I just feel like sharing some thoughts on crying, sadness, and depression.
I was entertained by Louis CK’s take on cell phones, but I’m suggesting you take three or four minutes to watch this video for a different reason. Beside the laughs, Louis CK captures what it can feel like to really cry.
There are many kinds of sadness. Sometimes sadness comes just for a time and then goes away. Sometimes it stays for days, weeks, months, or even years. Sometimes the sadness is deep, sometimes it is more moderate. It is interesting to see the effect different emotions have on our energy level in different parts of our bodies. Take a look at this article on Bodily Maps of Emotions from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the top scientific journals in the world. I’ve included a really fun figure, here.
Notice that both sadness and depression result in less energy to the limbs. It really is harder to move when you are sad, and when you are depressed, you simply have less energy to do anything.
On a final, personal note, here’s a little, autobiographical poem I wrote two years ago. I’m back in therapy and trying a different drug that may be having a better effect, but there is enough distance now between me and this poem that I can share it without feeling too vulnerable. I’m sure some of you can relate. I wish everyone happiness, but know that sometimes it just doesn’t like to come around.
Crying’s a Painful High
Teachers praise and hug a sensitive child.
Kids tease a cry baby just learning boys don’t cry.
The red fern grows on fought-back tears.
No way will a ten year old cry in class,
whatever some song says about its being all right.
Only religion allows for teenage tears–
Spiritual shame or spiritual high the only justifications.
A silent sadness is OK at college
when friends’ parents die.
And probably tears
at a tiny nephew’s hour of failing breaths.
Some numbness settles for a while.
Near failure leads to change—and Prozac.
Tears are still religious,
and partly forced.
Feelings are a happier average
if mostly that—average.
Two years off the drug and feelings are back
with childhood ferocity.
Maybe the three little boys explain it.
Dad cries most days now.
Every week or two it’s wracking sobs
in a quiet office
or a parked car.