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Re: Emotional, weepy? (long) -- for ayuda

Posted by bozeman on January 13, 2003, at 0:52:15

In reply to Re: life's little victories-Bozeman, posted by EGR on January 12, 2003, at 13:05:42


First let me say that you positively wigged me out with the similarities in our backgrounds. (That's not a bad thing, it just took me a while to get over the speechless part.) It's like we've been living the same life.

That's probably why I can totally relate to the weepy thing. I don't know that the reasons are the same, but I've definitely been through it. My first sign of it coming on, after a triggering stressor, has been uncontrollable hand shaking. Otherwise I seem like any other day. But over time I learned that as soon as my hands start shaking like that to get the heck home as soon as possible because the last thing I need to do is lose it at work, or in rush hour traffic! Then after I got home, the ensuing "breakdown" would go one of two ways -- the "low" version, where I just wanted to crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head, incapable of making even minor decisions like how many scoops to put in the coffee maker or what socks to put on, and calling in sick until it passed (if that doesn't qualify as sick, then I don't know what the heck does) -- or the somewhat "higher" version, where I can still function "mostly" normally, but the slightest emotional thing (good or bad) triggers a flood of hormones, neurotransmitters, and chemicals in my body and I am an emotional basket case, never knowing (and powerless to prevent) if I'm going to scream/slap someone for interrupting me, or cry because they opened a door for me when I was carring a 50 lb piece of equipment.

I have developed a working theory on why it happens -- don't know if it's the same for you, though. In my case, I was so monotone for so long (read: stubbornly denying clinical depression, it seems) couldn't feel much of anything except, blah, with occasional bouts of pure panic or absolute doom. I read a LOT, psychology, biochemistry, religion, and the meaning I have finally pieced together is a little complicated, but it put my mind at rest. Here goes:

Our "natural" state is an ever-changing continuum of stimulus, emotion, reaction, and response. In those of us with neurochemical imbalances (whether triggered by hereditary tendency, stress, injury, or whatever) this cycle is interrupted and goes haywire somewhere along the way. I posit that as the "normal" interchange between stimulus and emotion/reaction gets clouded, sometimes we "experience" emotions physically that we don't "feel" emotionally, and vice versa. With this cycle disrupted, the ultimate response is unpredictable at best, sometimes inadequate for the importance of the situation, and sometimes way out of proportion to the stimulus. This, I feel, is what causes maddening stuff like "I need to leave for work RIGHT NOW and I'm not even dressed yet," or "You brought me coffee, how sweet, please leave now so I can break down and cry." In the first situation, response is inappropriately low and you don't "feel" an emotion (fear or concern or caution or urgency, which would typically be felt, because you gotta get to work on time so you don't get fired, gotta make sure no obstacles prevent that) seemingly because the stimulus/emotion/response/reaction mechanism is disrupted. In the second instance your response is exaggerated for the same reason (an overwhelming rush of gratitude or heartstring-tugging, becaue they brought you coffee, that's kind and convenient, thanks, but it's not that big of a deal, so why am I having such an extreme reaction?)

I think our bodies and our brains expect a certain amount of stimulus/response/emotion and if they don't get it, they will (for lack of a better term) manufacture or overexaggerate it, and if exposed to too much of it, they just shut that system down (hence adrenal exhaustion, etc, which I firmly believe most depressed people have some level of adrenal problem or thyroid problem or both, that's part of my theory of the entire system interactions, but I'll digress if I get into that right now. Back to your weepiness.)

So, in that long-winded sense (got more than you bargained for, eh? :-) I would agree with EGR that your weepiness is probably a good thing if it's not too much for you to handle. What I mean is, you've probably been deprived of normal emotions for so long, that you've got a flood of them built up, and your responses to "normal" events may be exaggerated for a while (depending on how long you've been deprived, a "while" is variable. It's all relative.) If that is indeed why it's happening, then it should improve over time. If it gets worse over time, or if it's interfering with your ability to function (i.e. you can't go to work or do normal activity because you cry all day long, every time someone looks at or speaks to you) then, definitely, you should consult your doctor to explore why and to find relief.

Another possibility . . . . I see in you a thoughtful, sensitive soul, trying hard to do the right thing, worried about affecting other people, trying to do good. Something I think is often overlooked in conventional medicine and by "normal" people, is the fact that those of us who are susceptible to depression and the associated cluster of other related disturbances -- we are constitutionally different than much of the rest of the world. (In fact this could be the source of the imbalance that allows the illness to develop. Wonder if anyone's researched that?) We take responsibility seriously, take ourselves too seriously, have trouble forgiving ourselves for mistakes because we should have known better (so we think and judge ourselves), etc. I believe that this internal constitution predisposes us to over-stress and "wear down" parts of us, parts of those hopelessly interrelated systems (endocrine, neurological, chemical, electrical, etc.) so that how we experience stimulus and response, creating the resultant emotion, is affected. What this could mean (though I know it doesn't feel like it) is that experiencing emotions, even hard-to-control ones like weeping at a beautiful sunrise or at a kind word someone says to you, is first, a sign that you are indeed getting better because you were able to respond to a stimulus instead of being so "worn out" neurologically that stimulus is lost on you; and second, that you are one of those "special" people who does *feel* every kindness as a gift from God, and every thoughtless act as a loss of an opportunity to touch God.

I hope that makes sense, because I believe it, and have struggled with how to resolve it in my own life. Sometimes I envy the people who don't experience their world in this way, because it seems like their version would be so much simpler. But that's from the outside looking in, and who knows what private hells they go through that we don't know about? Neither is better than the other, the two are simply different, and there's nothing to be gained by dwelling on the difference, so I don't allow myself the luxury of the envy for more than a little while. :-)

It's an entirely different matter to *know* somebody didn't mean something they said personally, and to not *take* it personally. Knowing (mentally) and feeling (emotionally) are miles apart on this subject, but I think learning how to accept the two is the key to learning to live in this world without giving up that sensitivity that makes us so special. Thank God for the Lexapro because since I've been taking it, I no longer react to stressors in such a radical and unpredictable fashion as I did before, and can (for the most part) choose my response and how to integrate the conflicting emotions/urges that result from everyday interactions and situations that most people would find unremarkable.

Again, if you don't feel any resonance with of this, and feel that your weepiness is from another source and is too much to allow you to function "normally" (for you), please, please don't suffer with it, see your doctor and find out if there's another solution available to you.

Be well, feel well, hang in there and ride it out if you're at all able to. I believe that feeling (even pain sometimes) is better than the lonely numbness that depression drives us to sometimes. Best of luck to you, Beautiful Soul --


> > Question, though: things like this are still making me weepy. Is that a med problem, or am I okay to be weepy when faced with these "inspirational" things? (I was going to say sappy, but that would be hypocritical!!) It's so hard to tell when you are used to weepiness being a bad sign.




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