Tears, fears and tissues: The 5 types of Covid-19 crying we're all by now familiar with

It goes without saying that most of us have had a little cry during this crisis – here are the five main types

I can feel them before I see them.

My eyes twitch and then the burning starts somewhere around my cheeks. This sensation doesn't run, it sprints. The tension builds and builds until the dam bursts.

And then they fall.


Hot sticky tears dripping down my face and my neck. I wail and I heave and I shake. My family walks around me on tiptoes offering tissues and saying "would you ever cop on?"

And then it stops.

Just as quickly as they come, they go, and I feel better.

During this pandemic, we have talked about it all. Sickness, death, recovery, economy, bad dreams, relationships, and anything else in Pandora's box. However, we haven't talked about crying.

The five types

Truth be told, I love a good cry. Whatever the subject matter – whether it's happy or sad – I will sob. This is a prime time to bawl your eyes out. We are being offered saltwater in a golden chalice and I think it is only right that we let the water overflow.

So much shame lies around tears and what they mean. There are hidden psychological signs that we must pick up on. Why don't we look at crying as an excellent way to release pent-up emotions? As women, we are often seen as hysterical when we tear up – but I think it's a strength when it is handled correctly.


Now, I don't advise spending your days crying in your loungewear and listening to 'Bridge Over Troubled Water', but if you feel them coming, give them life.

It goes without saying we are having a tough time of it. Many of us will have cried or are on the verge of it. It can be for a myriad of reasons, but five particular instances come to mind.

The 'Tony Holohan' cry

Beyonce's sister Solange released a song called T.O.N.Y in 2008. I think Solange knew at the time of writing that a saviour named Tony was coming to save Ireland in 2020. If you don't believe me, then read the lyrics. At one point she warbles, "I wish I could take my mind off him but I really like Tony... And he wasn't just some regular guy."

Is this not a representation of the collective Irish consciousness?

Then she says, "I could've been in love by now if it weren't for Tony."


Sure hasn't he basically put a stop to fornicating?

Any time I see Tony Holohan on television I want to cry. This flush of emotion usually takes place any time the news is on. The day he had to go to the hospital, I thought I would be in A&E beside him – such is the strength of my devotion. These tears are a mix of adoration, pride and fear. When Tony tells me to flatten the curve, I'll do it.

To be honest, I'd flatten tarmac for Tony at this stage.

The 'when is this actually going to end' cry

This crack happens when you have been looking at your partner or your dog for too long. You love them indefinitely, but you like the idea of staring at someone else's face for an hour. Then Claire Byrne is broadcasting from her shed or there's a bad Skype connection on a televised interview and you seriously think about shoving the TV into a skip. Later, you look in the mirror before bed, and your roots are nearing your shoulders, and your eyebrows are growing their own continent on your forehead – cue the waterworks.

The 'I don't know these people' cry

A very basic but essential cry. Our social media feeds are bombarded with videos of people we don't know. Some of them are heartbreaking and show the darkest depths of what it means to be a human. Yet, others are joyful. These clips are of people recovering, dancing, playing guitar, making lasagne and going to Tesco. You don't have a notion of who any of them are, but that doesn't stop the wails. They seem like lovely people.


This usually occurs at 9 pm after a glass of wine.

The 'isn't technology great' cry

Emotions overtook me last Saturday as my extended family contested their first quiz over Zoom. We all drank too much and ended it with a sing-song. Describing it as a sing-song is a stretch, as truthfully we shouted at each other while butchering 'Grace'The next day my parents kept saying "isn't technology great?" at random intervals. Then I started saying "isn't technology great?" to the dog but he just looked behind me.

All jokes aside, technology is wonderful. I had not seen my aunts, uncles and cousins in weeks. It was truly gladdening to socialise with them, though we were not physically together. Family is the centre of everything. Not being able to experience them is hard but Zoom, Skype and Houseparty help.

A truly valid reason to let tears tumble.

The 'I'm really panicking' cry

This type is universal. These tears are justified and should never be shed with guilt. Times are challenging and each of us is struggling. Whether it's about worry for family and friends or anxiety over money or a job – it is ok to cry. We are fragile beings and though we may want to appear tough on the outside, it doesn't help to hold it in. Get the tissues and let it out.


Tomorrow is a new day.

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