Crying isn’t just for babies

Baby crying hard.

There’s nothing wrong with being a crybaby.

I should preface this post by acknowledging that it’s been a pretty hard week. Gout has been my unwanted companion day and night, interfering excessively with my daily life. Too much inactive time alone in my house is always bad for my mental health.

I’ve been trying not to be a downer–I’m sure you all have enough going on in your own lives–but I haven’t been the model of coping I aspire to. In fact, I’ll admit to the odd tearfest. I’m not much of a cryer but sometimes I just can’t stop myself, just like the baby who is long overdue for a diaper change. I figured I’d share with you my guidelines, as a psychologist and a person with feelings, for using your crying time most productively.

1. Don’t try to stop it. If you’re at that place where it’s got to come out, trying to hold it in probably won’t help. Rather, it might just give you a headache, or result in your bursting into tears later that day upon discovering your favourite show is on reruns.

2. Pick a time that works for you. I happen to be a morning cryer, but you may be better suited for evenings. When I get my tears out of the way first thing, I find I can then get on with my day. You may manage through your day but fall apart at bedtime. Just don’t let crying take over your day; put it away once you’re done and get on with things.

3. Don’t forget multitasking. I often choose to do something during a crying fest, and find it eventually distracts me from my misery. For example, I might get up and start making dinner. At some point I realize I can’t read my recipe through my tears so have no choice but to shut off my fountain and get to work.

4. Remind yourself that, like everything else, whatever is distressing you shall pass. When a client was at his most despairing, when he came in at his lowest, I often wondered how he would get through it. But inevitably, the next time we met, he was feeling better: he had tried to approach the problem in a new way or had gained a new perspective on the challenge. I learned a great deal from my clients’ capacity to rebound. So, too, your distress may feel insurmountable in that moment, as does mine some days, but within a few hours, or the next day, or sometime in the very near future, you may wonder what the big deal was.

Indeed, as overwhelmed as I have been the past few mornings, I have made it through each day with the tremendous support of J. and my wonderful friends, I think I’m now past the hump. I am almost back on my feet (literally) and can look forward to everyone’s favourite 50th-year marker: Tuesday’s colonscopy. That darn prep has got to be easier than this bout of gout has been, and the sedation….


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