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18 Apr 2006

what's happening to me?
Dear Cybershrink

I've developed an embarassing problem lately. I get tearful several times a day, for the silliest things. Sometimes at home I start crying over something on TV or just being reminded of my cat who died last year, and I can't stop. Then I can't leave the house for the rest of the day because I look like a gargoyle, or I have to fake hayfever and wear sunglasses. I don't feel depressed or sad, I'm not into introspection or analysing or agonising over my emotions and have always been very rational and even-tempered. I'm a 44-year-old woman with a rather stressful job at a newspaper. Am I cracking under the long-term stress or could it be the menopause setting in?
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Hi snoekie ! Interesting question. Menopause is a possible factor, but job stress even more so. Another possibility --- sometimes when we have been through a major loss in the past without ever taking the time to grieve and work one's way through it properly, grief somewhat lies in wait for us, and can trip us up over more trivial sadnesses, rather in the manner you describe. Maybe a counsellor could best help you to check this out, and work through to finding better ways of dealing with the ambient stress. There is a condition which this sounds like, but arises in situations and pathologies that could not apply to you, inelegantly called "emotional incontinence" in which in a similar way, one's emotions overflow inconveniently with insuficient control.
It's interesting that you observe these episodes as very tearful, but without feeling especially sad, though triggered by sad thoughts. Anyhow, last place I worked before heading out on my own, several co-workers routinely looked like gargoyles anyway, so its not too bad.
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