What It May Mean When You Can't Stop Crying

Crying is a perfectly normal and healthy human function that everyone does at some point in their life. The reasons we cry can range from watching a sad movie, to grieving the loss of a loved one. Although crying is often an immediate emotional response to stimuli, crying too often or too frequently may be a sign of a mental health disorder (via Healthline). For instance, frequent tearfulness and excessive crying are often associated with depression and anxiety.

Depression is a mood disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness, low energy, and difficulty concentrating. People with depression may find themselves crying over small things, or simply may not know why they're crying at all. They may also find themselves crying often, or having trouble stopping themselves from crying. An anxiety disorder, on the other hand, can cause fatigue, trouble sleeping, excessive worrying, irritability, and difficulty focusing. Similar to depression, people with anxiety may cry often or uncontrollably and may not be able to identify why they're crying.

How to stop crying

Regardless of the reason, excessive crying can sometimes cause us to feel self-conscious, especially in public. If you're in a situation where you would like to prevent yourself from crying, you can try tilting your head up (via Verywell Health). This will make it more difficult for tears to fall down your face and will help you focus on stopping yourself from crying. Alternatively, you can also try pinching yourself. This can help distract you from crying and refocus your mind on other thoughts. Another way to stop crying is to hold your blink. Holding your blink, or blinking less frequently, may make it more difficult for you to cry.

These are just temporary fixes, however. What may be causing you to cry likely won't go away just by lifting your head or blinking less often. Whether it's the death of a relative, or undiagnosed mental health struggles, you may benefit from therapy or other medical interventions in order to treat the root cause of excessive crying. If you suspect you may have depression or anxiety, you should talk to a doctor or therapist to discuss treatment.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.