For many people—especially men—crying creates an effect the way garlic has on vampires. It repels people. Some people don’t know what to do and don’t know how to react around someone in tears. It’s considered a weakness, and in some situations like the office, a taboo. While there are inarguable reasons as to why, when and where crying is appropriate, crying—in healthy doses—is actually a cathartic process that is not only healing, but also builds resilience and strength.
I’m a cry baby. There, I admit it, although I wouldn’t call myself such. Ever since I was a little girl, the people around me called me weak-hearted because of it. I would cry out of joy, sadness, grief, anger, fear, pain, and frustration. I would cry if I felt lost or vulnerable. I would cry over tear jerking scenes on television or the movies. Hard as a I try, I do not seem to have an off switch like many people. The waterworks would just come and I have no control over it and I had always wondered why.
I wanted for it to change. I wanted for me to have control over it. I still do. So I kept searching for the answers. It was not until the recent past that I found it. I learned that not only am I a highly sensitive person (HSP), I am also empathic. Judith Orloff, M.D. on Psychology Today defines an HSP as someone who has “a low threshold for stimulation; the need for alone time; sensitivity to light, sound, and smell; and an aversion to large groups. It also takes highly sensitive people longer to wind down after a busy day, since their ability to transition from high stimulation to being quiet is slower.”