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I think all those things are pretty normal. I know plenty of people without ADHD who get weepy or choked up in a great motivational speech or an emotional movie. Those things are actually designed by talented people purposefully to evoke strong emotions! So the fact that they worked, just means that…those people are good at their jobs, you know?
I cried so hard during the live show of “Les Miserables” that I shook the people on the other end of the row. They were looking down at me to see if I was having a seizure. But I was just really really into the show!
Crying is a release valve for your emotions (or your stress) spilling over. There are a lot of different triggers for crying, but the only thing it “means” is that you needed a cry. It does a lot of the same things to your body and your brain that laughing does – it oxygenates your blood and releases endorphins, for example.
So something that might not make you cry when you’re rested and feeling great, could really set you off if you’re tired, stressed, hungry, in pain, upset about something else, or physically ill.
And the more stressed you are (mentally or physically), the more you need that release. For example, you mentioned crying all the way through a movie when you were on a weekend away from rehab.
I bet you were dealing with a lot of important stuff in rehab. Then when you got home and let your guard down, the movie just tipped you over the edge into letting all that emotion out because you needed to.
When I was recovering from a serious illness that took months, I would cry at the drop of a hat – TV commercials, not being able to comb my hair, geez – anything. And that’s a normal thing that happens when you are really exhausted and run down.
I think it’s interesting that you used to get emotional when people asked you if you were okay. To me that would suggest that you really needed some kindness, and it touched your heart.
Some things that sometimes make me cry or at least get teary-eyed (some sad, some happy):
Fighting with my husband
Giving an impassioned speech or talking about a really important moment in my life
Attending weddings or baby baptisms.
My wedding vows
When someone I love dies
When someone gives me a really meaningful compliment
When I’m regretful over something I did.
Telling people I love how I feel about them, how important they are to me.
Talking about important things in my religious/spiritual life
Scenes in movies, books, or tv about people being reunited, about love & sacrifice, about loss/death/never seeing each other again, about people achieving a hard-won reward, about parents or mentors telling someone they are proud of them…a lot of stuff.
I’m going to gently disagree with Ranma upthread. I’m not a psychologist, but my understanding of emotional dysregulation is that it’s when emotions are disproportionate or inappropriate/unrelated to the situation, or cause an inappropriate or damaging outburst (like smashing up the furniture or threatening suicide).
I think (to use Ranma’s example) an abuse survivor unexpectedly watching scenes of child abuse is a TOTALLY NORMAL thing to get upset and cry about. Like, I think it would be a little bit weird if you didn’t.
So I guess my questions to you would be, do you feel like crying over unexpected things is causing you a problem? Are you embarrassed about it, or what?