not to cry especially when young, cuz I'd never hear the end of it from my peers. Especially bullies, lmao!!!!  It's good to embrace tears and emotions and learn different ways of dealing with and expressing them.  This is a good post, thanks!

"People cry, not because they're weak. It's because they've been strong for too long." --Johnny Depp
"Cry to me...let it come, let it bleed...reach in and get it, and set it free." --Heart

May 16, 2017 1:31 am  #3

Re: Theraputic Crying...

Lately, if I feel the need to cry, I find playing certain songs - and singing along with them - invariably brings up tears. The songs all have a phrase that hits me "right in the feels" and so I cry. I can't help it.

"We have our stalking memories, and they will demand their rightful tears."

May 17, 2017 1:06 am  #4

Re: Theraputic Crying...

Forcing oneself not to cry is an important skill that has taken me a long time to learn.

In high school I had to rush to find a safe place to cry countless times, but it was rarely therapeutic unless I was with a friend or family member who was commiserating and comforting me. For me, crying alone is only enjoyable if it's happening during some kind of entertainment (movie/book/music) where the tears enhance and magnify the experience and make it memorable.

I'm a woman and I think women are beautiful when they cry.

May 17, 2017 1:01 pm  #5

Re: Theraputic Crying...

As you know I cry rarely. When I cry it just happens, it breaks out, it is violent crying, no control, but it just happened with my husband and when I was younger in front of my parents. One time I was crying in the toilet during my school time but even there I couldn't let go because the violent crying can be heard through a thin toilet door and I am somebody who always wants to be in control.
I didn't get any good experience when crying in front of others and I think that is the reason why I can't try to have a crying like you described it, tearhunter. It is about trust I don't have.
Crying alone could be a possibility but when I have something to cry about it is just gone when I would have the time to do it for myself.


May 18, 2017 12:18 am  #6

Re: Theraputic Crying...

Great post, tearhunter! I know that if I ever feel like crying and prevent it somehow, the debt isn't forgiven until I actually do get that cry I needed, even if it's days later and I'm not upset about the original thing anymore.

It is such a secret place, the land of tears.
-- Antoine de Saint Exupery, "The Little Prince"

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