“I’m Fine”. It’s our automatic response when people ask “How are you doing?”. We are so conditioned to the idea that “How are you doing?” is just a formality and no one really wants to know how we are doing. But, some people really do care and really do want to know how we are doing. I am constantly reminding myself of this, reminding myself to think about who it is that is asking the question and the context it’s being asked in.
Some people, my husband, my mom and a few close friends really do mean it. They know that most of the time I don’t feel well, and when they ask how I’m doing it’s because they really want to know if I’m doing ok, or if I’m not feeling well. Even with my husband at times I forget that, and my auto-response takes over. I have to edit my answer: “I’m fine…(as I think in my head, “oh wait, this is my husband he really wants to know”)… well, not really”.
We’ve learned the hard way how important it is to be honest about just how I am feeling (or how he’s feeling for that matter). After a bout of me being sick where I got tired of hearing about it, I stopped talking about it. It got to the point where he was creating ways to figure out how I really felt; he learned how to tell from something as simple as my response to him saying “Hi” how I was feeling. It was months later before we really stopped to talk about it (after I was feeling better) and realize that we’d stopped talking altogether. Because of this, we make all the more effort to be honest about how we are doing now; not just how I’m feeling physically, but how he’s doing mentally, because his state of mind is just as important.