Don’t be afraid to cry

Round & About

Columnist Robbie James says: ” I have an inability to cry but that doesn’t stop me from feeling sad”

I cannot cry to save my life. Up until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t cried for a good few years. Then one evening after a couple of wines I heard Sunshine on Leith by The Proclaimers (one of the greatest love songs of all time) and I sobbed for the next 20 minutes. I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t crying for any particular reason, my body just fancied a change, and I’m relieved because I missed the feeling you get after you cry – it’s so cathartic and calming. Almost like it’s a natural thing to do, who knew!?

We love to be sorry for crying don’t we. How often do we hear ‘’I’m so sorry I don’t know why I’m crying at such a silly little thing’’. It actually bothers me that I don’t cry more. Sometimes my family or pals think I don’t care as much as them about things. Of course I do, I absolutely do, I just cannot squeeze tears out of my eyes no matter how many times my beloved Scotland get knocked out of the Rugby World Cup.

I substitute crying for running until I can’t run anymore. If I’m feeling good that day, I’ll listen to music that encourages those feelings. But if I’m feeling a bit sad, I’ll absolutely run to Adele. I go and see a therapist every month regardless of how I’m feeling, but I’m there for the same reason every time I go. To learn about my brain (and by the way, it’s a task we’ll never actually fully complete, that’s important to remember).

It’s great to see so many people advocating looking after our brains on Instagram, and the intention is a good one. But we love to encourage each other to try and feel better instantly. It’s a natural instinct to avoid feeling sad, but to my completely untrained brain it doesn’t feel particularly healthy. 

We see people saying ‘’I haven’t been feeling great recently but I’m through it by doing this and that, and if you do these things you will be too. Come on. Do them. Hurry up. Feel better, do it now. SADNESS IS BAD’’. Surely this invasion tactic ultimately teaches us nothing. There will always be periods of sadness or low mood, and if we don’t bother to try and understand them when it’s happening, we’ll be in no better place to cope with it when it comes back around again. 

At the same time, when things are going well and we’re feeling good – we never really stop and think – ‘’why is it that things are good? What’s making me feel this way about stuff?’’. If we understand and notice the triggers then maybe that might come in handy one day when we’re feeling awful about everything. To use the classic ‘’treat your mental health like your physical health’’ analogy – most of us hygienic lot don’t only go to the dentist when we’ve lost a molar, we go every six months to check all is ok – if it is, great, at least we’ve checked up.

So in short, let’s embrace every feeling, we don’t have to run away from sadness. If you take time to understand rather than fight your brain, you’ll probably be in a better place in the long run. Oh, and if you cry at anything and everything, keep doing it. I’m jealous.