It’s such a loaded question. It makes you think, how am I actually doing? Or, what are you going to tell this person? What you think they want to hear or maybe you can actually tell them how you actually are. It depends on the person, but it also depends on you.
For me, I always take the safe route and just say that “I’m fine”, or if it’s my dad, I just kind of make noises like “eh. meh.” and he understands. But, when is the right time to open up and say, “No, I’m not doing okay.”? I can’t answer that for anyone else, but I’ve learned to pick and choose who I say what to. I feel like there are some people who need to know, some people I actually want to know, then there’s people who don’t need to know or maybe even don’t deserve to know. It’s something that really needs to be contemplated though, I mean, that’s what I think anyway. Like, who in your life do you feel like you can turn to and tell them that you are not okay. Who do you reach out to? Who do you feel safe with?
Answering that question can leave you very exposed, because there are so many variables that go into the answer, but you have a split second to answer. So, what do you do? How do you answer? Are you really doing “fine”? You’ll know, but depending on what other people say, you decide on what you’re going to say. I feel like this issue runs through everyone’s head when the question is asked.
If you have mental illness, it make take a lot out of you to answer the question truthfully, you may be on autopilot and say a very basic, vague answer. Like I said, there are a lot of variables. Your comfort level with the person, the setting, the situation. It’s like you have to run through the five W’s (Who, What, When, Where, and Why) before you can answer the question.
I was thinking about this the other day, how I wish I wasn’t bipolar, how I wish I was “normal”, how I wish I didn’t have anxiety. Because I hate all those things, and they’re things I want to say when people ask how I’m doing, but I would never say those things. So, it’s something I have to deal with everyday of my life, I have to fight through and deal with it. Be stronger everyday. It’s not easy though. Some days when someone asks, you just want to beak down and cry and say that you are not okay. But, you’ll put on a brave face and a smile and say that everything is just peachy.
It’s not easy and it sure as hell isn’t fair, but it’s something that we always have to deal with, mental illness or not, people have bad days. Not everyone is hiding something, but some are. Life is just what it is. So next time someone asks how you’re doing, take an extra tenth of a second to think, reflect, how am I doing? Am I sugar coating it for this person? If I don’t, will they understand?
If you need validation for telling someone that you’re okay when you’re not, it’s here. I mean, find someone you trust and feel comfortable with and tell them, but you don’t have to tell someone in passing or someone you don’t see often how you’re actually doing.