Whether you cry from watching the scenes from The Notebook or cry after stubbing your toe in the middle of the night on a chair you didn’t see…. everybody cries. It can be in the privacy of your own home or shared with your best friend, we all do it. And yes, we all sometimes cry for no reason and it can be normal. It probably is more alarming when you think “why am I crying for no reason” or we think “kids are crying for no reason,” but surprise, it is not for no reason. There is a reason. You just may not be aware of what it is.
Children may not be able to articulate what is going on, so to adults it looks like kids are crying for no reason as well.
1. Most people are overwhelmed and don’t even realize it. You may be heading home from work sitting in traffic, and all of a sudden tears begin to fall. In that moment you probably are thinking, what is wrong with me? Why am I crying? I’m not even sad! If you are unaware of the amount of stress you are under, then stress can find a way to express itself, whether you are expecting it to or not. Stress lives in the body and crying is one form of release that stress finds. So pay attention to the amount of stress you’re under, it may be contributing to your experience of crying for no reason.
2. You don’t have to be clinically diagnosed with depression to experience symptoms of depression. While it is a common mood disorder, many of the symptoms are common for people to experience as well. Some symptoms of depression are: persistent sadness, empty mood, or hopelessness. Amongst other symptoms, these feelings tend to make people cry. The conscious connection may not be made so people assume they are crying for no reason.
3. Similar to stress, many people experience anxiety. Whether you have an anxiety disorder or struggle with anxiety in general, anxiety can cause you to cry. Symptoms of anxiety can include having a sense of impending danger, feeling nervous or having difficulty controlling worry. The act of crying can be a release of the build up of previously explained symptoms. Remember, if you are not active in coping with your anxiety, it can appear in unexpected physical ways, like in the form of migraines or crying.
4. If you are a woman, unexpected crying can be related to premenstrual syndrome. Premenstrual syndrome is the collective experience of symptoms that women have one to two weeks before their menstrual cycle begins. Some symptoms of premenstrual syndrome include headaches, bloating and crying spells. If you are not tracking your menstrual cycle and are unaware it is beginning, you may not realize you are experiencing premenstrual syndrome.
5. Processing the death of someone you love or cared for does not have a deadline. You may assume that because the person died a year ago, or 6 months ago that you would not feel sudden strong emotions related to that person you loss. You may think that you have learned to accept the loss and going about your daily life. But like many people, you may still be grieving the loss of a loved one and not realize it. Something as simple as a smell that brings up a memory of a loved one could cause us to cry all of a sudden.
6. Have you heard of the pseudobulbar affect? Not many have. Pseudobulbar affect (PBA) is a condition that’s characterized by episodes of sudden uncontrollable and inappropriate laughing or crying. Pseudobulbar affect typically occurs in people with certain neurological conditions or injuries, which might affect the way the brain controls emotions. People that have pseudobulbar affect do have other emotions but express emotions in an inappropriate and magnified manner, consequently disrupting their life. Uncontrollable crying can look like crying for no reason. For more information regarding symptoms, causes and treatment of pseudobulbar, visit: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pseudobulbar-affect/symptoms-causes/syc-20353737.
So keep in mind, you may not be crying for no reason. Your tears mean something, you just have to figure out what they mean. If you need to talk to someone, see a professional therapist or psychiatrist in your insurance network who can help you feel better and increase your quality of life.