It’s weird that I find myself at 4.30 in the morning writing this because I really didn’t want to. I have had to take a mental health hiatus from this blog of late and had told myself my return would come with explanation and realms of advice. Sometimes though, things do not always go to plan.
Instead, I woke up with a start about an hour and a half ago with the most intense feeling of night-time anxiety I have felt in a while. I rubbed my eyes and quickly searched my brain for a trigger or reason but could not find anything in the darkness. My h
eart started to thump like a raucous drummer boy against my rib cage, my mouth was parched and my breathing shallow.
Well hello anxiety old friend. Been a while since you visited me at this time!
My story with anxiety is a long one but let me tell you that the symptoms of such attacks are so familiar now. Being a naturally (and trauma lead) nervous child grew into what is now labelled by my doctors as Acute Anxiety Disorder so over the years I have become accustomed to what triggers me and what I can do to help. This is of course is during the hours of daylight when although still as sudden, I am at least fluid enough to have some preparation under my belt.
Middle of the freaking night anxiety is the worse because before you even know what is happening you’re already slap bang in the moment! There is no time for warning signs or the ability to remove yourself from a situation. You are there.. half awake and yet half still in slumber, rigid and about to ride the rollercoaster that all us sufferers dread.
Anyway, there is a kind of point to this blog post. A thought process that brought me to drag out my laptop and write if you will. Let’s get to it then shall we?
Long story short, I cried!
Because there was no rhyme or reason for me to be in the state I found myself in, I literally let out a long wail and the tears followed. Oh my how they followed as there was a very large amount of them. In fact, I sobbed solidly for about 45 minutes until my body turned limp and I felt this rather odd release. It was this release that intrigued me the most because during the entire attack I hadn’t used any breathing exercises or grounding techniques. I hadn’t followed any of my inner advice or tried to shift my focus. I had simply done what my body (and mind) was telling me was the most instinctive response.. to weep like a baby.
Like many people I have cried before. The actual act of crying isn’t the big surprise to me here. What I found interesting is the fact that by being confined to my bed with no other means of ‘dealing’ with this latest attack, I had to rely on this process and it worked! Okay. so it wasn’t particularly pleasant but when is an anxiety driven come down ever? It was long and lonely too but maybe there is something to crying yourself through the anxiety when there is no body there to aid or talk you down. When left with just yourself and your brain hasn’t worked fast enough to pull out your techniques, will good old wailing do?
So I took to trusty google after I had made myself a cup of valerian tea (great for calming, not very tasty) and looked for a link and an answer – I am an inquisitive little bitch after all.
I found this article which talks quite openly about the benefits of a good cry on the body. It states that crying is beneficial overall and that release is indeed felt for the most part afterwards. It also tells us this though..
feeling better after crying isn’t something shared by everyone. People with anxiety or mood disorders for example do not report feeling better. Those who derive the greatest benefit appear to have received a good level of emotional support from others at the time they cried.
.. slightly momentarily worrying for someone suffering from both an anxiety and mood disorder. I don’t know how your mind works but mine automatically thinks it’s done something wrong when I prove the exception to a rule. I start believing I am a freak of nature and I go down a whole other path but for this purpose I tried to hold it together and went back to google.
You see, I obviously did benefit and I do report feeling better but what I want to know is why I felt this way. Was it a fluke? Have I just found another loop-hole that I can flit through as far my mental disorders are concerned or am I doing what I normally do and over thinking the whole god damn thing?
I suggest it’s combination of all three and maybe more besides. Mental health charity mind reckon I am in the right gender/age/whatever bracket to be okay with crying and this bizarro list offered me some strange scientifical factoids on the releases felt by crying but I found no real explanation. I concluded that I shouldn’t be looking a gift horse in the mouth and I will ask my therapist about it next week.
Maybe it’s just another coping mechanism huh? Yeh, that’s probably it!