Melissa has a question that brings tears to her eyes. "What happens to our body, to our chemicals, that sends that message to our brain that [says], 'Okay, you're going to cry?'" she says. "I cry all the time… I cannot control it. I am very self-conscious about this."
Crying is normal, Dr. Oz says. In fact, if you've ever started crying when you see someone else cry, that means your mirror neurons were at work. "They're technically called mirror neurons because when you cry, I see that, and I feel your pain, and I want to do something about it," he says. "That cathartic process is hugely beneficial for us."
Hormones also affect how often someone cries—for example, boys and girls both cry regularly until adolescence. "Little girls continue crying about once a week or so. … Little boys, once a month at most, and so we know estrogen is a big part of it," he says. "Prolactin, which is the hormone that you use to make your breasts start to lactate, is also, we think, linked to tears. When you cry, you cry out some of these hormones and some minerals as well."
Crying can also be a symptom of emotional wounds that need to heal. "If there is something deep down inside of you bothering you that you're suppressing, you will obsess [over] it," he says. "It will come back over and over again to come up."
Melissa wants to know why she couldn't cry when she got terrible news. "You can also be so sad you can't cry," Dr. Oz says. "You just go past what's deal-able until your normal system short-circuits."