Can’t cry?

200239461-001 “I just can’t seem to cry. I often ask why I lack that emotion. I just don’t cry.”

That’s not me, of course. If you’ve read my blog for quite a bit now, you would have realized I’m a fountain, or rather a waterfall, that with just a little painful nudge, tears just flow without end. Perhaps you could say I’m a very emotional person… or a crybaby. Whichever. Fact is I cry… a lot.

Somebody just told me the statement above. Have you ever met a similar person before? You do? You don’t? Tell me about it because to me, that’s just plain illogical. Every normal human being cries. It’s a human emotion in response either to sadness or even happiness. Lack of it? Abnormal. Here’s a pretty good excerpt from a psychologist who wrote on crying:

Crying is not a sign of weakness but rather a feature of the human adaptive process.  In crying we are not losing our grip or going out of control. Actually, we are helping our tensed muscles and stressed emotions to relax. So tears have a very positive function in helping us to cope with the waves of grief which come and go as we gradually adjust to the pain of loss.

When we love someone deeply we become bonded to them in a very special way.  The loss of a loved person causes us to go through the process of “letting go” of these bonds.  This process is known as mourning.  Tears are part of the external expression of the emotional pain and physical tension which we experience as a normal reaction to loss. Our need to cry is evidence that we have loved.

In response to joy or humour, we laugh and this is normal. Why then should we discredit our need to cry in response to sadness or despair, when crying is also a normal human reaction?

Another statement from a scientific site wrote:

Humans, however, can and do dissolve into tears for any number of reasons. Cleansing the eye, relieving stress, conveying pain, communication, and societal assimilation can all lead to an empty tissue box. So weeping after that sappy movie might not mean that you are a total wuss after all. In fact, it may mean that you are behaving like a perfectly normal human being.

Another medical doctor further elaborates it in the context of men who cries in a newspaper article:

Medically speaking, men do cry, when the situation or his emotion demands this natural act, because he is a normal human being. He has feelings, compassion, and tenderness, just like a normal woman does. Yes, men do cry all over the world.

There is one medical condition in which I can think of where the sufferer is unable to produce tears. Sjögren’s syndrome. A condition where the person’s own immune system attacks his/her exocrine glands – pretty much your glands that secrete tears and saliva. That COULD explain the person’s dilemma above…but unless the person is suffering from lack of saliva and extremely dry eyes, then the likelihood of Sjögren’s is highly unlikely.

Other psychological conditions? Perhaps alexithymia – a lack of emotions, limiting a person to react effectively to people, places and things, leaving the individual utterly lacking in the fundamental skill of emotional intelligence. What’s worse of the spectrum would be athymia – complete absence of affect of emotivity. Just plain nothingness. Empty. These sometimes are symptoms of schizophrenia and depression.

So, is it normal to cry? Yes, absolutely. I’ve seen it in every person I know… even if it’s just a little welling up. Can’t cry? Abnormal. Here’s a simple conclusion I can think of. Unless the person is suffering from Sjögren’s, alexithymia or athymia, then the statement above was a lie. No normal human being just can’t cry. Another simple explanation: the situation didn’t affect the person enough to invoke tears, let alone affect the person at all.  True? False? You tell me.

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