Geeks Vs Loneliness: finding your own cry

How an episode of DIY SOS helped one person let things out...

Welcome to Geeks Vs Loneliness, our spot on the site where we chat about things that may be affecting you, or people around you. We’re handing over to the brilliant Clancy this week, and carrying on with the chat about crying that we had last week. This time, though, with a bit of added DIY SOS…

I’ve had a realisation recently. My lightbulb moment may seem a bit ridiculous to others, but I have recently realised that it is okay to be not okay.


I have spent my whole entire life being okay with things. Managing. Coping. Pushing on. Thinking this was normal. Bottling things up and not letting things show was my modus operandi. Obviously, the reality was that my mental health was suffering and having managed my depression for over 20 years, I finally had a breakdown last summer. I had it quietly, not letting on that I was losing control, but I had it.

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Urgh. It was awful and I think I was really close to something very bad. On one of my worst days I had stayed at home while my family went to the park, convinced that I would spoil everything with my mood. I felt terrible. So flat. So down. So nothing. Then I watched an episode of DIY SOS.

Now, I don’t usually watch this programme, and to be honest, I watched it because I couldn’t be bothered to find the TV remote. Nick and his chums do great work in helping others and motivating communities, but I am a cynical type and was inwardly rolling my eyes (too much effort to actually do it) at the calculated heart string pulling. However, come the finale, I was in floods of tears. Big ploppy tears and huge amounts of snot. I cried and cried until I didn’t have any strength left.

I felt amazing.

I felt as if I was letting out 20 years work of pain. Finally, I could feel something again. I felt relieved. I felt calm. I even felt a little bit normal.

I know that crying being cathartic isn’t a new thing (and it was talked about in this column last week), and I’m certainly not going to pitch it anytime soon on Dragon’s Den, but it hit me that I rarely cried about things that upset me. I don’t like crying and have always seen it as a sign of weakness but here it was making me feel so much better than I had done in months.

Things are still hard and I’m not naïve enough to believe that they will ever be easy. However, now I let the hard things in. I cope, I carry on, I manage. I have to or life will grind to a halt. But now I acknowledge that these things are hard and that I am upset by them. It’s OK to be not OK and you should never feel guilty for expressing that to yourself or anyone else.

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I’m a grown up and crying all the time is a bit weird, so I choose to watch something that I know I can legitimately cry to. Maybe, in time, I’ll feel more comfortable talking about this with others, but for now I feel that having a cry while watching something I like is a start for me. While I’m crying because ET is leaving, I’m also grieving for my father. While tears roll down my face pretty much all the way through The Railway Children, I’m also thinking about the difficulties my own children face living with autism. Feelings are being expressed but I feel I’m in control of them.

So, my advice is to have a cry. It’s not novel. It’s not fancy. It’s certainly not pretty. It can be a wonderful, healing release and I’d like to share my top ‘It’s okay, I’m crying over the film/book/song’ choices:

ET – you know which partsThe Railway Children – “Daddy, my Daddy”The ending of The Amber Spyglass by Philip PullmanThis Woman’s Work by Kate Bush

I invite everyone to find their own cry.

Thanks, as always, for reading.