13 Things I Actually Mean When I Say 'I'm Fine'

I survive every day with chronic pain, depression and embarrassing side effects from polycystic ovarian syndrome. I am continuing to survive after years of no relief. My go-to answer when people ask how I’m doing is “I’m fine.” Those few words can hold many different definitions all at the same time. Here are some of my favorites.

1. The pain is bad, but I can’t find the words to describe it — “I’m fine.”

2. The pain is so bad I don’t want you to know about it — “I’m fine.”

3. I’m literally doing OK  — “I’m fine.”

4. There are no words to describe my emotions — “I’m fine.”

5. I’m happy and I know it — “I’m fine.”

6. Whatever is going on, I’m too embarrassed to say — “I’m fine.”

7. I’m sick and tired of not having a solution — “I’m fine.”

8. I’m falling asleep while at work — “I’m fine.”

9. When my co-workers sincerely ask how I’m doing and I don’t want to appear weak — “I’m fine.”

10. When my family asks how I’m doing and I have no idea where to start — “I’m fine.”

11. When my sweet, 80-year-old grandma asks how I’m doing and I can’t lie, but I don’t want to make her concerned — “I’m fine.”

12. When my boyfriend holds me in an amazing, embracing hug, but it hurts to be touched — “I’m fine.”

13. When my boss asks me to work additional hours to cover someone, but it’s already been a long, painful week — “I’m fine.”

No matter how many definitions there can be for “I’m fine,” I’m still glad people ask. “I’m fine” has become my mantra. That no matter how hard or painful it gets, I have survived this long and “I’m fine.” It can give my family a sense of reassurance, which makes me feel better knowing my family doesn’t have to worry but can still support me when I’m fine.

Image via Thinkstock.

A version of this post originally appeared on Always Searching for Answers.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Chronic Pain

person painting with watercolors on blue wooden table

3 Ways I Distract Myself From Chronic Pain

Pain is probably the symptom that affects my life the most. I am always in pain; everyday I wake up with pain in some part of my body and every night I go to sleep practically writhing in pain. Pain is what limits me and keeps me from doing a lot of things that I would love [...]
black and white photo of man holding his fingers over his nose

An A-to-Z of Living With Chronic Pain

I have lived with chronic pain for many years and I know how debilitating it is. It’s not an easy life, but somehow I get through it, mostly with a smile on my face. For the last few years I have been very involved in support groups for disabilities and pain conditions. A few nights [...]
image of benedict cumberbatch in doctor strange movie

What 'Doctor Strange' Gets Right About Chronic Pain

I’m in love with Benedict Cumberbatch. Let’s just get that out of the way right off the bat. In truth, it’s hard not to fall for the actor known for his roles in “Sherlock,” “The Imitation Game,” and now Marvel’s “Doctor Strange.” I mean, have you seen his eyes? His hands? And, have you heard [...]

Why I Started a 'Pain Diary' (and Why I Think You Should, Too)

What is a pain diary? A pain diary is used to monitor levels of pain over a long period of time and collect data on possible triggers for that pain. It might sound very clinical and scientific, but — think about it! If you have a pain condition that changes over weeks or months — [...]