Tuesday, July 30, 2013
More On Tears and a Note on EMDR
What I know now about tears:
- There are as many kinds of crying in grief as there are kinds of snow in the Arctic.
- You can feel that tingling creep up the nose and let it subside.
- You can cry without tears and without sound, just a grimace and internal heaving.
- You can have a little cry and if you wear glasses, it may not be noticeable, even if you think you look stricken.
- You can sound like a moaning cow, a baby, a woman in labor, a cat.
- When you lie on your back, tears leak down your temples and into your ears.
- You can be so overwhelmed with grief and shock that you are only able to cry in short bursts.
- You can be so overwhelmed with grief and shock that you can sob nonstop for an hour and a half and feel purged.* Strangely, this may bring on a purge from your bladder!
- You can get an infection of the eyelids from too much crying, which irritates the ducts and dries the eyes.
- You can move in and out of crying on a regular basis and still (eventually) smile at pets and babies, take an interest in others and the world.
- Best places to cry: In the car (going slow or parked). In bed. In the shower. By moving water. At your place of worship or spiritual practice. In EMDR* sessions, suicide survivor support groups, or wherever you find a safe space.
After a big cry, I go back into the world feeling like the walking wounded for a day or two, on the verge of crying again at any moment. How can I be hurting so much and appear normal? Tears bring me closer to missing N so if I go more than a few days without them, I worry that I am losing my connection to him. But tears are a renewable resource, ever replenished, to be cherished.
* Note on EMDR: If you are experiencing trauma associated with grief, as after a suicide, you might consider EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing). Mental health professionals trained in this technique often use it with people who have PTSD. It involves alternately stimulating both sides of the brain with eye movements, tapping, etc. while visualizing traumatic images, telling your story, and learning to replace disturbing images with healing ones. I don’t understand how it works but I found it incredibly helpful and cathartic during the several sessions I had. Unlike traditional talk therapy, it is grounded in the body and seems to unleash and redirect raw emotion. Of course, other mind-body approaches and behavior therapy may have similar benefits. You can read about EMDR online and check web sites of therapists in your area to see if they offer it along with other types of therapy. Any suicide survivors out there who have found useful therapies want to chime in here?