Crying may be one of the most natural things in the world but it still has such stigma attached. Even today in 2018.
Sadly it is also a huge part of life for many chronically ill, including me. It serves many purposes in my day to day life, one of which is the relief of built up pain and frustration. Without it I fear I would not cope at all.
However, even though it has become a very big part of my life now, it is still seen as weakness by others, drama by many, and makes a lot of people uncomfortable and unwilling to be in my company. Some people tend to react by showing empathy and allowing me to let out these feelings, however some people will tend to judge me and retreat. I can never tell anymore who will react in negative ways, so I don’t risk it. I don’t go out amongst people if there is the slightest chance I may be suffering or may be moved to tears. I won’t even talk on the phone!
Growing up in the 70s I came from a family that considered crying to be an act of weakness. It was not allowed in our family and I was always told to “go away if I was going to cry” or “stop crying or I will give you something to cry about”. I learned early on that it was not acceptable and even shameful. However there were a select few that were allowed to cry… my parents and whomever they deemed worthy.
It took me many years to learn that this was wrong and I now don’t endorse such judgements and behaviors. I have no time for such people in my life now. I am more emotionally mature and respectful now and I also expect those closest to me to be as mature also, or we just can’t be in each other’s company.
Crying has become a daily requirement in my life over the past several years as pain and frustration gets on top of me. The past twelve months have been particularly painful as I have endured many struggles and now a damaged hip which gives me no relief at all. When the other parts of my body flare or start rebelling at the same time the results can be overwhelming. So I cry.
Because many of my friends and acquaintances do not feel at all comfortable being around tears I have forced myself to further retreat from people for fear of losing more people through no fault of my own. I just can’t predict when the pain or torment will get too much these days and lead to tears.
Sometimes even holding on and holding back emotions can mean such a build up that the slightest thing can push me over. So I stay hidden and don’t even want to show my emotions to doctors. It is far healthier for me to find release when needed than to suffer further. So I tend to do so in the privacy of my home.
It is a sad reality that most doctors still see tears and crying and instantly think it a sign of depression and mental illness rather than recognize the pain and challenges at the core of it all. It seems far easier for them to make these determinations instead of working at the more difficult issues. Chronic sufferers can be labeled as complicated and too hard to treat because of the enormous amount of challenges and difficulties they are forced to cope with and the current medical profession is extraordinarily unable to cope with long term or chronic conditions. Very few people, including doctors and health care workers can comprehend long lasting illness and progressive diseases… so they don’t.
Generally speaking, not unless you are going through it yourself will you have any idea what it feels like. This is just a universal truth. So I have had to try and work with this reality but at the same time I truly believe that it needs changing. Educating. Knowledge. Understanding. Developing.
In my opinion crying is not the worst thing a person can do, nor is it a sign of their weakness. Judging, indifference and coldness is.
So while I hide away so that I don’t burden people with the reality that I confront, and my husband confronts, I hope these blogs will help others rethink some of the social attitudes and beliefs towards sufferers and crying and perhaps take another view about what chronic sufferers must endure day to day.
I hope that these little steps will at least be some steps that bring us closer together and connect us again, rather than continually leaving us alone with our pain and tears.