I have learned the amazing value of having a big cry in the last few years.
In 2013 I had my most recent major surgery, a small bowel resection, and things went seriously wrong. I was fine throughout the operation, but when I came out of the Operating Room and into Recovery things took a turn for the worse.
They couldn’t control my pain, which is a pretty serious situation when you’ve had major surgery. It can cause the body to go into shock and shut down – it’s life and death stuff.
My (Most Recent) Life and Death Moment
They fought for me for five hours, overdosing me on three different narcotics. At one point I became conscious and found a nurse putting something into my cannula with really shaky hands.
I was immediately concerned, despite being in a woozy state, and asked her why she was shaking. Her response was : “Because you should be dead and I’m scared this will kill you. You’ve had more narcotics than the 12 people through this room today.” – then I lost consciousness.
About 8 hours later I finally came round in a hospital bed on ICU. I can’t remember in detail but it was dark and I was alone and I think quite quickly a nurse explained where I was and some of what had happened.
I Started to Cry
They eventually worked out I was narcotic resistant. Something common to those with past or present drug addictions but unusual in those who aren’t addicts.
I’m not an addict, so I’m in the less than 1 per cent who are naturally narcotic resistant.
Eventually they found a combination of anesthetic and narcotics that worked for me, though it was an unusual treatment, hence my stay on ICU.
Later, I’m not sure how much later, I started to cry, uncontrollably sob my heart out. A beautiful nurse (to whom I am forever grateful) sat on my bed and held my hand. She told me to cry it out.
All I remember thinking is “I’ve got to pull myself together and stop crying.”. Yet, I cried and cried and cried, internally berating myself the entire time, and eventually forcing myself to stop.
I’d experienced a near death experience on top of what is already a traumatic process (bowel surgery is NEVER easy), and there I was telling myself off for crying about it!
I bet you’ve done that before. Been through something really horrendous, cried your eyes out and berated yourself for it, haven’t you?
So many of us do.
Almost every person I coach apologizes when they cry. It breaks my heart every time because I now know that it’s OKAY to cry. In fact it’s essential and we ought to do more of it. This applies to both men and women.
When coaching I positively encourage people to let it all out, to cry knowing they’re safe and not judged, that this is part of the human process and it’s a good thing. It’s such an important part of moving forward.
Crying is a Great HUMAN Mechanism
Crying is our natural, human, way of moving energy through our bodies, energy that otherwise sticks and causes us all manner of emotional and physical problems.
I believe that my PTSD would have been greatly reduced, if existing at all, had I cried a lot more after my surgery and in the months of recovery after. Had I also, on those occasions I did actually cry, allowed myself and not spent the entire time telling myself off for it.
For some reason our society has felt it necessary to make crying a bad thing. Parents constantly tell their kids to stop crying. Boys and men are thought weak if they cry and are then tormented for it. Girls are considered “cry babies” with a frown and great disapproval.
The minute someone starts crying we pass a box of tissues as if to say: “Okay, that’s enough, mop it up now.” I make a point of never passing tissues. If you want want you can ask for one, otherwise I’m here to be with you whilst you cry it out.
It’s just not good for the world and we have to stop it. I repeat: crying is a natural HUMAN emotion and it’s a function that is part of humanity for a reason, it helps us.
Our bodies are amazing machines, there is good reason for everything it does and we wouldn’t have the mechanisms for crying if it wasn’t important. So, the next time you cry, praise yourself, tell yourself that this is good, in fact it’s great!
Sit with your tears and let them flood out. Get into a big snotty, red faced, bloaty eyed mess, knowing that mess will soon pass.
If you stuff it down, hold the tears in and try to “just get on”, it will come back to you and your body in ways that won’t be of service to you.
Trust me, crying it out is much quicker and easier than years of therapy and treatments for illness.
I now allow myself to cry often. In fact I’m so glad when tears come as I know they’re doing something important for me. I even ramp it up sometimes and play music that will truly help them flood. I know that whatever is happening internally the tears are there to help it move through, so I embrace them.
Even my kids have commented that they had never seen me cry until recently. Though they also comment that they don’t like to see me cry I know that it’s a gift for them. Seeing me cry and ultimately being okay will teach them that letting emotions move through you is a good thing. Maybe they, particularly as boys, will find it easier to cry in the future, which I know, beyond a shadow of doubt, will support them towards happy and healthy lives.
I love to hear from you, when was the last time you had a cry? What did you tell yourself whilst you were doing it? Are you comfortable crying? Let’s discuss in the comments below.
All of my love,
Photo Credit: Kelly Hsiao