Peace through Tears

A crying closet! The University of Utah built, it’s reported, what can be called the first-ever “cry closet”. The closet was basically meant for final students who needed to scream, sob or do whatever emotional expression they wanted. The closet was invented by a student and a visual artist of the university, Nemo Miller. Why a crying closet in an institution of higher learning?

The common Swahili proverb “mficha uchi hazai (the one who covers her nakedness does not give birth)” has now stood the test of time. The wisdom that is hidden in this proverb is what young stars of this generation need to learn. From my professional point of view, there is a growing need of the young stars to confide their pain, weaknesses, challenges, and ambitions in wise persons of experience.

Mental health conditions are increasing worldwide. Mainly because of demographic changes, there has been a 13% rise in mental health conditions and substance use disorders in the last decade (to 2017). Mental health conditions now cause 1 in 5 years lived with disability. Around 20% of the world’s children and adolescents have a mental health condition, with suicide the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds. Approximately one in five people in post-conflict settings have a mental health condition.

Depression in most cases, begins either with extreme pressure or traumatic life experiences. “Depression may become a serious health condition. It can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, school and in the family. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide,” said Dr Omondi. “What parents should watch out for in their children and the youth is continuous feelings of sadness and hopelessness, social withdrawal, increased sensitivity to rejection, changes in appetite or sleep, outbursts and crying, as well as loss of interest in their hobbies, worthlessness or guilt and, at worst, thoughts to harm themselves.”

With the statistics above, let me argue out without fear that more people need to cry out their stress, sadness, grief, anxieties, pain, and frustrations. Our society has taught majority of us that crying is a manifestation of weakness; this I strongly oppose. It is a misconception! We sometimes need to be true to ourselves and cry out the pain that is within us. We no longer need to keep grudges and fail to forgive people, cry out the pain that person you cannot forgive caused. Cry out the pain the death of the beloved one caused to your life. Accepting that there is something not going on well, is the first step to solving any problem.

According to prominent tear researcher William H. Frey II, when humans cry in response to emotion, their tears contain more of certain chemicals that are released when the body is under stress. Like other exocrine processes, including exhaling, urinating, and sweating, toxic substances are released from the body when we cry. Several of the chemicals present in emotional crying are the protein prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormones, and the endorphin leucine-enkephalin, which reduces pain. There’s also research that suggests that in addition to acting as a way to self-soothe, crying releases oxytocin and endorphins—both chemicals that help ease physical and emotional pain.

Tears that are produced by stress help the body get rid of chemicals that raise cortisol, the stress hormone. A good cry can also be a good way to kill bacteria. Tears contain the fluid lysozyme — also found in human milk, semen, mucus and saliva — that can kill 90 to 95 per cent of all bacteria in just five to 10 minutes. Tears, made by the lacrimal gland, can actually clear up our vision by lubricating the eyeballs and eyelids. When the membranes of the eyes are dehydrated, our eyesight may become a little blurry. Tears bathe the surface of the eye, keeping it moist, and wash away dust and debris.

Tears can elevate our mood better than any antidepressant available. Only individuals with anxiety or mood disorders were less likely to experience the positive effects of crying. A good cry can provide a feeling of relief, even if our circumstances still remain the same. Crying is a safe and effective way to deal with stress, It provides an emotional release of pent up negative feelings, stresses, and frustrations.

People who have clogged their mind with the pain that circumstances have brought should start embracing the benefits of crying. There reaches a point in life where freeing yourself through tears solves many problems. My dear reader, when the time comes for you to sob, sob freely.

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