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My Blog

A Waterfall of Tears

Crying seems to be something that comes over a person suffering from post-traumatic stress.  It is the kind of sobbing cry that you have trouble even identifying why or what you are crying over.   I've often heard about this from civilians suffering from post-traumatic stress and military personnel.  The crying feels like an embarrassment because it seems to happen at moments where we feel weakest, but if we shift our perspective as to what's happening when we cry, we can easier identify this as a simple release of energy from the body, as opposed to a weakness.   It's important not to  fight the tears.  Fighting back the tears becomes a stressor, in and of itself.  It makes your body tense, your jaw begins to ache, there is pressure in your chest, and a number of other physical symptoms can happen.    My impression is that many think that if they allow the first few tears to come, then there will be more and it won't ever stop.  What if we lose control within the tears?  I can telling that it's impossible to cry forever.  Eventually the tears do stop and then you are left wondering why you were so sad.  It's been my experience with post-traumatic stress that an answer usually doesn't come right away, which is where I learned how to honor the tears as a simple release from the body.  Our traumas, our stress, and our life experiences find their way into our cells and we carry this around with us.   When it doesn't get released, things build up on  us and well, sometimes tears are how it gets released.  It's when we try to suppress the tears and hide the sadness that we run into finding ways to mask it.  It's why you often find soldiers turning to alcohol or other forms of addiction and abuse.  They just want how they feel to go away and those forms of self-medicating are often contributing more to the problem than helping to process it.   On that note, when there is a fear of processing, it become easier to keep masking.    Post-traumatic stress is frightening.  It's frustrating.  It's maddening at times and it makes you feel as if you don't have any choices.  Crying makes you feel like that too.  Crying usually just comes over you and you just don't want to cry.  You don't want to feel your own weakness, but again, try thinking of it as more of a release of energy in the body than a show of weakness. 

Photo: Susie Guckin

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