Not all tears are evil: Learning to cry again

“I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are evil.” – Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings

When I was younger and my body was responding to anti-depressants with a hazed blankness, I couldn’t cry. My emotions felt trapped in my head, unable to release through tears or a swell of feeling. Fears and obsessions cluttered my head, making it ache.

I’m not sure if this was only because of the anti-depressants, and I think it’s likely that some of it was because of my own habit of introverted introspection. I didn’t like crying in front of people, but I’ve learned over the years that I can’t cry alone. I have to be with someone to release. But to me, crying felt too close to depression or despair. It felt too close to fear, and I didn’t want to lose myself in my emotions again. So I fought them.

I’ve cried a lot this past month. When I found out my dog had cancer. When I had a stressful day of teaching. When I had self-doubts about being a writer. Every time I curled up next to my husband and talked about it until my tears soaked his sleeve. And I felt better.

Being able to cry has been healing. I’m learning that not all tears are evil–and that some are even good. I finally feel comfortable with my emotions. I can talk about them and let myself cry. When I’m done crying, I blink out the tears, wipe my eyes, and move on feeling stronger instead of weaker.

When I faced depression several years ago, I cried a lot, and afterwards I feared that all tears would lead back to that same despair. It took me this long to realize that sadness and depression are not only different but are greatly divided. I can now feel sad without fearing depression. I can mourn without despair. I can cry and know that I am mentally healthy and able to cope.

When I do have days of despair, I now know that it is a healthy thing to cry and talk about it, whether that is with a friend or mentor or family member.

While writing Obsessed with Happy, an old post on our society’s fear of sadness, I realized that my own fear of depression was keeping me from feeling all of the emotions that God has allowed us to feel. No, sadness is not something I look forward to, but it is something that is good and healthy and healing.

Depression is hard and terrifying, and I know that many of you struggle with that. I’m not saying that crying will heal you. But I do think that we can learn to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy sadness.

The first step, I think, is to learn not to fear our sadness or tears, but to welcome them and learn from them.

Thank you for reading! If you liked this post, please like, subscribe, or share! It means the world to me to share my work with you, and I’m so grateful when you share it with others.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s