Monday, September 12, 2011

On crying as a practice

By now, I know more about the process of bipolar disorder than any psychiatrist.  That's 35 years of studying and experiencing, not counting the outbreak when I was 16, that got shoved back down until I was 32.  Then I had three years incorrectly diagnosed - and there was no excuse for missing it -and twenty more on lots of drugs, then twelve on few or no drugs, years given to working with the progressive kidney disease lithium caused.

One thing I learned: if you feel like you want to cry but can't, you're in big trouble.  Mental health screening tests see that as a sign of major depression.

In 1999, when a new shrink yanked me off lithium and three other psychotropics (yes, that was very stupid), I began crying again, a lot. I remember crying six times during one church service.   I know now that suppressing tears is a big mistake.  Womens' tears release certain chemicals, and that changes the chemical balance in your brain. 

Why I cried just now? so damn much pain I could neither sit or walk kinhin in the zendo. The SI joint is inflamed again, the torn rotator cuff hurt no matter how I positioned my arm.  I  had to leave, come to my room and meditate lying on my big heating pad, and think hard about taking a Vicodin, and then do crying practice, out of both frustration and pain.  This is at least the tenth time I've cried since we got here four days ago. And the depression I came here with it much better.  (Though it is not so easy to change the body.)

Our practice here is being, on the cushion and off.  Acknowlede everything, let it float on. Be brave, but don't be stupid - take your pain pills. 


  1. My heart goes out to you, sweet one. Sending love and peace x P

  2. I'm glad to hear you're crying, i.e. letting it all out. It may not relieve the body, but it does relieve the spirit. When I went through a major trauma in my younger years I must have cried for five years after it happened (it took me another ten to get to a place of peace). Concerned people tried to shush me, but I cried anyway because otherwise I would have had a heart attack or worse.

    I wish you physical peace.