Depression Symptoms – Easy to Tear

May 18, 2012 Natasha Tracy

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.

But everyone cries, so how bad could that possibly be?

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

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.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or GooglePlus or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2012, May 18). Depression Symptoms – Easy to Tear, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 30 from

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Natasha is also unveiling a new book, Bipolar Rules! Hacks to Live Successfully with Bipolar Disorder, mid-2024.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleX, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

March, 31 2019 at 5:31 am

So glad I found this. I’ve been so frustrated. I don’t feel depressed. I was diagnosed with Bipolar at 32 and have been on meds since and in therapy. Spring is my danger zone for mania but I cry all the time. Even during conversations with people!! I don’t break down of course but I get emotional about everything! I feel everything very deeply, good and bad. And I cry when I feel. It’s very irritating! And I feel embarrassed by it as I cannot control it. People definitely notice it. No one has ever said anything to me about it and my true friends love me for who I am, thank the Lord! But I wish I could control this a little better.

September, 15 2017 at 4:15 am

I recently googled it, being easily moved to tears, and your article came up describing this as underlying pain. I do understand my sadness, it's origin, and the times that I go through which involve my tearfulness. Thank you for your remarks

Eia joy
June, 11 2016 at 3:01 am

Hi. I just want to share this and i need your help. Im so sensitive, im feeling of lonely, im nobody, i just wanna die. Sometimes i cry for just small things. Wishing that i wont wake up. I feel helpless, hopeless, like nobody cares for me. Or nobody cares what i feel everytime they tell me something. Like for example. Someone told me i should drink atleast 2liters of water a day. Im doing it. But he doesnt believe me so i told him that should i tell him everytime i dtink water to prove it. Im so irritated in small things. Im easily to be angry in small things
. Its not the old me anymore
I dont know what to do. I want to end my life asap. ,:((

Erica Engman
March, 13 2016 at 7:52 am

Most doctors don't say, one beer is too many. If you're an alcoholic and that's a part of your depression then it is.otherwise one beer shouldn't n won't trigger depression. My uncle n cousin are both doctors n my cousin also loves trying microbrews, not to get drunk, just to enjoy a beer. I'm an addict, one anything is too much for me however.

March, 3 2016 at 6:03 am

I am with Kristina on tears at the wrong times, even nervous laughter - but tears mostly. Still searching. I enjoy looking for truths - never ends. Truths I have finally figured out in my 50's is I was raised in a very very loving environment, but at this age and many years of therapy and introspection I find I was living a codependent life feeling unloved - WHY? I say this is due to never knowing I was dyslexic and struggling until I self diagnosed myself two years ago, and professional diagnosed last year (great time in history that we can do this!!). I think this article adds to the truth (thank you), this underlying pain all my life and search for what really feels like love causes me to be an addict for romance movies and music and enjoy the tears/emotions that come (knowing emotions are not permanent is another truth I learned late - better late than never). It seems I know the source of my pain, I think that is a first step - finding truth. Knowing this truth helps me feel good about who I am, being ok to cry trying to breath and other things to manage the best I can, but not beat myself up! Keep searching for truth <3 and any ideas on how to learn more and better manage these tears would be nice.

Kristina casy
November, 1 2014 at 6:31 am

I work in a nursing home and at least once a month it is someones birthday. A cake is brought out and as carers we are asked to sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY, I cant do that, I cannot sing happy birthday without tearing up. I tear up at the most inappropriate times and places. Sometimes I am an emotional mess, especially at funerals.If there was a natural remedy I could take I would. if anyone knows of something to make me happy and less emotional, please let me know.

June, 19 2013 at 4:33 am

Today I broke down I don't even know what triggered it couldnt
Stop crying.. Had to call my brother to just sit there with me.
I a on Prozac am ability.. I always relapse

Natasha Tracy
May, 20 2012 at 8:21 am

Hi Sarah,
Viewing crying as a neutral trait is a great idea. You're right, it's not really "good" or "bad" but just a way that you react to a situation which may be different from how others react.
Thanks for your perspective and coping techniques.
- Natasha Tracy

May, 20 2012 at 2:38 am

"easy to tear" - Yes, I've struggled with this one all my life, well before the onset of bipolar. My advice now is - always carry a bag with tissues, or hanky, a bottle of water, a small snack, dark sunglasses, and a mobile phone. If you are dealing with a real crisis, like a death in the family, do not go out at all. You may think you are okay, but the slightest things is going to set you off.
I used to be deeply ashamed about my teariness, but I have come to understand it as a neutral trait. Others however, do not always have this understanding and become uncomfortable, embarassed and even judgemental. Well, that is their experience. Others are extremely kind - but it is the kindness I find most overwhelming - I will burst further into tears. So either way I tend to avoid people if I am out in public and feel the tears coming on. I put on the sunglasses and try to find a quiet place where I will not be disturbed. The library is not a good choice at first because people will be disturbed by your sniffling. The cubicle of a public toilet is often the unfortunate necessity. I try to relax and breathe for about five minutes and use CBT techniques. I have learned not to try and go back to work if possible because something else will trigger me again. I try not to bring the original problem to mind for a while, just focus on getting home safe, having a shower, reading a favourite book. i set aside half an hour to deal with the problem or write solutions. Then it is time to stop thinking about it and get ready for bed. Soothe the inner child by putting on your favourite pajamas, or whatever comforts you.

Natasha Tracy
May, 19 2012 at 8:54 am

Hi Ashley,
"A little worse than a head cold," I like that. I can picture the medical ranking system now. They _are_ doing a new DSM, maybe someone should talk to them about that ;)
- Natasha

Natasha Tracy
May, 19 2012 at 8:52 am

Hi Lisa,
Yup, that one beer could have done it. Many doctors would say that even one drink is too many.
- Natasha

May, 19 2012 at 1:26 am

So true. The list of symptoms make it sound like it is just a little worse than a head cold, and that is how many doctors see it. It doesn't convey how horrific, debilitating and soul-destroying the experience can be.

May, 18 2012 at 12:55 pm

Thank you. This was a much needed article, for me to read. It's sunny & beautiful out, I wish I wasn't depressed. I understand now, why I feel so run down. Perhaps that stupid 1 Holland beer threw me off. Who knows, thanks....

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