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My Sob Story: Inexplicable Crying on Otherwise Happy Weekends

Things that don’t normally upset me incite tears on weekend afternoons after we’ve been out to brunch. I can’t believe I wrote that bizarre sentence. Nor can I believe this crazy thing that’s happening to me. It’s happened four or five times in the last couple months.

These weekend days always start out great. We have brunch, go for a walk or even run errands. Not until we get home in the late afternoon do I break down. I don’t even feel sad before it happens. I just start crying.

My favorite example is my overzealous reaction to Sunset magazine’s “green” issue. It, and every other magazine’s “green” issue, advocates buying new things to do your part to take care of the environment. There’s no acknowledgment of the waste in producing the product and replacing a current, often still usable, item. I’m frequently bothered by this, but my reaction has always been reasonable.

I didn’t hold back that day. I cried, ranted and raved, and cried some more. The sobbing didn’t last long, but I recognized from the start how ridiculous it was. I was crying over how commercial operations encourage people to buy things. There was no underlying theme — believe me, I tried to find one.

Tears I’ve shed on other weekend days range from absurd to genuine grief about having migraine and chronic daily headache. The weird thing is I don’t cry in grief any other time. Maybe when the pain is horrible and won’t relent, but even then it is rare.

A summary of the weirdness:

  • The tears are brief and can be interrupted fairly quickly
  • I’m fully aware of the absurdity of some things I cry about
  • I have only cried inexplicably on days we’ve had brunch
  • It always happens in the afternoon
  • I don’t feel sad on the days I cry
  • I don’t cry on weekdays
  • I don’t think I’m depressed in general

I try not to make correlations without sufficient facts, but I can’t ignore that this only occurs on weekends. The only explanation I’ve come up with is a blood sugar crash after brunch. I’ve had sweet, carbohydrate-heavy breakfasts on the days I’ve cried. How is that different than days I don’t eat until 4 p.m. or eat cookies for breakfast (neither of which is uncommon)?

Any suggestions on causes or solutions for my bizarre problem?

15 Responses to My Sob Story: Inexplicable Crying on Otherwise Happy Weekends

  1. Kelly says:

    The best solution I can offer is to let it out, Baby! Our bodies hold so much pent-up emotion. It is my observation that folks who have a hard time expressing sadness, confusion, grief, rage, pain (or anything, really) eventually make use of an emergency valve, so to speak, by which bits of emotion are “allowed” to escape in order to lessen the load. This may be the body’s way of protecting itself from holding too much unexpressed emotion (which will otherwise create tighter muscles, muscle spasms, digestion/elimination problems, high blood pressure, I could go on and on).

    In my own experience, particularly when it comes otherwise inexplicable crying jags, I try to honor my apparent need to cry. Sometimes I have an inkling of the underlying cause, but most of the time I don’t even really try to understand it anymore, I’m just glad that my body is wise enough to do it…because often I have a million reasons why I “shouldn’t” be crying.

    I advise stocking up on tissues. 🙂

    Love,
    me

  2. Bobbi White says:

    Kerrie,
    Please know you are not alone. Our difference is your only breaking down on the weekends. I suffer from daily migraines and the pain has gotten so bad that I can no longer work because I can’t be dependable. Now I have started having periodic anxiety attacks. There is much stress in my life right now and all of it together has been more than I could handle on a few occasions. I have no tumors, clots, etc. no explanation for my migraines. But I have found that putting ice packs directly on the spots that hurt and the back of my neck helps some and I know you know that any relief is a godsend.

    Perhaps the crying has nothing to do with your pancakes but as a diabetic I feel obligated to warn to be careful how much syrup you put on those babies. Maybe once you get home after brunch your body jumps at the opportunity to let it all out, the pain, the stress, everything.

    I don’t know if you’re married but today I had another attack and my husband was at home. He got me my medicine and just held me and let cry until it passed. For a very long time I had held a big portion of the pain and stress inside because my husband has been ill w/a serious bacterial stomach infection and stress tears him up inside. He reacts intensly to anything that upsets me and I didn’t want to make his pain worse, but he finally sat me down last week and told me he knew I was hiding it and it was making it worse on him that I wouldn’t let him in. So when I had this last attack I wasn’t alone, I was with someone who understood and wanted to comfort me and it was the greatest feeling. The pain is soooo bad and several people I love are very ill, we’ve run out of money…..yet having him there, sharing it with me made me feel not so alone, that everything would be ok and very very loved.

    If you have someone close, friend, boyfriend, husband….if you have not confided in them, do. You will be amazed at how much it can help to have someone hold you when it hurts so bad that you feel like your head will explode.

    My best to you,
    Bobbi, Cedar Rapids, IA.

  3. Elke says:

    The stress of the week catching up on weekends, when everything seems to be happier and more relaxed and there suddenly is space to feel what was pushed aside during the week?

    On a slightly different topic, you mention that sometimes you don’t eat till 4 p.m. or have cookies for breakfast. If you suffer from migraines neither is a good idea. Regular meals are an easy way to help keep migraines at bay or at least not trigger anothe one. I have become an absolute tyrant about my need to eat at regular times and have real food that is going to last me for a few hours. Sure I can get beyond the hunger and the grumbeling stomach, but I will be punished with a migraine. Even when I have a migraine and am nauseous I force myself to eat, otherwise everything will be worse. Some kind of muesli for breakfast (with little sugar, many of the are just loaded with corn syrup) and a lot of fiber is a good start to the day. (“Uncle Sam” is my personal favourite, it has also no nuts and other stuff people with migraine aren’t suppossed to eat.) And another tip, whenever I’m out of the house, I carry an apple with me, in case I cannot make my regular meal time, to tide me over.

    Sorry, as for the crying spells I cannot really help, I think it has a lot to do with exhaustion. Migraines and daily headaches take a real toll on the system. Maybe it is a little bit like people who go through some tough phase in their life, and manage somehow, but once it’s over and they feel safe, they collapse. Maybe Sundays are our safe days.

  4. Suz says:

    I get this too. However, I get extremely irritable and angry and irrational. I have reactive hypoglycemia. It happens like clockwork when I eat too much flour or sugar. I also ruminate about stupid things and wake up early in the morning, starving and jittery. I’ve been on a hypoglycemia diet, and I’m so much better. When I cheat, it comes back.

  5. Diana says:

    Kerrie,

    You wrote that “I was crying over how commercial operations encourage people to buy things. There was no underlying theme.” But what does it mean to you that commercial operations encourage people to buy things? In your mind, what kind of people encourage that? Are they ignorant? Wasteful? Oblivious? What is it that bothers you about their actions? You might find a deeper fear or offense in your answer that strikes you as enlightening.

    In reading what you wrote, I might think, “What wasteful and oblivious people.” And then I could see getting really triggered about that. But maybe the trigger would run deep for me because I also attach those qualities to past migraines I’ve had. How wasteful I have felt with my time when a migraine comes and steals my day away. How oblivious I have felt in finding the cause and being “smart enough” to figure it all out and put an end to them. I could see how I could have your same experience and go running with those themes regarding my own feelings about my life at times. So from there, for me it would be about giving myself permission to be oblivious and wasteful in the areas of my own life that are really haunting me. I hope that makes some sense. This feels like a challenging topic to convey clearly. I always think there is a personal message for us in these “seemingly ridiculous” bursts of emotion.

    Plus, my migraines used to feel like they typically “came right out of the blue.” No warning, just an immediate aura and twenty minutes later all hell would break loose with the pain. Kinda like how you refer to the bursts of grief coming from nowhere and on days where you feel fine and not sad at all. I might be going a little overboard with metaphor here, but is swear the more I play with metaphor in my own life the more answers I land up coming up with for myself.

    I also agree that honoring whatever emotions show up, and giving yourself full permission to experience them is necessary for all of us. I wonder too if that the bliss of a beautiful brunch out on the town only to come home to the place we all tend to go with our migraines was enough to bring on the tears.

    Wishing you love and light,
    Diana

  6. Kerrie says:

    Wow, I didn’t expect to strike such a chord with so many people. You’ve all given me a lot to think about.

    I try to go with the emotions, although crying always makes my head worse. Some days are easier than others. It is always strange when some new behavior (or symptom) pops up out of the blue.

    I’ve discovered that a lot of my nausea is caused by hunger. That gets me to eat more frequently and eat higher quality food. A mixed blessing!

    I’ve made some big improvements in my diet the last few weeks. Getting pre-made meals of real, organic, additive-free, healthy food helps a lot.

    I made a follow-up appointment with the endocrinologist I saw two years ago on the thyroid tests I had done. I really think there’s something going on with my blood sugar or metabolism.

    Thanks again!

    Kerrie

  7. Rain Gem says:

    Kerrie,

    Spring is the season for crying. Just let it out. If it gives you the headaches so be it, it’s better than having the “chillies” :P.

    BTW, I know you are not into taking too many supplements but how’s your calcium intake?

    Cheers

  8. Teri Robert says:

    {{{{{{Kerrie}}}}}}

    Boy do I feel for you! Sometimes a person can’t help but cry, but for me it’s a Migraine trigger, and if my head already hurts — Yikes!

    As I was reading your post, what came to mind was blood sugar levels. Maybe you should ask your doctor to run an HbA1c (glcated hemoglobin)test. That will show what your average level has been for the last 90 days. Another option would be to get a glucometer and test a bit, especially when you start feeling that way.

    What are your stress levels like on weekends? Probably lower? Maybe it’s letdown or letdown combined with glucose fluctuations.

    Then there’s your comment on thyroid. It took me 10 years to get a doctor to listen to me and really check out my thyroid. Then, it still wasn’t my primary doctor, but my Migraine specialist. Sure enough, I’m hypothyroid. I’ve noticed my emotions being having fewer large fluctuations since I started taking thyroid meds.

    Hope you find some answers soon!

    with a hug,
    Teri

  9. Jess says:

    “The stress of the week catching up on weekends, when everything seems to be happier and more relaxed and there suddenly is space to feel what was pushed aside during the week?”

    This was my first thought!

    I think that during times when our brains know it is “safe” to feel, emotions that we normally try to keep in check can sort of come leaking out.

    When I was diagnosed with lupus and quit my job to take a break, it was the first time in forever that I didn’t HAVE to do anything. I experienced a full on, extremely intense emotional breakdown. I believe now that my brain decided that there was finally time to do the kind of emotional release/processing that it needed… and this was ultimately very helpful.

  10. Jenny Jones says:

    I had a similar thing (getting really depressed after weekend brunches for seemingly no reason( and I traced it to blood sugar. For some reason, even though I can have sweet things later in the day and be OK, if I start the day off with anything even remotely sugary (pancakes of course are a typical brunch choice…)I always end up crashing later, feeling really terrible and blue. I tried balancing it with protein (eggs with pancakes on the side…or even eggs and toast with one toast buttered with jam…) well…none of it worked. Only if I eat straight protein, plus carbs, with NO sweet stuff for breakfast can I avoid this crash. I realized at home I would just make eggs or have a bagel with cream cheese. But when i went out I always ordered fun, fancy things (that usually were sweet!)

    try ordering only eggs and toast and see what happens. Worth a shot! Good for headaches too.

  11. Jenny Jones says:

    my husband has taken to calling pancakes and their cousins “sad food.” :*(

  12. andy says:

    Kerrie
    Are your tears always tears of sadness? I have found in the last ten years that I cry at all kinds of things I never even noticed before, and more often than not they are not tears of sadness but tears of joy, appreciation, amazement. My first experience along these lines was watching the dancer Margot Fonteyn(sp?) while she danced(old film), and the mere movement of her body was so inexplicably beautiful that I was reduced to tears. Other forms of beauty have had the same effect, and now and then I cry for no reason at all that I can find. So, I am merely writing to suggest looking at the crying itself for other possible meanings than sadness, in addition to all the good advice you have gotten regarding physical causes and cures. Your tears may be mostly sadness, but it may help to broaden your view to look for other emotions driving you to cry. And, the only medicine I have found for headaches of any kind is Excedrin for Migraines. I have never cried because of a headache, but some tears have come suspiciously close to the period of relief from a headache. In any case, I hope it all is not too overwhelming.
    Andy

  13. Melissa says:

    HI, I used to get many more headaches, and now I drink a lot of water and they go away most of the time. Watch pressure changes in the weather report, and also sharp temperature and humidity changes, because they affect our cells. Stay hydrated because water helps cushion the cells from pinched nerves on the inside, like a pillow.

    I also breathe steam, wash my face to blow my nose to equalize pressure and loosen mucus, and eat spicy food also to keep circulation flowing.

    Hormones are intense cyclically and in pre-menopause years, and during: just ride the waves. It’s like being pregnant or extended PMS, so diluting the hormone strength with water also helps, and exercise. It’s part of our reproductive capability and they fluctuate with intense feelings. Just ride the waves.

  14. kat says:

    help me.i wake up crying for no reason.i cry most of the morning.if i talk to someone i have to make my excuses and leave cos it’s coming again.afternoon is not so bad but everyone knows not to say anything sad or have anything slightly emotional on the tv.evening and night has a few tears.but bedtime means going to sleep crying again.and knowing that tomorrow will be the same
    even a happy song will set me off.I don’t know what i can do?

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