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I Cried Because Mental Illness Simply Made Me Feel Too Much

The other day I cried. People tell you that crying is a normal human behavior; everybody cries and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. This is absolutely true, although I haven’t always been open to crying. I used to see it as a weakness and I still struggle to not view it that way when it comes to myself. I always identified with the Distillers lyrics, “I take a scar every time I cry, cause it ain’t my style.” I want you to know right now that I didn’t cry because I was sad, I didn’t cry because I was depressed or because anything was terrible in my life. There was no tragedy, no drama, no instance of trauma. The other day I cried simply because I couldn’t contain it any longer.

I’ve always prided myself on my stoic persona in public; nobody has ever known I have any form of mental health issue unless I tell them. My little melt downs, like the other day, have always been completely private — until now. Very few people have ever really seen it — only the very few who are closest to me and even then, I seem to be able to control it until I am alone and I know nobody is watching. The other day I was making a cup of green tea, I’d had a stressful week where there had been three incidents that had particularly affected me, even though I am a very peaceful person and I try not to hold on to any negative thoughts or energy. I don’t really know how it happened. I remember walking into the kitchen; I remember flicking the switch on the kettle and as I heard that click, I couldn’t hold it back any longer. The tears came and they didn’t want to stop.

I cried because I was so overwhelmed by the emotions that suddenly came over me in violent waves, and all I could do was sit down on my kitchen floor and let the tears come out. It hurt, I don’t know why it hurt, I’m not even sure what hurt — it was my head but then it was also my entire body. I prayed for the strength to get up off that cold, tiled floor, but it took me almost 20 minutes.

Nobody will really understand what happened, not even me. They don’t see the way I tilt my head as the thoughts weigh down my mind, the way this dull pain always ebbs and pulses in my core and all I can do is hold on and just hope. I cry because it aches inside me so hard that I can’t breathe; I cry because this perpetual state of confusion hurts my head; I cry because even though I tell you I feel nothing, when I’m not feeling nothing, I feel everything, magnified by 1000 times and my body and brain can’t handle that much emotion and information all in concentrated bursts.

Everything that I should have felt in the last few weeks, I feel all at once, right now in this moment. I cry because I love, because some things bring me so much happiness I don’t know how to deal with it. I cry because I care. I cry because I feel criticized by people who don’t mean anything to me. I cry because I hurt and ultimately this makes me feel vulnerable. I cry because I don’t know what else to do, because all I have is me when it comes to this and I can’t even trust myself; I can’t trust my own mind not to betray me. I cry because there is so much happening inside me that I feel like I’m going to explode into a multi-colored emotional splurge, and I’ve spent my entire day concentrating so hard to keep these feelings at bay while I’m around people. But please know, I don’t cry because I’m sad; I cry because I’m overwhelmed, because words flash through my mind so fast, second guessing every decision I have made, trying to trick me into believing falsehoods. I cry because it takes every little bit of energy that I have to keep the flood back and after a while, the water pressure is just too much for the dam.

The other day I cried. I sat on my kitchen floor and a million tears hit those tiles, but you know what: I’m OK. I had my moment, I had my little meltdown and now I have my clarity and my energy back and I will get myself up. I will pick up my sword and I will get back into the fight. The other day I cried, but today I went to work and got on with my life. That’s just who I am.

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Getty image via sansara