Mental illness symptoms are as cold and generic as inhumanly possible. “Depressed mood.” “Loss of energy or fatigue.” “Psychomotor retardation or agitation.”
Ah, yes, those things. They sound like a bummer.
Although, actually, they don’t. They sound like characteristics of a lab animal.
And one of the pesky symptoms of depression is “easy to tear.” You know, you cry a lot.
Long Distance Phone Plan Commercials
Have you ever seen one of those commercials where the son and father are separated by a long distance? Maybe there’s been a divorce. The father is sad and the son is despondent. And then voila! A long distance plan saves everyone. Add some sappy music and you’ve got a primetime spot.
Then of course there is that commercial with the sad, hopping circle. He’s depressed, you see. He just can’t hop like he used to. But add an antidepressant and voila! The circular life is worth living again.
And so on, and so forth. Commercials love playing on our emotions and sympathies to sell a product. That, certainly, doesn’t matter.
Except that if you’re easy to tear, it really will matter. Because every time you see on of those horrible, little emotion-jerking, 30-second spots, you actually will feel emotional. Those sappy father and son reunions will actually jog the tears from your eyes. It will be sad and unpleasant and painful just to turn on the TV.
Easy to tear simply means that you cry a lot more than the average person, which honestly, doesn’t sound that devastating. But the emotions that come up that force you to cry twice a day, five times a day, ten times a day, truly will devastate you. They will exhaust you. They will make you hide from the TV, the radio, movies and anything else that might make you cry – which is pretty much everything.
So the part that’s missing in “easy to tear” is that that one symptom can ruin your whole day, your whole week, your whole month. That one symptom summed up in three little words is enough to make you want to go to sleep and never wake up again – just so you don’t have to cry any more.
So yes, while “easy to tear” is a symptom of depression, those three words aren’t the important part. The important part is the effect all that tearing has on your life, has on your psyche, has on your soul. And that just never seems to be captured in the words that doctors insist on using.
Because we are not lab rats suffering from a condition. We are people with lives and this stuff matters. It’s not the tears that matter, it’s the underlying pain.