Crying Everyday is Really Inconvenient
Yesterday I cried three times. Once remembering my dead dog, Millie (grief), once trying to reschedule a doctor’s appointment for my mother (frustration), and once trying to ask a certified respiratory therapist a question about my new CPAP machine (frustration). No matter how many times I asked the same very simple question, she answered a different question. After about five go-rounds of this, I burst into tears.
She looked surprised, but I wasn’t. I now cry whenever I’m frustrated, and can’t control it. It happens every time, whether the frustration is big or small, no exceptions. Today I cried because I was asked to re-write something at work, and tomorrow I’m sure I’ll cry when I try to pay a traffic ticket online. It’s just how it is now.
I’ve always felt the urge to cry when frustrated, but I was able to keep it under control for years. I’d feel the tears gathering behind my eyeballs, my voice about to change, and I would give myself a drill-sergeanty internal pep talk that went something like, Jesus Christ, pull it together for G-d’s sake. And this usually worked. When it didn’t, I would gulp water, because the swallowing mechanism knocks out the about-to-cry mechanism. (Take that tip to the bank, ladies: if you work somewhere that frowns on crying, keep a bottle of water on your desk at all times).
But that skill-set has now completely disappeared. Although I know correlation doesn’t equal causation, it’s hard not to blame the last two years of abject fear, confusion and upheaval for this new disability. I now feel like a big open blister. Or a jellyfish? I feel like I once had a shell, and now I don’t, but I’m definitely supposed to have a shell. Where is my shell?
The embarrassing thing is that I had it pretty easy during the pandemic, considering. I never got COVID. I don’t know anyone who died of COVID. My dad did get COVID on my 50th birthday, and I spent that day screaming and crying at the hospital staff (sorry) because I was convinced he was going to die, but then he didn’t die. Now he has a new girlfriend at his assisted living facility and is doing push ups to impress her. So it all turned out fine.