Or is it a Sign of Caring?

caregiver-depressionWhen they were little, most men were told, “Big boys don’t cry.” During the 1960’s and 70’s when women started entering the workforce, we quickly learned that crying on the job could have very harsh consequences. As we take on the responsibility of caring for loved ones who are aging or suffering with the loss of physical and mental abilities, we get angry. We get frustrated, and our hearts break in a thousand different ways.

In his bestselling book, “Homecoming”, John Bradshaw wrote, “All these feelings need to be felt. We need to stomp and storm; to sob and cry; to perspire and tremble.” (I love this quote, in that it gives us permission to express our feelings rather than hold them in and pretend everything is just fine.)

It’s true that crying can be a sign of caregiver depression, but sometimes it’s simply a safe way to release our feelings toward a very difficult circumstance. I believe that holding our tears back and not allowing ourselves to cry can have a devastating impact on our physical and emotional well-being than letting them flow.

Crying is cathartic. Did you know that there are physical benefits to crying? It’s true. Tears lubricate your eyes, remove irritants, and release stress hormones from your body.

In spite of the fact crying is a healthy way to release stress, we have all been taught that when we feel ourselves on the verge of tears that we need to toughen up, push them down and keep on going.

It’s time to shift our thinking and recognize that crying is not a sign of weakness, and it may not be a sign of depression. It’s often a sign of caring. If you need a little help getting started, rent a movie like “My Girl” or “The Color Purple”. Put a box of tissues next to your chair, hit “play”, and then let your tears flow like the water in a river.

Having a good cry may help release enough anxiety, tension and sadness that once your tears dry, you’ll be able to put another smile on your face and once again tap into the positive emotional energy you need to continue caring for someone who needs you so desperately.

If you think you may be suffering with caregiver depression, please click on this link: Caregiver Help – Understanding Depression