Does Crying Make You More Depressed?

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crying“Live to the point of tears,” said Camus.

That’s not so hard if you have treatment-resistant depression or any kind of chronic mood disorder. You learn to take Kleenex with you wherever you go. In the middle of a depressive episode, especially, it happens as naturally as sneezing or blowing your nose.

Two or three days of every month are tearful ones for me. Sometimes the crying is triggered by hormonal changes. Sometimes it is a release of stress. And sometimes I don’t really know why I’m crying. I just do.

Tears are healing in many ways.

They remove toxins from our body that build up from stress, like the endorphin leucine-enkaphalin and prolactin, the hormone that causes aggression. And what’s really fascinating is that emotional tears—those formed in distress or grief—contain more toxic byproducts than tears of irritation (like onion peeling). Crying also lowers manganese levels, which triggers anxiety, nervousness, and aggression. In that way, tears elevate mood. In his article, “The Miracle of Tears,” author Jerry Bergman writes, “Suppressing tears increases stress levels, and contributes to diseases aggravated by stress, such as high blood pressure, heart problems, and peptic ulcers.”

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Therese Borchard
I am a writer and chaplain trying to live a simple life in Annapolis, Maryland.

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