A good night sleep, or a ten minute bawl, or a pint of chocolate ice cream, or all three together, is good medicine.
~Ray Bradbury from Dandelion Wine
Most days in clinic we see tears, lots of them. We keep boxes of tissues strategically placed in the exam and consult rooms, as well as the waiting room. Life can seem overwhelming, fear and worry proliferate unchecked and floodgates spillover occurs when just one more thing happens — maybe a failed test, a fight with a family member, a lingering fatigue that just might be some dread disease.
We underestimate how therapeutic a good cry can be, almost as helpful as deep and heart felt laughter. Stress and tension is dissipated, endorphins are released, muscles relax. Holding back tears, like trying not to laugh (think Mary Tyler Moore at Chuckles the Clown’s funeral service) is hard work and cab only make things worse.
So I hand out kleenex like candy and tell my patients to just let it go and flow. I’m an easy crier myself, and will cry at the drop of a hat with very little provocation — a certain hymn in church, a beautiful word picture, a poignant memory, or sometimes in exhaustion and frustration. Tears are a visible tangible connection with what is happening to us and around us and to others. They can be more honest than what we say and do.
When the weeping wanes, I always recommend a good night’s sleep.
Good medicine without a pharmacist.