Crying is Good For You

Dementia will bring you to tears.

The good news? Tears are good for you.

“Being strong” is part of your job description when you have a loved-one with dementia. But dementia is a long, hard journey, and tears come with the territory no matter how strong you are.

A while back, I stumbled across an article on the internet called “7Good Reasons to Cry Your Eyes Out” by Therese Borchard. It says tears “are like a natural therapy or massage session, but they cost a lot less!”

The writer explains that crying releases toxins from the body and also stimulates the production of endorphins, our natural “feel good” hormones. The article gives credence to the old adage that you’ll feel better after a good cry.

In another online article called “The Miracle of Tears,” writer Jerry Bergman reports that “Suppressing tears increases stress levels, and contributes to diseases aggravated by stress, such as high blood pressure, heart problems, and peptic ulcers.”

In other words, if you don’t let those emotional tears flow every now and then, you increase your risk for all sorts of health problems.

So, although I don’t recommend opening the floodgates in front of the person with dementia (He is confused and generally feeling bad enough already!), don’t hold back the tears forever.

If your loved-one lives in a memory care community, I guarantee you the staff there is used to tears and won’t be at all shocked if you “fall apart” in front of them. They may even shed a few tears right along with you.

Otherwise, find a friend or just a private place where you feel safe to let the tears flow. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I collapsed sobbing in my car after visits with my dad.

During my “breakdowns,” I doubted I could survive another day of my dad’s dementia. But I did survive. And it turns out that allowing those moments of “weakness” actually helped give me strength to endure.

“What soap is for the body, tears are for the soul.” – Jewish Proverb

My dad went through some tough times in his life. He always did what needed to be done, made sure everyone else was taken care of . . . He was as strong as they get, but even he shed a tear or two in its time.

My dad went through some tough times in his life. He always did what needed to be done, made sure everyone else was taken care of . . . He was as strong as they get, but even he shed a tear or two in its time.

Give Yourself a Break

field of purple flowers

 

When I became responsible for my dad’s care, I felt like I was instantly expected to know what to do. People kept looking to me for answers, but I didn’t even understand the questions half the time.

Recently, I was reading Self-Compassion in the Realness of Life, a blog about dealing with the ups and downs of life. It’s written by Kim Fredrickson, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. What she wrote was what I desperately needed to hear when I was drowning in the newness of my dad’s dementia.

Give Yourself Permission to…

~ Not know what you are doing

~ Learn how to navigate this new life change

~ Have mixed feelings, even about something positive

~ Be resentful, angry, hurt and sad about this life change

~ Take time to gather information, talk to others and seek help as you navigate through what is new and unexpected

Say Some Kind Words to Yourself…

~ I’m overwhelmed right now, and with good reason

~ I’ve never been through this before

~ I’ll figure out how to do this new ______ a piece at a time

~ I’m not supposed to know how to handle something I’ve never been through before…no one does

~ I’ll look for whatever little bits of encouragement and support I can see

~ I’ll ask God and others for help, and look for unexpected answers

On Fredrickson’s website, she writes: “Most of us are used to showing compassion to others. We often have trouble showing that same compassion to ourselves. We often say things to ourselves we would never say to a friend.” That sure rings true to me! How about you?

Let’s make a deal, ok? Let’s be kind to ourselves.

Please share this with anyone who’s going through a rough time and needs encouragement. Thank you.

To find out more about Kim Fredrickson’s blog or her upcoming book Give Yourself a Break: Turning Your Inner Critic into a Compassionate Friend, visit her website: http://www.kimfredrickson.com (The excerpt above is from her March 27, 2015 post.)