How A Good Cry Can Help Your Mental Health
Oh, how I love me some tears. You can’t beat them when push comes to shove, and The Feels come a-knocking at the back of the old eyeballs. They don’t love me though. But if I can enjoy a good cry, I can have hope.
I’m not the world’s most aesthetically pleasing cryer, to be perfectly honest. I’d love to tell you that when I come over all a-quiver with emotion and need to shed a droplet or two of sadness, I look like this:
No, dear readers, this is not the case. It’s never been the case. NEVER. If I get upset, it’s Blotch Central. My stupid florid overweight visage is no match for an unexpected attack of Ol’ Wet-Eyes. It’s a massacre of my complexion. When I cry, all my features disappear in a sea of salt-water and sadness. Here’s me. (Minus the caring hot fella, obvs.)
To be fair, Clare Danes does a BRILLIANT ‘cry face’. Breaks the heart to watch her. Even at her worst sobbing, nobody wants to run away screaming in terror at the face-melting weep orgy they’ve just witnessed. That type of reaction is reserved for Yours Truly. I’m sorry to say that not only do I look like I’m wearing a face mask composed entirely of round steak mince while in the midst of a nice substantial bawlfest, I also have zero redeeming qualities even in the aftermath. Some folks get that dewy, sparkly-eyed look like they’ve just given their eyes a full valet wax service at a carwash. I’m not one of those folks:
Cute, aren’t I? The swelling goes down eventually. I promise. Probably. Lord knows. I’m old now, maybe my face stays that way next time.
An Ugly Cry Is Still A Good Cry
But I digress. The point of this piece is that crying is fucking GREAT. I’m talking specifically about the process itself, not necessarily the events leading up to it if they’re sad ones, obviously. It’s like breaking the seal on a pressure cooker, isn’t it? As much as I think it’s amazing though, I really don’t cry all that often. I think when you deal with mental health issues like Clinical Depression or an Anxiety Disorder you’re more aware than usual of every emotion on the spectrum, and probably equal parts suspicious and terrified of them. Feelings. Those crazy, unhinged bastards. If you’re not feeling in control of your emotional faculties, then sadness can look like – well, pretty much how The Neverending Story painted it:
During a particularly bad depression episode a few years back, I remember leaving the house to go to the shop and maybe post a letter if I could get the brain space to do it. I got as far as the bottom of the steps outside my building’s front door before I started to well up, feeling a molasses-thick wave of pain and grief rise up through my chest, threatening to burst through and knock me sideways. I was completely powerless, and completely rooted to the spot. Outside. In public at lunchtime. Surrounded by office buildings and corner shops full of people who were all staring at me. Not really, but my broken brain had me convinced that they were; just hordes and hordes of people pointing and wondering who the fuck was this mad bitch who couldn’t get it together enough to even step outside a door without losing her grip on life.
It took a Herculean effort, but I managed to squish down all the bad stuff long enough to get my outside world bits done (minus a small sample-cry in front of the cereal section in Spar because I’d have burst a blood vessel otherwise), and I made my way home. All through that time, I felt a world of pain in my chest and stomach, and I’m not 100% sure whether it was physical or emotional in origin, but it was the closest thing to feeling true heartbreak I’d had since Mom had died. I knew that was precisely where the pain and grief was coming from anyway, because of the time of year and various other reminders I’d run into at the time. So by the time I got back to my front door, I was planning on throwing down the bags, flinging myself on my bed, and just fucking launching into some rib-cracking sobs before my brain just shut down completely and left me to rot in despair ad infinitum.
You know that feeling when you’re en route back home but you’re DYING for a pee? I mean like you’ve forgotten to pee for a few hours because work was busy and you forgot to go? So you figured you’d pee once you got home, but the traffic was bad and now you’re in pain with it and you can’t even cough or sneeze in case a little comes out so then you’re doing that weird little dance while fishing for your keys to get into your apartment and once you’re in you dive towards the loo backwards and arse-first, jeans and knickers at half-mast, and finally….
That’s what a long overdue cry feels like. Painful in the build-up, but totally worth it once you’ve had a chance to relieve yourself. Has to be done every now and again.
In short, having a good cry is basically like pissing liquid emotional pain out of where your eyeballs live.
Look; I never said reading this blog would be pretty.
Cry on, my friends, cry on. I, on the other hand, really need to pee. Much love 💘