Why do people cry? This is a complicated question because people cry for various reasons. According to Stephen Sideroff, PhD, a staff psychologist at Santa Monica--University of California Los Angeles & Orthopaedic Hospital and clinical director of the Moonview Treatment Center in Santa Monica, California, "Crying is a natural emotional response to certain feelings, usually sadness and hurt."
Unfortunately, no one is immune from sadness or hurt so a person doesn't have to suffer from mental health disorders to experience these emotions.
At the age of seven, I survived an armed robbery but witnessed the murder of my mother, her partner, and my godmother, in Harlem (NYC). Although I suffered from a gunshot wound, it was the mental scars that resulted in the most significant damage. Several years after this tragic event, I was clinically diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. (PTSD)
As a child, witnessing multiple traumatic events, to include being verbally, physically, and sexually abused by my mother's boyfriend, I experienced a lot of moments crying due to sadness and hurt. As an adult, I cry from those painful childhood memories which can reappear in the form of flashbacks and nightmares.
After the armed robbery, I was transported by ambulance to Harlem Hospital and during my stay, I recall a young girl in a wheelchair befriending me. She appeared to be slightly older and introduced herself with a warm smile. I don’t recall her name but she was so nice and nurturing especially after I explained to her why I was in the hospital.
She led me into the playroom of the children's ward and took it upon herself to break the ice by introducing me to the other kids. She left a few days before I did which left me thinking, here’s someone else leaving me. As she was leaving, I started silently crying and she noticed my tears. She made her way to me, reaching out to wipe away those tears; then kissed me on the cheek and said, “don’t worry, everything will be okay.” At this point, I suddenly realized that she couldn’t walk. Some of the children on the ward, including myself played around with medical equipment, including wheelchairs from time to time; I assumed she did as well.
Although she experienced a devastating life-changing event which I'm sure led to tears, here was a person taking the time to give me words of encouragement. At times, I still experience moments that seem unbearable but remembering those kind words,"everything will be okay" lift my spirits. Also, I utilize all the resources available to me. There's no shame in reaching out to trained counselors, clergy, trustworthy family or friends for help.
Crying due to sadness or hurt doesn't mean that you're weak; it just means that you're human. Many are crying on this day for various reasons and even though those moments may seem to be unbearable, help is available. Allow someone the opportunity to acknowledge your tears and to be there for you.
You just have to be willing to take the first step. Utilize accessible resources such as trained/licensed counselors, clergy, and trustworthy family/friends. This is important because at times we can unknowingly duplicate the negative behaviors from those that hurt us.
If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, please call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
Also, if you feel the need to talk to someone, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-825 to reach a trained counselor. Current Military/Veterans: use the same number and press 1 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line. Hearing impaired 800-799-4889 LGBT youth 866-488-7386.
At the age of seven, Herman survived an Armed Robbery but witnessed the murder of his mother, her partner, and his godmother, in Harlem (NYC). Although he suffered from a gunshot wound, it was the mental scars that resulted in the most significant damage. Several years after this tragic event, he was clinically diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. (PTSD)