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  • Writer's pictureTamara S. Graham

Tears of an HSP

Updated: Jan 15, 2021

I have had a very intimate relationship with my own tears. They are therapeutic, expressive, and a kind of reset button for my emotional build-up. I am like a broken faucet once I begin crying, I usually can't stop. I can keep myself together for only so long and then the waterworks begin and seem to be streaming all sorts of past emotions. There is so much built up that I cannot stop the rushing waters.

I have often wondered if I am allergic to my own tears since I seem to have an exaggerated physical reaction later, causing my eyes to swell up dramatically. I usually don't want to go out in public until the next day when the puffiness subsides. I have tried home remedies like using black tea bags or hemorrhoid cream under my eyes to reduce the swelling, but that doesn't help much.

What are tears?

As an HSP, this is how I would define T.E.A.R.S....






What's in a tear?

Did you know that the chemical make-up of tears can change with the emotion that prompted them? I find this highly fascinating as a highly sensitive person, since I have a huge array of reasons why I may cry.

Three types of tears:

  1. Basal tears are the every day ones that keep your eyes nourished and lubricated.

  2. Reflex tears help you to wash out any irritations to your eyes from foreign particles or vapors like onions or chemicals.

  3. Psychic tears are the tears produced in the crying response to that strong emotion you may experience ranging from pleasure, bliss and joy to stress, anger, sadness, suffering and of course physical pain.

Emotional reactions trigger your nervous system which causes your tear-producing system to activate. We produce our tears through a secretory system and our excretory system drains them. Tear production can also create physical effects in other areas of your body:

  • Your heart rate can increase.

  • You may sweat.

  • Your breathing rate will change.

  • You often get a lump in your throat.

Tears are also scientifically proven to make you feel better. Some tears can even contain a natural painkiller, Leucine Enkephalin, possibly one of the reasons why I feel better after a good cry. I find crying to be a reset button for me and the HSP children I have met and raised.

As an empath, it doesn't take long for me to cry when I see someone else crying. Which is why I don't always understand why so many people seem to be repelled by someone crying? Perhaps because they don't have the gift of sensitivity or are trying so hard to block their own emotions, and "not get involved".

Tami age 4 with mother

From early childhood I can remember the negative reaction so many people had to my tears. At my best friend's house, her grandma would often scold me causing me to cry and then exclaim, "What's-a-matter Tami, can't you take it?" And there were more times than I can count that my dad would come home from work and either notice I had been crying, or that I was still crying and complain, "Now what's she cryin' about?"

I also remember feeling such intense emotions and crying hysterically in school while being required to watch movies about suffering. It seemed like I was the only student that was affected so deeply, and that made me feel like the odd one. Was I from another planet? How could these preteen and teenage kids not care enough to shed a single tear while watching Bless the Beasts and Children, or a graphic documentary about the Holocaust? I will never forget!

Tami Graham 1970
Tami Graham 1970

As an adult HSP, I still experience the numbness or indifference of society and honestly I don't understand that... maybe I am the human and they are the aliens?! I even had a workmate push my buttons to the point of a meltdown at work - my worst fear. She reacted like she was so appalled by my emotional surrender of crying, and I truly wish I could have gotten angry instead! She added "salt to my wounds" literally when she said, "Geez, Tami, no one died!" Uggh.

Most of my significant others have failed to comfort me while crying, causing a huge gap in our relationships. I've seen so many awful reactions like literally leaving the room, or activating my old wounds by asking why I'm crying this time, or telling me to "toughen up" or "let it go".

All I ever wanted was to feel validated and justified in the emotions I was feeling. I have every right to feel what I feel, and I just want someone to reassure me by saying, "It will be alright." I recently told my current boyfriend this and he replied, "I understand what you are saying. But, how can I really know that?" Sigh.

I further explained that I do love when he hugs me, and saying things like this makes me feel so much better:

"I love you and I am here for you."

"You will get through this."

"You are stronger than this."

He has been very supportive in so many ways, and was glad that I was very specific about my needs. I highly recommend that you have this kind of discussion with your mate in order to be clear about your expectations and reveal how important comfort is when you are at your most vulnerable. I have to remember that not everyone can read minds or know that I was craving and missing that kind of support for so long.

I know that my tears are VERY therapeutic and I am grateful for the ability to allow the expression of my emotions in a way that does not hurt anyone. I will reassure myself and pat myself on the back for my incredible sensitivity that allows me to share my heart with others.

My tears are a gift, a trophy of my highly sensitive super powers. They are like a gauge to how much I can take and when to find some solitude and have a good cry. I also love Bach flower essence "Star of Bethlehem" for those situations when you feel like you are going to cry but don't want to.

Tears are me, and I am tears.

Thank you tears!

Tami is grateful for all of her Highly Sensitive Person traits because they have made her who she is today: an optimistic, nurturing soul, full of great compassion. Being a mother has been her hardest and most rewarding job since her unique and sensitive children have been her greatest inspiration and teachers. She is currently writing a series of children’s books for HSP families, The Sunshine Books. Follow this link for more of her heartfelt ponderings about highly sensitive people. Or sign-up above for her weekly emails as she continues writing for you.

{Copyright 2019 - 2021 - Most photos are the property of Tamara S. Graham unless noted otherwise}

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