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Recovering Woman Asks: Is There Such a Thing as Crying Too Much?

26 Nov

Hello,

I have been using your Abandonment CD for well over a month, closer to two months as often as multiple times daily, usually as I go to sleep or if I awaken early, so that the CD can facilitate a return to sleep.  Unless I am already very upset, Bellaruth's voice now relaxes me right away.

I wanted to express that it is concerning to me that I often sob and cry very hard during the CD, and this reaction has been present from the first. I feel very in touch with my loss and trauma in those moments, and the pain is sometimes horrendous. Sometimes I actually wail.  It frightens my cats a bit.

My life has been utterly shipwrecked by betrayal and loss, and I have very poor quality of emotional life, constant depression and abysmal self-esteem. I am in therapy and taking DBT [Ed. Note: Dialectical Behavior Therapy, described here) as well, trying to control my negative self-talk.

My intuitive sense is that this cd may be good for me, despite the disconcerting effect of all that high emotion that sometimes/often occurs... I DO sleep MUCH better than when I first started listening,  am considerably calmer, and horrific traumatic nightmares have ceased.  I was exhausted from their prevalence prior, and actually afraid to sleep...

My issues are very severe and are both of longstanding and ongoing nature.

I have listened to Healthy Sleep and Depression and have not had a major response of any kind.  

Honestly I feel I would be hard pressed to sleep without my abandonment CD, but thought I should report my emotional response. FWIW, I can say I haven't had a day w/o tears for several years now, so crying is more my "normal" than most people's.

Thank you for helping me overcome the nightmares with the abandonment CD. They were intolerable....  Please let me know what you think about the crying? Best wishes... Dinah

Dear Dinah,

It sounds like you are taking excellent measures and making some excellent choices to help you heal.  You are in therapy and using DBT, an effective cognitive behavioral therapy.  You’ve gotten skilled at self-soothing and stress reduction from regular use of guided imagery.  At some point you may want to add some other methods to your toolbox:  maybe some profoundly soothing Healing Touch or Reiki; perhaps, when the time is right, you might try Somatic Experiencing to further your therapy work with a body-based approach.  Journaling and expressive arts therapy could make a big dent on this too.  Luckily, there are many effective resources and tools for you to work with if you want, and you can take it one step at a time (and you certainly won’t need to try them all in order to get better!!)

As for the question of whether you’re crying too much:  what is too much?  At some point it should lessen and maybe even subside, and in the meantime, you’re getting calmer and sleeping better and you’re working with a therapist who can help you monitor your progress.  

Just the mood self-regulation advances you’re making in of itself is huge and worth the price of the intense crying – which might even feel good in its own way, if you don’t judge it.  It’s a form of release.  So I’d say be patient with yourself and this process.  It may be a long journey but it’s worth every drop of tears, sweat and distress to get where you’re going.  

So hats off to you for your courage in staying with this, and keep up the good work!  And if you feel like it, write in a few months to let me know how it’s going.

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