I can’t stop crying

Crying is a natural, healthy part of life. We cry for all sorts of reasons: when we’re angry, frustrated, sad, relieved and even happy. It allows us to get things out of our system and usually leaves us feeling calm and clear afterwards.

But sometimes we can cry constantly, bursting into tears for no apparent reason, and it can be so exhausting that it stops us from doing normal, everyday things like going to school or to work.

If this is you, please be reassured: you’re not being stupid or over-emotional, and you’re not doomed to be a miserable person. You’re most likely a strong person who has tried to cope alone. But you don’t need to do it alone. You can be helped.

Signs that shouldn’t be ignored

Here are some signs that crying is more than a natural emotional reaction to life:

  • You easily burst into tears when anyone says anything to you, even though it’s not nasty or critical.
  • You cry watching the news
  • You find it hard to stop crying once you start, especially when anyone asks, ‘Are you okay?’
  • You feel worse because from the outside, your life seems perfectly okay.

Crying repeatedly is the brain’s way of telling you that something is wrong, and it is most likely that you are depressed. It’s possible you’ve been burying some feelings for a long time, years even, and now something has triggered them.

What can you do?

Depression is like a heavy filter in your brain that allows only negative memories, feelings and thoughts to get through, and you’re going to need help to shift it.

1. Talk to someone about how you’re feeling

Call or send a message to a close friend or a relative (‘I’ve been feeling really down lately’). Or call or web chat with a counsellor at eheadspace, Youth Beyondblue or Kids Helpline.

Talking about how you feel is a great release and a good place to start, but you’ll need more help than that.

2. Find out about therapy

Doctors and other professionals see depressed people every single day of their working lives and will be able to advise you on the best way to treat your depression, whether that involves medication, talking therapy or a combination.

MoodGYM and ecouch (run by the Australian National University) offer free online treatment for depression (and anxiety).

3. Be kind to yourself

Keep away from junk food, exercise every day (even if it’s just walking the dog) and try some meditation:

Just spend a few minutes every day in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. Imagine your whole body is surrounded by a halo of pure white light. If you notice any thoughts arise, just allow them to drift in and out of your mind, then return to your light. You don’t need to do this at a regular time, or for a certain amount of time – just whenever you remember.

You will get through this.