How Lea Michele Taught Me It Is OK to Cry

I’m not going to pretend I didn’t cry before this pivotal moment in my life, but for some reason I always felt guilty about doing so. I feel like there are people out there who have it so much much worse than I do. Why do I get to cry and they have to keep fighting?

Basically for the first 14 years of my life I would cry, feel guilty about it, and then cry some more. It was a miserable cycle.

When I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder I sobbed until my eyes went red. Nothing could comfort me, and I didn’t want anyone to try to.

Soon after, I started watching a new TV show called “Glee”, the main character played by Lea Michele. Since I had never heard about the show before, I was oblivious to the fact the other main character (played by Cory Monteith) had passed away.

After I found out, I started looking to Lea Michele for guidance. Cory was her fiancee, he had just died and she was out in the public eye looking beautiful as ever. For some reason this only re-enforced the idea I didn’t deserve to cry. If she could go through losing the love of her life, I thought, I can get through my problems.

It wasn’t until the night of the Teen Choice Awards where she addressed Cory’s death in a way that really touched me.

Seeing my idol break down and cry somehow made it OK for me to do the same. She showed me even “strong” people cry too. It doesn’t make you less of a person. It doesn’t mean you are weak; it just means you are human.

Every now and then I slip back into the “I don’t deserve to cry” mindset, but going back to Lea’s speech always reminds me it’s OK. You don’t have to earn your emotions. You are free to feel the way you feel.

I will be forever thankful to Lea Michele, who taught me there is no shame in pain, and nothing selfish about expressing it.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Major Depressive Disorder


Changing Medication as an Act of Self-Love

Editor’s note: Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication. I have to get two things straight before I can tell this story in peace. First, I’m a supporter of taking psychiatric medication when your doctor tells you to, when you have a significant psychiatric and psychological condition and only if it is [...]
A beautiful young woman in black and white. grain added.

My Recovery Is Anything but Black and White

I live with major depressive disorder and a panic disorder, I am on medication and I continue to seek treatment regularly in order to take care of myself. I guess that means I’m in recovery. Sometimes I feel hypocritical because I work as a speaker and share my story with others and give them hope [...]
digital painting of love couple hugging, watercolor on paper texture

6 Ways You Can Support Me When I'm Depressed

Dear friends and family, I know it’s not easy to see someone you love go through major depression and anxiety. I know you are always asking yourself how can you help. Sometimes you may feel helpless, but I promise you aren’t. Here is a list of things you can do to help: 1. Ask how I am [...]
image of a woman

These 3 Daily Rituals Are Helping Me Overcome My Depression

I tell people all the time, “Don’t let anybody define your unique experience and struggle with mental illness. Don’t let anybody prescribe some generic emotion you’re supposed to feel.” And I mean every single word; do not allow anybody, family, friend or professional, to tell you how life should make you feel. But I, myself, [...]