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Can't Stop Crying While Listening to Imagery

26 Apr

Question:

Hi.  I have ptsd and I bought the audio imagery about Ease Grief.  It’s been a week that I am using it and... i don’t know what’s going on, I keep crying and I feel a lot of anxiety.  I don’t have the possibility to see a therapist here in Hawaii, I looked but no expert in the matter.  I don’t know, I just feel like my feelings are all messed up and I can’t control the cry.  Is this normal?

E.

Answer:

Dear E.,

Generally speaking, the crying is a good thing, and yes, it's a typical response to that imagery and even imagery in general when it’s pinging on all the right places.  Whenever you can, just let yourself cry.  It won't hurt you.  And it won't last forever.  Sometimes the feelings behind the crying aren't even entirely those of sadness and grief - there can be recognition, self-compassion and solace in those tears, too.

Make no mistake about it:  people can think and cry, do errands and cry, solve problems and cry; and even work and cry (especially if you're alone and not needing to worry over what people will think).  It's a necessary phase that you are going through - probably you have had a lot of tears locked inside of you for a very long time, and now is the time for them to come out.  So just let them flow if it’s at all feasible.
 
If it starts to mess up your ability to function for more than a day or two and you simply have to get back to work, take a break from that imagery (which is designed to help you cry) and try something a little more relaxing and less weepy, like the General Wellness or the Healthful Sleep imagery.  You can always get back to it later, when you have some free time.

I’m guessing the anxiety is bubbling up because you're not used to feeling your feelings this much, and (1) it feels weird, even though it’s normal, and (2) you could be afraid it will overwhelm you precisely because you’re not used to it. 

So trust that this won't be forever and, if you can, let the tears fall.  I hope you stay in touch and let me know in a few weeks how you’re doing.
 
Take care and all best,   

Belleruth

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award