When someone asks, “How are you?” do you answer honestly?
This question is often thrown around as a casual greeting, so much so that we default to “I’m good!” or “I’m fine!” — even with our closest friends and family. And while we’re maybe less hesitant to open up about a stomach ache or that we’ve come down with the flu, our true emotional state can feel like a dirty secret — we don’t want to give it up.
So we asked our Mighty community — people who experience disability, disease, mental illness, parent children with special needs and more — how they’re really doing. What we got was a collection of honest, inspiring and heartbreaking answers.
How are you?
1. “I’m worried. All the time. It never ends. That’s not to say I don’t feel joy. I do all the time. But that undercurrent of worry is omnipresent.” — Cheryl Soltero Egher
2. “Life raising two disabled children is hard. Sometimes I get discouraged.” — Nicki Barnes Scott
3. “I’d love to say I’m rock solid, calm, hopeful and confident at all times. More often, I’m tired, anxious and swayed by the slightest changes. And sometimes — well, usually, actually — I’m all of the above.” — Ali Foley Shenk
4. “I always say ‘good.’ The truth? Most often hanging by a thread.” — Tricia Klein
5. “I miss my mom and I can’t imagine spending decades without her.” — Carrie Giesinger
6. “I’m struggling. I’m letting anxiety and fear get the better of me. I’m letting people’s negative words and emotions affect me to a point where I had a meltdown. I am not trusting the positive words of people who matter, yet am trusting the negative words of people who don’t. So I’m struggling.” — Julianne Leow
7. “Exhausted and happy.” — Melissa Ellen
8. “If there is a word that means more than exhausted, that is the word to describe how I am.” — Leslie Da Lie
9. “Today I feel guilty.” — Erika Woolfolk-Wiley
10. “I have many great moments in the day, but my mind is a whirlpool of anixety that I constantly try to keep at bay.” — Jessica Ann Hardy
11. “‘Fine’ is my normal answer. The truth? I can’t hear what you are saying. My mind is moving too fast with all my obsessive thoughts. I am trying to hear you and have a conversation but I can’t. Too many what ifs floating around in my brain.” — Kerri Lewis Brock
12. “I am becoming well. I am fighting. I am slowly winning the war against my own mind. I am stronger than I was before. How are you?” — Harmony Rose Rogers
13. “Still alive, tired and proud. My son just turned 21 today. I never imagined we would’ve made it this far.” — Jennifer Sue Bourbon
14. “I’m 25. But I don’t feel 25.” — Brittani June B
15. “Truthfully, I’m happy to be alive. I could be tired and grumpy later, but I’m alive.” — Astrid Pianto
16. “Trying not to think about what it’s going to be like when my son is too big for me to take care of, or when I’m too old to do it.” — Anita Soto Russell
17. “I’m different than I ever thought I’d be. I’m more patient than is humanly possible. I’m more hopeful than the younger me would have dared to feel, looking on from afar. I’m new.” — Maxine Sinda Napal
18. “Good! I try to see the blessings in each day. Some days are harder than others. Tomorrow might be totally different. But today when I say ‘good’ I mean it.” — Justine Peets
19. “Drained. That’s all I can say.” — Sarah Anne Robinson
20. “I have pain, both physical and emotional, every day. More often than not, getting out of bed is a tremendous struggle.” — Julie Gault
21. “Actually, I’m feeling kinda yucky today.” — Lindsay Ballard
22. “Scared.” — Laura Reed
23. “Worn. I’m worn out with happiness, worry, sleeplessness and pride.” — Tatiana Tran
24. “Surviving. Putting in all the energy and effort I have to do the things I have to do, so I can do some of the things I want to do.” — Irina Greenman
25. “Grateful the intrusive thoughts that give me anxiety haven’t started yet this morning. I got going late and that’s usually a trigger, but I’m feeling comfortable in my skin so far today.” — KeriAnn Hollerud
26. “Today I am great! The sun is shining, my children were happy, loving and excited to go to school. A week ago, I was not great.” — Nicole Schultz-Kass
27. “I am surviving. Little by little. Good days and bad blur together in an endless haze. I’m too tired to really process the question anyway, so the truth is I am surviving — one day at a time.” — Pamela Zesotarski
28. “I’m holding on!” — Kathy Fett Schulz
29. “I’m not doing well, but not many people know it.” — Emma Wozny
30. “So many feelings, all at once. I’m worried. I’m thankful. I feel fortunate.” — Michelle A Schwindler
31. “I’m not fine. But I will be.” — Marie Rossi
*Answers have been edited and shortened for brevity.