Grieving and Crying

First of all, I am new to this. Apologies if I am not posting this right.

Secondly, going through the posts, I figure there are a lot of young participants here. Don’t know if there are any adults here who can relate to grief.

My dad died when I was 9. My mom told me I didn’t shed a tear.

I don’t cry at wakes or funerals.

However, 2 years back, after the passing of one of my close friends, I noticed that I would shed tears when I was doing computer work. Dismissed it at first that I was staring too hard at the screen but things didn’t get better.

Later that year, another ex-colleague passed on and it was when I started getting depressed and started hallucinating.

Long story short, I have seen counsellor, psychologists and psychiatrists over close to 2 years.

Despite SSRI and being discharged when hallucinations stopped, I still don’t feel that I have gotten over this.

I was brought up as a stoic. Constantly told that men don’t cry. Even if I intellectually understand that crying can be cathartic, somehow my body tenses up and refuses to do so.

How does one manage grief without tears?


Hello @Notearsformula,

Thanks for coming on and sharing about your struggles. First off, there’s nothing to apologise about the way you post in this community - we’re here to listen and hope you feel supported, especially with what you’ve gone through.

I think it takes a lot of courage to open up and seek professional support when it comes to dealing with grief; more so when your existing coping skills appear to be overwhelmed. I also hear you about your beliefs and upbringing that continue to shape the way you perceive things, and how it manifests in your body reactions and negative feelings - I think that what you felt going through what you experienced in the way you knew how to - is valid. :people_hugging:

I think that you seeking assistance and being on medication means that you also have an understanding on the effects of your thinking shaping that way you feel and behave, and the interconnectedness of one another towards how you feel, think and react in certain situations (especially those that bring up or trigger memories of loss).

I wonder what your experience with counselling and therapy like - what did y’all work on, what did you find working/not working for you? Did y’all manage to identify some coping skills that would be helpful? I wonder like if you could do therapy differently, what would you do instead? :thinking:

At the same time, the stages of grief is not linear and I think you’ve probably cycled through or experienced them many times through the years. Having said that, I think that your experience with grief is unique to you and it would be highly unfair or critical of me to think that it can be resolved in a standard fashion. It’s true that you feel the dissonance between not crying and getting the benefits of crying it out, and this is where you can decide how you would want to honour your grief. You can choose the time or place or the manner you want to express/show/write/shout/demonstrate/craft/create whatever you wish or want that you find helpful, supportive or needed for you in this moment. And, I’m right here, waiting to listen to you as I feel that there’s more to learn about you and your experience, so please type whatever you feel like sharing. :slightly_smiling_face:

Who is to say that one cannot manage grief without tears?


Hi @Notearsformula I’m truly sorry for the challenges you’ve been facing and the loss you’ve experienced. Grieving without tears is a unique aspect of the grieving process, and it’s important to acknowledge and respect your individual way of coping. First and foremost, it’s crucial to be patient and compassionate with yourself. Grieving is a personal journey, and there is no “right” way to experience it.

Consider exploring alternative outlets for processing your grief, such as journaling, art, or engaging in activities that bring solace. Expressing your emotions through words or creative outlets can be just as cathartic as shedding tears. Additionally, continue to engage with supportive professionals, friends, or family members who can provide understanding and guidance on your journey.

Remember that healing from loss is a gradual process, and there’s no set timeline. If you feel comfortable, share your experiences and feelings with those close to you, as it can foster a sense of connection and support. It’s okay to seek ongoing counseling or support groups to navigate the complexities of grief. You’re not alone, and there are various ways to manage grief beyond tears. Take care, X.

1 Like

Real men do cry. It takes courage to be vulnerable, courage to shed tears from the pain that we feel. We are only human.


Thanks for your reply. I appreciate it.

I knew I had to seek professional help when the hallucinations started. It was a sign that I was not mentally able to cope with what was happening to me.

The first counsellor I spoke with over 3 sessions was from my workplace. I shared what happened and she noted that I had lost a lot in my life, especially in my 25 years of teaching. We discussed the possibility that I should quit the service and at the end of the year when the hallucinations started, I left full-time teaching. I then went on to a psychologist at the Polyclinic. He was in a way, the most helpful with coping strategies.

I started wearing a cap to limit my field of vision so that I would reduce the chances of my seeing things that I shouldn’t. I started journalling to organise and process my thoughts. Things were better controlled but the hallucinations didn’t go away. He referred me to a psychiatrist at a hospital. I was prescribed 2 types of SSRIs to manage my symptoms. Over the next few months, the hallucinations stopped and the psychiatrist reduced the SSRIs and eventually discharged me.

My original psychologist left the polyclinic and I was assigned to a new one who diagnosed me with trauma, based on the deaths that occurred during my years as a teacher. She suggested that I get help from the private sector, professionals who know about EMDR (a form of psychotherapy).

Currently, I am only seeing a doctor to get SSRIs as the psychologist has discharged me.

In my jounalling, I realised that I hadn’t cope with grief well and there was a lot of deaths in those 25 years. Lost a student who died on the bus on the way to school, another who died in his sleep. Lost a colleague to suicide. Hand the stillborn of a very dear colleague and helped him with funeral arrangements. Lost a colleague to sudden death post surgery, among many others. It was apparent to the psychologist that I was overwhelmed.

However, my family is here for me. I am still seeking ways to get over this heaviness in my heart. I have tried creative ways but it isn’t helping much.

I want to stop the SSRIs. I want to stop feeling like this. I am exhausting alternatives and I am feeling very exhausted.

The psychiatrist put me on SSRI


Thanks QLT.

I am taking a hiatus from full-time work to give myself more time to get over this. I understand that this will take time.

For solace, I tell my wife what is on my mind. My girls are too young to understand what I am going through.

I did try one group session but it didn’t work out as I realised that the rest of the group members lost their spouse or a parent. Mine was cumulative over work. I didn’t want to detract from their focus.


@Notearsformula you’re a very strong individual and you’re doing the best you can, I really admire you. It’s a wise decision to prioritize your well-being during this challenging time. Your openness with your wife for solace is commendable, and I understand the unique circumstances you face. Take the time you need, and remember to care for yourself. All the best.


Thanks for sharing your story @Notearsformula. You’ve gone through so much, I’m not sure if the average person would have seen so many deaths around them. You’re right that the group counseling may not have been the most relevant one. I wonder if there are other support groups out there for ex-frontliners like yourself (eg SPF or SCDF where they deal with multiple deaths too). Although I think your case is quite unique because you would have formed a relationship with each of these people.

Do you have to continue taking SSRIs even after your hallucinations have stopped?

1 Like

Hi Notearsformula,
I’m Antoinette, CEO of Safe Space and I’m really proud of you for seeking help.
I’m sorry to hear that you’re having a hard time after your ex-colleague has passed and like the rest in this forum, it is absolutely OKAY for men to cry.

A few of our therapists have come together to offer up to 100% free support if you’d like to continue speaking to a professional whilst figuring things out?

Step by step guide to book a private counselling session at Safe Space: How to Book an Appointment | Safe Space™ Help Center

List of Safe Space Promo Code Vouchers: Safe Space - General Promotions.xlsx - Google Sheets

You are not alone; please reach out if you need any help at

1 Like

Hi Jaws.

The doctor has reduced the dosage but I will still need SSRIs to maintain my mood.

Because of all the deaths around me, I constantly think about my own and I have made preparations for my own passing. AMD, LPA and funeral arrangements etc.

Frankly, there was a time I had to stop myself from thinking about suicide. I am against it and I will not act on it but somehow the thoughts do form in my head.

I have promised my wife that I will live for my family. Short of any fatal accidents, I intend to keep that promise.

The SSRIs do help.

1 Like

Thanks so much, Antoinette, for your kind and generous offer. I will explore the option and connect with someone in your team. I am running out of ideas how to lift this heaviness.


Thanks for sharing, @Notearsformula. Actually that’s the most important part right? To have the mental clarity to not act on it. I’m glad you’ve made the promise with your wife and you’re still here.

I know your initial question was to see if there are ways to manage this grief without taking SSRIs. I’m not a doctor so I can’t really advise on the alternatives but actually I wonder if you’ve thought of sharing your story with more people - eg to your teaching community since you’ve taught for 25 years. The hypothesis here is that the more you share your story, the easier it is for you to get over it.

Hi Notearsformula, I think it is perfectly normal for us to think about death, about mortality (our own and others). Death is a part of life, and it is not a topic that most people are comfortable to talk about. But avoiding it doesn’t mean it no longer exists.

I remember when I was barely a teenager, a classmate of mine committed suicide. My schmates and I (we were all in a boys sch) and we all cried at his funeral. I was not close to him, but decades since then I still remember him, still remember his funeral wake. We all moved on but we never forgotten him. 3 months later, a cousin younger than me passed away overnight. Hours before she passed away in the hospital, she was sleeping in my room. I never forgotten either of them.

Since then there have been other deaths I know of, and I don’t forget them either.

We cry because they matter. They matter to us, they left footprints in our hearts. And we mourn and grieve for their loss in our own respective ways.

And you crying/dropping tears doesn’t make you weak. You thinking of your own mortality does not make you weak. On the contrary you are strong because of it, because you are allowing yourself to be emotionally vulnerable and facing the very thing (death) that scares all humanity. That takes strength, that takes emotional courage.

As a fellow human being, maybe you are struggling with how meaningless it seems, or that you are struggling with your own helplessness wondering if you could have done more or done anything at all to save those lives, or perhaps you feel abandoned. I won’t know, but I do know and remember what it is like to feel helpless.

But the challenge… and struggle, is to learn how to live with the sense of helplessness and coming to terms with how some things in life are just simply beyond our control and the only thing sometimes we are left to do, and find ourselves in, is to grieve and remember those who have left this world. Each death will hit us especially those who has left an impact in our lives, and they will forever weigh heavy on our hearts and it’s okay to feel that weight.

But the lives of those who have gone before us have meaning, because they remain in our hearts, long after they are gone.

We are not in this world to save everyone, it is not humanly possible. I hope you will be able to find it in yourself to forgive yourself for the things you thought you could have done, and hold your head up high because you have already done your best.

You miss them in your heart. You wish you could have done more perhaps. Whatever the reasons, talk about them as often as you need to. But know that you are not alone in this world grappling with the senseless ways that death takes people away from us.


Thanks Hope.

You are right. They were a part of my life and they did matter. Some more than others. I do miss them even though outwardly I do not show it. I know my limitations and don’t regret anything that I have no control over. I am not illusioned with the idea that I could have, would have done things differently. Life plays out as it does with every one of us.

Cognitively, I keep telling myself that. Hence, my friends tell me that I am possibly the least likely to be depressed. I can mentally process and accept things and function. I can distract myself with the business of life. But when the quiet comes, when I wake up at night, it’s a different thing. One counsellor said that I have high-functional depression. No one would look at me and think that there’s anything wrong with me. I suspect it has become chronic.

Understanding the big scheme of things doesn’t assuage feelings. Acknowledging the feelings on a mental level isn’t managing the feeling itself. Telling myself that I should be sad is a cognitive act. I need to get out of this vicious circle.

My wife told me that I am too rational and logical and need to be in touch with my feelings. I have been so in control that ironically, it’s reflex now to suppress them.

The weight of losing a life accumulates with every passing. Unfortunately, I know it doesn’t really go away, but with so many before and yet more to come… I am at a loss myself.

1 Like

Unfortunately, staff well-being in schools is about exercise, dieting, digital knowledge or skills and mostly light-hearted positive stuff. Talking about grief is not high on any staff well-being team’s agenda.

1 Like

Yeah that’s true, it’s a heavy topic and not everyone can relate to it immediately. Maybe you’ll need to speak to someone who specializes in grief management / trauma. But your case is also very unique cause it’s cause of work and over the course of so many years. I don’t know of many people in this space but if I find any, I’ll share them with you here.

I can relate to this point because like you, I’m also someone who is overly rational. I’m learning how to let go now and it starts from being able to identify and articulate my feelings to her. Slowly but surely, I think we can get there.

I don’t doubt that you know all that, the whole you know your limitations and all that. But that might possibly be coming from the rational side of you, whereas how you feel about it could be a completely different story.

When my ex-classmate took his life, I wasn’t close to him at all. Rationally I know there was nothing I could have done, and it shouldn’t hit me hard at all since I’m not close to him at all, but yet I still cried at his funeral. And 20++ years since his death, I still remember every scene at his funeral.

I also remember that once upon a time when I was explaining a heart aching situation to my very first boss. He merely listened before remarking to me that everything I had uttered thus far were my thoughts. How do I really feel he asked. I was stunned for a moment because I thought that I was already articulating and explaining how I feel, but it took me that very same moment to realise that I was thinking about how I feel and narrating it, but not feeling how I feel, not in touch with my own feelings. And naturally once I allow myself to feel it fully, the floodgates open.

To feel would mean to fully feel our pain, our grief, our broken heart, our anguish, our loss.

Naturally it will be best for you to do all that in a safe environment with say a counselor/therapist.

In your very first post in the thread, you already asked, how does one manage grief without tears. Personally I think the answer is it is not really possible. If the people you lost matter that much to you, you will feel pain. And if it hurts that much, it’s normal to cry, normal to tear up. I cannot undo the countless times you have been told by others that men don’t cry.

I can only tell you that my dad cried when my grandmother passed away. My uncles cried. My ex-classmates (boys sch) all cried when our classmate passed away. I cried (more often than I can count) at various points of my life. I don’t see myself or any of them as less of a man.

Their tears, their pain, their anguish, show me that the people they lost matter to them. There is no shame in tears.

Nobody can grant you permission to cry and feel your pain except yourself.

1 Like

Dear Hope,

I would love to cry at funerals. Problem is I can’t. I don’t know why. I just simply don’t. It is not for the fear of being seen as weak or unmanly. I just simply can’t. I have never cried at funerals. That is my problem. I wish I could. Then things wouldn’t have come to this. I wish I cried at all the funerals I have attended. It would have been much better than to be where I am now. On a few occasions, I even hugged my friends who are crying at funerals I attend. I wish I could cry with them. It just doesn’t happen.

I held my colleagues stillborn in my hands one night at the hospital. I was the only one they called. My colleague and his wife were crying for their loss. I stood there with them, holding their boy, I wanted so badly to cry. In the end I didn’t. They are still my friends because I was there for them. I didn’t even try to console them, something that they are grateful for till this day. I just stood with them quietly as they cried and said a prayer for the boy and for them. Not a single tear despite my wanting to do so.

Am I broken? Is there something wrong with me? If crying makes the pain go away, then I can always cause pain to myself and cry. If that is all it takes. Will hurting me heal me?

I am against self-harm. I have told my students never to hurt themselves. I intend to walk the talk. Hence, my asking for help. If the solution is so simple as to force myself to cry, why am I agonising over it? An iron to the arm? A blade to the wrist? I have seen enough to know what causes hurt and bring out the tears. I have a close friend who put an iron on his arm just to see which hurt more, his broken heart or the pain from the iron. I have 6 girls in one class who have cut themselves, first on their arms then moved to their thighs where it can’t be seen. They were victims of bullying. I sent them for counselling. I have seen enough to know that self-harm and crying because of the pain doesn’t solve problems.

Please help. I am not trying to be difficult. I am hoping to find a way out of this heaviness of death and loss that I can’t seem to lift.

1 Like

Hi @Notearsformula

I’m really sorry to hear about all the loses you’ve experienced in your life. It definitely sounds overwhelming.

I can relate to the part where you cannot cry, it definitely can be frustrating cause crying is known to help bring relief. However my psychologist would say that you can’t force something, it has to come naturally and hence if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.

I know you’ve sought a lot of professional help but not sure if you’ve ever saw a therapist that focuses on grief or did grief work, not sure if you’ve heard or explored the stages of grieve.

The process of grieving is never linear, you can go back and forth multiple times through the stages.

I wish I could help but I don’t know how to but all I can say is I wish you all the best in this journey. I would say what has helped me in my grief journey is to talk about my grief, talk about my emotions and this is kinda unique but I’m someone that finds it very hard to express my emotions and feelings so I’d like to visit the fragment room (, I’d imagine that whatever I was hitting was all my bottled up emotions and feelings and it’s a way for me to feel like I’m releasing all these bottled up emotions and feelings.

Take care

1 Like

Hi Marshmallow.yoghurt.

Thanks for sharing. The psychologist who attended to me did tell me about the stage of grief and mentioned that it is non-linear. I have gone through most of them with every passing and as you correctly mentioned, not all. Rarely the anger and bargaining. Talking to counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists did help me sort out what was troubling me in my head, journalling, medication all helped here and there. Talking about it to them did feel good. And they were able to label some things that I was thinking and feeling.

Like most people, I do have feelings for every student, teacher or friend who passes away. It does well up to a point. I admit I feel sad. I admit that I feel lost. For all that I feel, it just simply doesn’t translate to tears. If tears are critical, I need a solution. I have watchd depressing movies, think depressing thoughts, attempting to cry. All failed. Reflex kicked in and it stops before it comes out.

Thanks for the suggestion of the fragment room. I did read about it a long while back and I think it might help to vent all the growing frustration that I have over this.