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Crying Out Bipolar Depression

March 3, 2015 Natasha Tracy

Crying out painful emotions can be helpful but can you really cry out bipolar depression? When I tried to cry out bipolar depression, it ended horribly.

Sometimes “crying out” the pain of an emotional situation works. I just did it with a friend. She, lovingly, sat across from me as I cried about a situation that I find hard. And it worked. I did, actually, feel better after crying out my emotions. But once, a therapist told me to “cry out” my bipolar depression. Instead of fighting the depression and pushing away the feelings, he told me my bipolar depression should be cried out.

Don’t Stop Crying

The therapist’s theory was that I was never feeling any better because I was stuffing down my feelings and not allowing them to run their courses. Sadness and grief after all, does have an end. No one cries forever, no matter how much it feels like you might at the time.

So I, trusting this therapist, started to cry due to the pain of my bipolar depression and I didn’t stop. And I didn’t stop crying and I didn’t stop crying. For, like, ever. In fact, our session came to an end and I still couldn’t stop crying so he put me in a room next door where I wailed away even longer.

Did I Get “Cried Out?”

Crying out painful emotions can be helpful but can you really cry out bipolar depression?The trouble was, I didn’t get “cried out.” My crying really never did stop. My pain really never did lessen. The reasons for my sadness – bipolar depression – never got a whit better. I could cry all day long and there, literally, were no end to the tears.

(In the above case I actually self-harmed to stop the crying. It had taken such hold of me that’s what it took to bring myself back to some semblance of reality.)

I don’t blame my therapist for making this unhelpful suggestion. After all, it’s not like anything else was working so grasping at any old straw sometimes has to do.

Crying Out Bipolar Depression

So my theory is, you can’t “cry out” bipolar depression. This is because there is no natural conclusion or end to depression as there is no natural beginning to it either. Bipolar depression is happening in your brain – not in your life – so crying about it doesn’t feel cathartic it just ends up in a downward spiral and makes you feel worse.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should never crying when you’re suffering from bipolar depression – sometimes it happens and sometimes it’s necessary – all I’m saying is that you can’t expect to actually “cry out” your bipolar depression and feel better. Crying hurts. Continuing to cry hurts for longer. There just is no good there.

I think the suggestion to cry out your pain is just something that comes up because people still aren’t clear about the difference between mental illness and regular emotions because if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that my emotions are anything but regular. So regular coping techniques – crying on a friend’s shoulder – just aren’t helpful. And what we, as people with bipolar need to remember, is that it’s not our fault that bipolar depression won’t be cried out. It’s just our brains. And we just have to do the best we can with that.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or Google+ or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter or at Bipolar Burble, her blog.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2015, March 3). Crying Out Bipolar Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, August 8 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2015/03/crying-out-bipolar-depression



Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar.

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

Kathy
January, 21 2018 at 11:15 am

Yes. I'm crying today. Feeling like I "lost my life, "I lost myself" & im so sad I'll never have it back, me back. I'm so sad, crying, so very sad. I can't imagine this is going to be on my horizon permanently. Oh my God, just to feel joy. I lay here & cry my bipolar tears. I'm supposed to remind myself it's the bipolar. And so I cry. I look for strength & there you are Natasha.

Kia wheeler
November, 23 2017 at 6:43 am

Plzzz help me ,I feel overwhelmed, lost embarrassed, angry..my mind won't stop.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Natasha Tracy
November, 24 2017 at 4:27 am

Hi Kia,
I'm sorry you're feeling such strong emotions relentlessly. I can't tell from your comment what is going on for you but I can tell you that you need to reach out for help. See our resources page for people you can contact: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-refer…
Keep in mind, you don't need to be suicidal to call the National Lifeline and they may be able to point you towards the best local resources for you.
I hope that helps.
- Natasha Tracy

Kashif Ansari
August, 2 2016 at 7:05 am

bipolar or schizophrenia or depression or limerence...it makes no difference. you can carry out one hour long sessions every day for months on end and believe me...within six months to a year, your problem will have leveled out. i am a witness to such a miracle cure. remember that the knowledge of the universe cannot equal a single child's tears. so when you allow your inner child to cry out its pain and frustration, you are allowing space for stress relief and literally empowering your self to break free from the chains of a feedback loop in the mind. the mind loves woolgathering. it is the monkey mind. and as the garbage collects from the ages you pass through sometimes you feel the world is too much with you. so the best solution is to give crying therapy a chance. besides this prayer and meditation also helped me a lot in recovering from a painful and obstinate illness of womb, doom and gloom that just would not go away any other way. finally you have to keep in mind that you will emerge stronger in the broken areas. it is out of your weaknesses that your strengths will emerge. you cannot fool your body far less your mind. the body requires movement and free expression via vigorous exercise. as for the mind, it needs stimulation and rest via a social life and lots of rest and relaxation. sometimes it is the extreme solution that is the only thing that can solve an extreme problem.

Holly
September, 22 2015 at 4:26 pm

This was a very well-written article. I especially liked the part about the sadness of depression not being the same as other everyday sadness. I only take issue with the brief mention of the need to self-harm to stop crying. I would hate for someone who has never thought of self-harm as a way to stop crying until reading this article and trying it themselves.

Alexnader
May, 9 2015 at 3:29 am

For me, crying can help at times. Only it's not usually about sadness at all. There are times when my depression is about sadness, but more often it is far more multifaceted. It's about frustration, self-hatred, and hopelessness. I push it down and as I'm surrounded by my fiance or co-workers or friends most of the time, I hide it. When I am alone, if the tears come, they come and I let them. I absolutely agree you can not cry out depression, but regardless, for me, crying does not hurt. The feeling behind the crying, the reason I am crying; the feelings of inadequacy, of catastrophe, of disappointment in myself, and the feeling that it will always come back to exactly where I am in that moment (the hopelessness), THAT is what hurts. Crying at that time, while it doesn't make the situation worse, it also does not help. However, when I have exhausted myself in hiding the tight rope walk I am on, in trying to work or live in the presence of others or worse carry on a normal conversation, while attempting to talk myself out of doing any number of bad decisions or actually harmful things and I go home, gather it all in and finally really, truly cry; that is when it helps. The following is the best description of it I've ever found: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHx6nRtWIa4

stephanie
March, 12 2015 at 3:24 pm

Has anyone tried mindfulness? 18 years ago I committed myself to a mental health facility cause I couldn't stop crying. I was just sad all the time! Lotsa childhood stuff I never dealt with, my brother had just committed suicide and self medication was just not working anymore! I learned a lot in the facility. Especially about myself. I eventually stopped self medicating, started taking prescribed medication. I go to therapy, stay away from negative influences(including negative people, some being family members.)My relationship with God has improved tremendously! I learned about mindfulness from Ruby Waxx. Google her. Getting adequate sleep is a must! Excercise, enjoy the outdoors even if it's just taking walks by yourself! Find joy in the little things! I surround myself with 6 of my 7 grandkids almost daily! (The 7th has a difficult mother.) The joy I look forward to is the 8th one is due in October! Children are amazing, wonderous little people; I learn something from them everyday! Yes it is very challenging but the great relationships outweigh all the pain and anxiety! I forgot to mention I also have degenerative disc disease, carpel tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis and mitral valve prolapse. I have to admit after being diagnosed with these new illnesses it took me a few years to learn how to accept and deal with it. There are good people that are willing to help you. Some weekends I spend in my bed to recuperate from the busy week. I was feeling guilty for it. Now I realize it's what my body needs. And that's ok. Take care of you! Mentally, physically and emotionally! If you feel that you need to cry, do it. If you need to eat a gallon of chocolate frozen yogurt every 3 or 4 days; as I sometimes do, eat it! Check out Project Semicolon on the internet also. Good life!

Robin
March, 6 2015 at 7:57 am

I avoid crying because I'm not sure if I can stop. If I cry in front of other people, it horrifies me but having them there makes it possible to stop. Have had several very stressful (to me, anyway) things happen this week and cried in front of people. Hate it but it ensures that I'll be able to stop. So I would never, ever try to cry my depression out!

Chuck Mistretta
March, 6 2015 at 5:55 am

Crying on the inside, laughing on the outside. Be happy and worry if you must, don't have a choice, or just stopped caring. With every breath there is meaning to life even if its a mean life.

Aeva Willow
March, 6 2015 at 4:28 am

So absolutely true! I have just realized this lately. When I started getting depressed last year, I noticed I didn't want to cry.... at anything. It all hurt too badly. (even a touching TV show or movie)
I also think that a big reason why we quell our emotions is because Bipolar emotions are so much stronger than the average person's. Sometimes, it's just too much and thinking about crying or even talking about it, makes me want to dig a hole and crawl inside.
I believe it is important that we listen to our bodies.

Janet Cucharo
March, 4 2015 at 12:12 pm

I think this is me. I am such a mess. I currently own an independent bookstore, almost for 2 years now. But I am an emotional wreck. The past ten years of grief - from losing relationships, leaving homes I loved, my gardens, the loss of my parents, the moving away from my sister and on and on and on. I do have good things in my life! I love my books and my store. But I now also have financial hardship that no one can help. I am worried ALL THE TIME. I have NO health insurance. I hated all the anti-depressants I was on because I have terrible Restless Leg Syndrome and the medications exacerbated that so I couldn't sleep all night. I have severe anxiety. I want to just leave this body and let my spirit be free so WHY do I keep hanging on to this physical life? I am a good person, I feel I help others, I am kind, etc., etc. Really smart. Can do just about ANYTHING. But I am at such a loss. All I did today was cry. I work my bookstore Fri- Sun at the flea market. It is a wonderful store. But I am an emotional wreck. I don't know what to do anymore. I just don't. No one who loves me knows what to do either. I need help. But NOT ANTIDEPRESSANTS. Then I can NEVER SLEEP!

bipolarfred
March, 3 2015 at 5:48 pm

I'm currently experiencing bipolar depression after several weeks of severe work stress and hypomanic efficiency. I worked too hard I believe, probably clocked up a good 180+ hours in 3 weeks of work and this is where I am now. I have no idea what to do about it now, i have no energy, concentration or motivation, I can just sleep 12 hours a day when i'm not working and nothing I do seems to cause any positive feelings. It has been a small while since i last experienced this, so i am poorly prepared and I currently don't have a psychologist to talk to. Thanks for providing this blog as it feels like i'm not alone.

Johannes
March, 3 2015 at 3:45 pm

I agree with the blog post but with some reservations - since "ordinary" painful occurrences in life can contribute to the symptoms by being a stressor/trigger I think sometimes there is grief and pain that needs to be treated like it occurred in any person. Personally I have the sometimes annoying trait of not being able to cry in most situations - I might automatically "shut of", I can get hypomanic (thus denying/fleeing from my pain) or just VERY tired or low. Or angry. The few rare moments when I actually cry occur when I watch some emotional movie scene or listen to music that by some reason speaks to me. But in those cases my tears are often tears of joy. Only very rarely do I get tears in my eyes even when I see peoply experiencing tragedy, and rarely do I then cry for more than a few minutes. In general I think inhibited grief contributes to depression for many so carefully exploring that possibility in therapy could possibly be of use I would guess (I never had any real talk therapy). But of course that won't resolve or take away the bipolar disorder. But maybe it can losen the pressure inside and reduce unhelpful stress that always is something you want to avoid when you're bipolar.
That's just my thoughts though.

D.D
March, 3 2015 at 12:38 pm

I hate crying especially in front of someone else. It never feels therapeutic, only exhausting. Thanks for sharing your observations about crying. I have to agree with your final thoughts.

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