There were a lot of years where I couldn't cry. I wanted to cry. I NEEDED to cry. But there was usually some kind of barrier to the tears coming out.
That barrier was in place because for far too long I was not allowed to express emotion of any kind. I was "too sensitive." I was a "crybaby". I was too loud. Whatever it was I was expressing was always too much.
There were periods of time when I was able to cry. I cried when my husband was deployed for a year. I cried a LOT that year. But, as soon as I didn't have a socially acceptable reason to cry any more, the tears quickly dried up.
The big problem is that the things that had the potential to make me cry did not stop. Far from it. In 23 years of marriage, we have had ONE year where there was not something major that happened...a move, a job change, a graduation, an illness or injury...all traumas that have added to the built-up pressure inside me.
Then, in 2014, there were some big changes. I graduated from grad school. Jason deployed for six months and then came home. We were moving. We were selling our house. Our son moved out. There were court hearings to go through. I couldn't find a job. A LOT of trauma that year. And then we were moved, and far away from family for the holidays, and I had no safety net and still couldn't find a job. No friends. No meeting people for coffee. Nothing familiar.
I found a new counselor, and got back to work on dealing with my traumas...and realized after a while that this counselor was not a good fit, and found another one. The second counselor has been the one that has helped break the dam. Of course, the traumas have not stopped. In the last 3 months, I have experienced the deaths of SEVEN people...friends, family, family of close friends. All of that is HARD.
This week I have started recognizing that I am feeling SO MUCH, and it is too much for me right now. The tears keep falling. The pain is both mental and physical. I want to do the things that make the pain not be so very "front and center", but I don't do them because I don't want to be dependent.
Several things I have realized through this process:
1. The callouses from years of hardening myself are going away.
2. It is okay to cry.
3. I am feeling all of the built-up emotions from years of storing them away without dealing with them.
4. I need to extend the same grace to myself that I extend to others who are dealing with a lot. Because I am, and I need to allow myself to grieve.
I do feel depleted. My strength has for too long been expended to keep the feelings and the tears at bay, and I just can't any more. But that's okay. God gave us tears for a reason, so I am going cry until the tears are depleted, and the built-up pressure is gone.