Why Can't I Cry?

by Harley Therapy
Reviewed by Dr Sheri Jacobson

Tears are the conduit through which our most extreme emotions flow. From stress and sadness to fear and frustration, nothing resets you like a good cry.

But what if you are often left wondering 'why can't I cry'?

There are a number of different factors that could make it difficult for you to cry.

Firstly, let’s explore the cultural connotations of crying. Could it be you are conforming to stigmas? You often hear people apologising when upset as if they are breaking an archaic rule that crying is in some way perverse, or a sign of weakness.

From parents who were uncomfortable around tears, to a society that tells us that men in particular shouldn’t cry, it’s easy to trace these sentiments. However retaining a stiff upper lip is not only unnatural, but potentially fatal. With suicide the biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK, we need to realise quickly through awareness and cultural shifts that turning your back on pain is easy – true courage comes from feeling your feelings and finding help.

Having the self-awareness to cry is a positive way of emotionally clearing turmoil. This is scientifically proven. Tear expert and biochemist Dr. William Frey discovered reflex tears are 98% water as opposed to emotional tears which also contain stress hormones, excreted from the body.

So aside from cultural factors, what else could be leaving us to question 'why can’t I cry'?

An inability to feel neither sadness nor anything else can be a symptom in melancholic depression – an extreme form of the depressive illness. Then there are also physical reasons an individual may be unable to cry. In some cases autoimmune diseases can be the cause. “Sjögren’s Syndrome” for example can result in dryness in the lacrimal glands, meaning forming tears is virtually impossible.

If you’d like to talk to a high quality therapist about any of these issues. Please click here.

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