Chronic Liminal Tears

Linda Raven's eyes

December 20, 2017

For several weeks now I have felt this pressure in my eyes.  Maybe its just behind the eyes.  You know that pressure, when you know tears are being formed, and they will soon be released.  That pressure that makes me either: look for a safe space to cry, grab a box of tissues, devour some chocolate, head out for a walk, or do something else to distract me so that I don’t cry (if I feel like I’m not in a safe space for tears).  I love crying.  I find it a wonderful feeling to dive into my emotions and just feel what it feels like to be sad.  Let the tears flow, be an embodiment of sadness.

Linda Raven's eyes

My eyes


However, these tears never came.  They have been with me for weeks now.  They feel a bit like a sneeze that’s not coming out, but also not dissipating.  Its just there.  The pressure remains in my eyes and I’m desperate for release.  I’ve had several pretty good triggers that I happily welcomed, hoping the tears would flow and that after flowing, I could go back to a post-release “normal”. But the triggers didn’t work.  No tears. I started to get worried that perhaps the tears were stuck.  Perhaps I’m somehow blocked and they will never flow.

Finally, a few evenings ago, the tears flowed.  I bawled, soaked the pillowcase and felt immense relief.  They have been released.  Now I can go back to “normal”.

To my disappointment, the following day, the pressure behind my eyes returned.  “Why do I have chronic liminal tears??” I desperately wondered.  I realized that I’m very comfortable with full-on sadness.  Its very familiar.  I understand it fairly well. I can usually tell what brought it on and what needs to happen for it to move along its way. I also love being happy.  Happiness is familiar, comfortable, and socially acceptable.  But these chronic liminal tears are neither fully sad nor fully happy?  Not really sad, at least not sad enough for tears to flow.  Not really happy either; I still feel that pressure behind my eyes.  So what is it? I don’t have a clue. I don’t have a name for it. I don’t really know what its doing here.  I don’t know who invited it nor how long it plans to stay.  This is why I want to release it, let it be one or the other.  Its too uncomfortable in between!

But now that I see it has come to stay for a while, I’ve decided to welcome it.  I’m no longer going to try to trigger the tears in order to release this feeling.  I’m also not going to feed it chocolate or give it other distractions to try to convert it to happiness.  I’m just learning to be with it.  Get to know it. Find out what it is here for.  I’m becoming curious about it.  Is it blocked tears? Or just a low grade, chronic feeling of sadness for all that needs to be grieved? Or something else? Or all of the above?

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