My Tears Are Not a Sign of Weakness


I hate crying in front of people. Trust me — as uncomfortable as it probably makes you to see it, it’s a thousand times worse to be the one shedding those tears. I can live with the tears; it’s the assumptions I find you make about me when I cry that I can’t stand. In society, tears are sometimes viewed as a weakness. Being vulnerable and showing your humanity is not something valued in our schools and in our workplaces. Crying is inherently seen as a negative behavior — sometimes even manipulative. I’m here to challenge that.

When I cry, it is not because I’m feeling insecure about myself. It’s also not because I’m “not getting my way.” Most of the time, my tears are from frustration at being misunderstood. They are from the constant microaggressions I experience from our culture that does not understand mental illnesses or view them as actual disorders. My tears come from a history of having my character, abilities and capabilities questioned out of assumptions I am lazy, emotionally unstable or too incompetent to do my job. My tears originate from the disconnect between being proud of myself for coming to work today at all after experiencing a panic attack, and your criticism of me for arriving at 8:02 a.m. instead of 8 a.m. My tears are from knowing, when I call into work because of a migraine, my work ethic will be questioned. My tears come from the realization that performing at 100 percent on 95 percent of the days isn’t good enough when the other 5 percent of the time you assume I am faking being ill.

My tears come from knowing I am doing the best I can at this moment in time with the disabilities I have, and because you don’t take the time to understand or listen, I am disciplined for it. So no, my tears aren’t a sign of fragility. My tears are a sign of perseverance.

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

Thinkstock photo via happyframe


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


Related to Mental Health

Closeup woman's hands typing on a laptop that is on a wooden desk with a mobile smartphone and mouse computer

To My Internet Friend With Depression, From Someone Who Believes in You

To my friend, I don’t know you in real life, and you don’t know me either, but that doesn’t really mean much in the world of the internet. We are friends through a virtual world, one where we post the best parts and sometimes the worst parts of our lives. I know you are a [...]

The Phrase That Keeps Me Going When Depression Gets Rough

When I grow up. The beauty of this phrase is almost unfathomable. When I grow up. There is so much hope in this simple phrase. It speaks of triumph over difficulties, of growth after destruction, of hope after devastation. It holds an aura of peace and happiness. It shows that growing and changing holds the [...]
Female face and plumeria flowers on multicolor splash background. Vector abstract multiple exposure illustration, isolated. Design concept for spa, beauty salon, cosmetics, cosmetology, hairstyle.

The Pressure of Being Perfect as a 'Gifted' Person With Mental Illness

My whole life, I’ve felt different than other people. I have battled mental illness for as long as I can remember. I wasn’t diagnosed until age 20, but I remember having anxiety and depression since I was a young child. My whole life, people have told me how “gifted” I am. I taught myself how to read [...]
computer

What I Learned About Stigma When I Looked Up 'Mental' in the Thesaurus

I have a confession to make. When I hear the phrase “mental illness,” it tends to rub me the wrong way. These words shouldn’t bother me. After all, I write about the topic, sharing my story with the world in an effort to reduce stigma and hopefully help others through their struggles. But to be [...]