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Inability to cry

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Inability to cry

Postby sal » Sat Jan 31, 2009 1:46 am

I seem to be unable to cry, I haven't cried for years, in most contexts this would seem to be a good thing, but as I have not been particularly happy, this is starting to get quite unsettling. In all this time I have not gone beyond having a lump in my throat or perhaps even slightly watery eyed, but this has never happened when I am alone - where I feel comfortable processing everything in my head - and it only happens immediately after I get dumped or someone dies.

I used to be able to have a good cry and resolve some emotions. Now all I seem to be able to do is alternate between breaking stuff in frustration and moping, perhaps feeling guilty about whatever is broken or going back to what was initially bothering me. When I read about people crying constantly, I feel a sense of longing, have I completely forgotten what it is like to cry?

I feel like talking to people I know about it would cause them to treat me differently. Perhaps they would constantly ask how I am, making it impossible to just hang out or talk about unimportant things. My friends often describe me as stable, mature, and funny, I feel like this is a complete act, as if the strong entertaining character goes home, takes off a mask and becomes a mopey little $#%^.

I lack the inclination to start friendships with people I come across and trust them. I feel like I have a small collection of friends who had got to know this side of me who now feels like a stranger, and if I let out this other side of me, it would put strain on the friendship as they had never come across this side of me when they decided to be friends with me.

I mentioned earlier that the loss of a valued relationship or a close friend's parent dying have not quite managed to break what must be a defense mechanism against crying. A few years ago suicide ideation was accompanied by a few tears, now I seem completely numb, the only reason I have been keeping myself alive is for my friends. I wish I had never been born, I don't want to be alive but suicide is such a cruel act.
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Postby aribabybug » Sat Jan 31, 2009 2:43 am

I have the same trouble. I haven't been able to cry more than three or four times in as many years, and I used to be quite the crier. In my case, I stopped because an abusive boyfriend used to yell at me about it. One day a few months ago, I was having a bad morning and then smacked my head on the corner of the fireplace and just collapsed on the floor sobbing. It was finally too much. Of course, I haven't cried since then, so I'm not "cured," but I thought that knowing that you're not the only one would help.
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Postby sal » Sat Feb 07, 2009 8:29 pm

Thank you for your reply, it means a lot to me to know that other people are struggling with the same thing. I have had a theory that it is shutting off from emotions that are associated with vulnerability after spending a lot of time with someone who has been aggressive and inconsistent, in my case this has been my mother. This has led me to consider that the following may be good paths for me to aim for:
    The belief that crying is not a sign of vulnerability.
    Avoiding a "guilty until proven innocent" attitude towards other people being untrustworthy and likely to have malicious tendencies.
    The belief that I am lovable by both myself and others.
    The belief that the vast majority of other people are lovable too.

I don't know whether these ideas are relevant to your situation aribabybug, or even if this theory and course of action is suitable. Can anyone shed some light on what is happening and what can be done to improve on this?
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Postby nd77 » Fri Mar 27, 2009 12:41 pm

Hi I know you posted this awhile ago but are you on meds? I only ask that because I can't cry and it has been ever since I stated my gammut of pills. I've just been numb to it. Sometimes I really want to cry that badly that I can feel it hurting inside. Before this I used to wake up already crying, almost like I started in my sleep. Anyway, that is just a theory.
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Postby Derelict » Fri Mar 27, 2009 6:29 pm

nd77 wrote:Hi I know you posted this awhile ago but are you on meds? I only ask that because I can't cry and it has been ever since I stated my gammut of pills. I've just been numb to it. Sometimes I really want to cry that badly that I can feel it hurting inside. Before this I used to wake up already crying, almost like I started in my sleep. Anyway, that is just a theory.


Exactly the same thing happened to me when I was put on Prozac. After a while of taking it nothing seemed to matter that much anymore. For a while this was good, because before I had been experiencing debilitating anxiety and would often have panic attacks and cry. But as time went by, I lost the will to do the things I needed to do, so I stopped the medication...But I think I weened myself off of the meds too soon or something, because my state of mind has been the same ever since, if not gotten worse. The only thing that can get the tears flowing now is SI, but even then I can't cry properly, just a few tears.
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Postby sal » Sun May 10, 2009 10:50 pm

hello, sorry for not seeing you guys! I have never taken meds, recently I have been wondering whether I should be taking meds, whether prescription or recreational, because of waking up wanting to die, or escape in whatever way works, but this sort of thing scares me, I don't know whether the side effects are going to be worse. Recently I have been feeling quite tired, and the occasional conversation has brought the sadness to the surface, which makes my eyes water a bit, but then I find some excuse to distance myself from the conversation for a short amount of time to calm myself (perhaps getting something out of the fridge). I think my current lack of energy has weakened the defenses against letting it out. I probably prefer numbness to be honest. I wish I was a machine with no desires for the future, or emotions, as both seem pretty futile right now; but simultaneously I long for the peace I felt years ago having cried myself to sleep the previous night, it seems to clean your soul. Not sure I have a soul now, must have lost it somewhere.
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Re: Inability to cry

Postby kittykat6 » Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:32 am

I know this was posted awhile ago, but I am having similar experiences. My mother was in a relationship with someone who was terrible to me. They never actually hurt me physically, but the way they talked and acted to me were so bad that it made me wish they would just slap me around instead of treating me the way they did. My mother moved us out of the state so that she could be with them, leaving myself and my younger brother without any nearby friends or family. The longer i we stayed with this person, the worse they treated me, and i had no idea why. Over and over again, I considered running away. I only considered suicide once, but quickly pushed the thought away, knowing that I would never be able to harm myself. Still, the thought of running away was very tempting. The only thing that stopped me was that I was sure I would starve. After seven years of enduring the person's unjustified hatred of me, my mother finally moved herself, my brother, and I back to our home state.

I only added that in because it helps explain the reason that I think I am like this. And the only possible reasons are that I had either cried so much during that time that my emotions are all used up, or that I had stopped myself from crying so many times that it is now an uncontrollable reflex.

Now, even after I am separated from my former depressor, I still can't be truly happy. Unlike what you all seem to be experiencing, I am still perfectly normal around my friends and others that I know and trust. I am still able to joke and laugh around them, and most of the time, I can almost completely forget my sadness around them. At home though, I feel an unexplained sense of anger and sadness. My cold, snappy remarks start arguments that result in angering me even more. Not only have I found that I can't cry, I have also found that I can't hold a smile for more than about 10 seconds, even when I'm around friends and at my happiest. It's so bad that when I take pictures with people, they usually turn out with either my face twitching or me having a strange grimace as a result of my brain trying to make me smile while my face muscles are trying to make me frown.

My ratio of crying per year is probably about an average of less than half an hour of crying for every two years. Before I realized that there was something wrong with me that made it almost completely impossible for me to cry, I used to brag that no matter how sad or touching a movie or book was, I was the only one that never cried over it. Now, I will tears forward, and grasp at any little opportunity to make myself cry (excluding purposely causing myself physical pain), with no positive results. It seems that nothing can make me cry any more. Even the death of a loved one.

I love my pets as much as a mother loves her children. I actually do call them my sons and daughters, and treat them with so much love, I think that they also believe me to be their mother (I have never actually had any real children). First, one of my pets died. I didn't cry. Later, another of them was outside and was attacked and killed by an animal. I didn't cry. A few months later, one of them was pregnant and had her first miscarriage, giving birth to a beautiful girl who was born dead. I still didn't cry. A week later, another of my pets (who also happened to be the father of the miscarried baby) died of natural causes, even though he was still young. I couldn't cry over this either. A few months later, two of my pets got themselves lost and never showed back up again. More than six months after that, two of my 'children' died on the same night, from different causes. One from an incurable disease that she had been battling for years, and the other from coming back to the house with a broken back (we think he was hit by a car). A few weeks later, another fell ill and died. Another disappeared and has not shown back up again. Even though I love them so much that I would sacrifice my own life for theirs, I was not able to shed a single tear over any of this. Death, after death, after death, and I still couldn't cry, even when I was completely by myself.

Whenever I am sad, I will normally just get a lump in my throat and then the stinging in the back of my eyes that, for a normal person, would usually mean you are within about half a second of bursting into tears. Then, all of a sudden, it will just recede, and my feeling of despair will be replaced by a numbness. After this happens I will get extremely mad at myself for not being able to cry, and start shouting at myself in my head and punching things (pillows, my bed, the wall, etc.). On the extremely rare occasions that I do cry, I try to keep thinking about the thing that is making me cry so that I can let myself cry for as long as possible. Normally, people will see me crying and come over to try and comfort me. It usually works, and I stop crying. When this happens, I just want to scream at them: "No! Don't do that! I want to cry! Can't you just leave me alone?!

I am really not sure what could be causing this. I have looked it up online, but I can't find anything that fits. Some things I've seen suggest a severe form of depression, but I don't think it could be that because I am still happy and normal around my close friends and others that I know. Other things suggest an eye defect where a person can be born with their tear ducts blocked, but I know it can't be that because I was able to cry until my early teens. Another thing suggests a condition where a person's brain does not link tears to sadness so that the tear ducts behave much like those of an animal's and only produce tears to keep the eyes from becoming too dry. It can't be this, because the people with this disorder can still cry just like any other person can, just without their eyes watering, while I am unable to utter a single sob.
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