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Hold it back: mental health confusion

For the past month or so, I feel like I have been holding back the tears. Sometimes it seems as if the floodgates may be able to break and I’ll let it all out – collapsing as I do into a screaming, crying heap. Maybe on the bed, or on the sofa. For dramatic effect, maybe on the floor, since it’s recently been hoovered. Who knows?

Silly, really, because I don’t really have anything to cry about. My mental health has never been the greatest, but I’m not particularly sad about anything, or going through anything tough or have any major worries. I’ve even been okay throughout the pandemic, keeping myself safe while I do the shopping, et ceteri; I have, today, a pressure headache, but that’s about it. Paracetamol is helping there.

I do, however, feel as if there is something desperately wrong – something I’m not aware of. My girlfriend is in a constant state of agitation (she has been made redundant and has no idea how to make herself more employable), and tells me all the time about how sad she is, and part of me is wondering why I’m not equally as worried or sad. I can’t really bring anything up, because it doesn’t really compare, but then I don’t have anything to bring up, so wouldn’t be able to anyway.

Most of my problems are memories from my past. Yes, memories can be helpful; there are some wonderful, special ones and they’re a fantastic source of content. Then again, I have some very bad ones too, and they’re the ones that stick. They come to me when I lie in bed unable to sleep, and niggle at every inch of my brain. They’re very difficult to explain, and more so to visualise, so there’s not much I can say about them. But they are there.

Everything seems better in the morning (apart from today, where – as I said – I had a tension headache). I rarely get up in time for breakfast these days, but I can throw some clothes on and have some coffee, and that seems okay. Sometimes – most of the time – it seems like I am doing, if not fantastically well, reasonably so, given the circumstances.

But, in my quiet moments, I sometimes get the twinge. My eyes well up, and I feel my breath hitch in my throat. I sniff a little. Maybe, I think, maybe I am about to cry. I don’t know what about, really. Maybe it’s all too much, but then again, what is it?

Perhaps it’s true that, despite having the patience of a saint, I can’t really cope. But I’d very much like to know what it is I’m not coping with.

It doesn’t make it any better. But it makes it easier.


  1. Mrs Fever

    I can relate.

    I think past experiences/memories hold within them the power of emotion — maybe emotion{s} we couldn’t express or didn’t understand at the time — and when current circumstances/stresses trigger a similar feeling/emotion, it’s as though a dam breaks somewhere inside.

    I had tears well recently while visiting family. Over dancing, of all things.

    And when I visited my aunt a few days ago, she cried when I played the piano.

    Why? No clue.

    I chalk it up to being human.

    • Innocent Loverboy

      Yes, I think it is mainly circumstantial.

      Individual moments, feelings or subliminal mental tics can open the floodgates. I’m with you on dancing – in fact, music in general. It’s perhaps the most powerful medium in the world. There are some pieces I can’t listen to without crying, whether or not they’re sad. It’s just how I’m wired.

      I imagine it’s the same for so many.

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