I believe firmly that it is good to express our emotions, rather than suppress them. Sometimes we just need to cry. Crying on a friend's shoulder. Weeping at a funeral. I've had several such completely appropriate crying occasions this summer. Both times I got Migraines. Today I have a sinus infection. It's a crying shame!
I am speculating here, and make no claims to scientific accuracy in this post. I'm wondering about the physiology of crying. It's more than just salty water running down your face. I don't know if anyone really cries like they do in the movies, or in literature, delicate trails of tears, without anything swelling, nothing disgusting. I've certainly never been able to achieve that. For me, crying involves swollen nasal passages, a red blotchy puffy face, a fountaining nose. Altogether much yuck. Crying is a well-known Migraine trigger. I suspect the good old trigeminal nerve must be involved - it runs right through and controls all the regions involved in a sob-fest. And then it must get irritated, and set those neurons on their merry way, doing their haywire Migraine thing.
I don't know if I can explain the sinus infection this way, but I'll try. I'm not suggesting spontaneous generation - there must have been an infectious agent. Who knows what rhinoviruses lurked at the airport, on the plane, in the rental cars, in the colleges and even friends' homes we visited. But I suspect that my crying must have swollen passages and shut down my tiny sinus ducts, trapping some opportunistic organisms, backing things up and leading to infection.
Yesterday I attended a very sad memorial service. A friend lost his wife - a bright, funny, lovely woman of 37. Witnessing his pain, and the pain of her parents and siblings, all of her friends, his friends... Well there was much weeping. Completely appropriate weeping. I felt knocked out for the rest of the day, and by evening I had a Migraine, my throat was sore and my sinuses were doing their nasty thing. Today I think the weeping is still going on - just inside my head rather than on my face.
Like so many things that can trigger us, crying can't be avoided. It's part of life. Probably I would have gotten this infection anyway. So I will remember LM from my bed today, drink lots of tea, take my vitamin C and zinc and magnesium, and hope this clears up soon.
Crying clown face image courtesy of Prakhar Amba.
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