Saturday, May 12, 2018

When I'm Asked How I'm Doing


When you have a chronic illness, sometimes it's hard to know how to answer when asked how you're doing. The odds are, we're not doing very well. We have daily symptoms we're contending with and most of the time we don't feel well but we don't want to admit that to others. We question the sincerity of the question and what is considered to be too much information when we answer. So we lie usually instead of answering the truth - the truth being that we aren't doing well.

I always question does someone really want the truth or just the brief, expected answer so that conversation can move along. I rarely answer honestly. I entered the habit of answering "okay" or "good" even though it was a lie. I was tolerating the moment even though internally, I felt like death warmed over.

I became tired of answering with a lie and a superficial glancing over my daily health. I wanted a more sincere answer but I also didn't want to dwell on the answer, particularly if my well being is only being sought after on a superficial level, out of societal nicities. I hate the looks of pity when I answer with a truthful "I'm doing horrible" type of answer.

I tried out different answers that felt genuine for me but none felt right. To say I'm functioning is true but it invites additional questioning and feelings of pity I thought. I'm alive didn't work well either for me. I finally settled on "I'm hanging in".

I'm hanging in provides a truthful answer without the invite for pity from others. It allows for further conversation but doesn't require additional questioning. It's clear and to the point - I'm managing but I could be doing better but I'm not worse either.

How do you answer others when asked how you're doing? What have you found works best for you? Share with me.

10 comments:

  1. i usually say something like im good or doing pretty good, which then leads to the person asking to say good to hear and that ends the conversation. now to those who truly want to know which for me are very few and far between i will say what you do im hanging in. which lets them know that i am ok but could be better

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    1. Whenever I say "I'm ok" which is typically my standard reply, those that I'm around a fair amount call me out on it so I found this to cut out the whole process quickly and effectively. But just superficial encounters, I tend to stick "ok" like your "good".

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  2. I gloss over it because sometimes I don't feel like going into it and I know most of the time they don't actually want to know, so I go for "OK". Also, I increasingly feel private about it. But if it's someone close who actually cares I will be honest. My husband tried being honest to everyone but it was too hard. Now he skips it all together and just says hi back. Nobody seems to notice! Lowen @ livingpositivelywithdisability.com

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    1. I use ok with superficial encounters on the odd chance I have them but I tend to get called out if I use ok with those I'm around most. When it's superficial, no one seems to notice or really care

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  3. For my own sake I don't like lying, and yet I also don't want to make the other person feel sorry for me/uncomfortable for asking. But there are definitely ways to get across that not all is well without saying so outright. "I'm hanging in" is also my go-to bc it gives the idea that things aren't easy but I'm managing, which has been my normal for the last several months. When I'm feeling worse, I'll say "I've been better... But I've also been worse," bc it's true and it ends on something of a bright(er) note. "Not great", "managing" and "Eh" are my codes for not feeling/doing well, and only those closest to me (or those also with chronic illnesses) get any more specific details, unless I'm specifically asked.

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    1. I try not to illicit pity from others too. It's harder to hide the truth from those we're around the most

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    2. Excellent conversation here, everyone! Good food for thought on going beyond pat answers. If I am on the other end (the inquiring side), and I am not just saying empty words, but I am GENUINELY INTERESTED, I will ask in a way which invites o e with an opportunity to be honest, if that's okay with the other person. Perhaps asking "I'm interested with how you're experiencing your current situation now with daily challenges - what's it like for you?" How we really are with someone speaks more universally loudly and clearly than any words do. Many (most?) people are unaware of how to really be genuine. Dialogue that is genuine is healing i many ways for both sides.

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    3. That's a great idea to phrase our inquiry a different way to let the other person realize our genuine interest in more than a superficial encounter. I think you're unfortunately correct about a lot of people not knowing how to truly genuine in their interactions with others.

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  4. I just tried a new one the other day, "Not too horrible"..."pretty good" also seems to work.

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    1. I like Not too horrible. I feel like I'm flat out lying when I say pretty good most of the time. I'll remember the not too horrible though!

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