When Your Answer to ‘How Are You Feeling?’ Is ‘I Don’t Know’

It’s OK to say, “I don’t know.”

I was diagnosed with postpartum depression after my son was born almost 10 years ago. From there I have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, multiple anxiety disorders, panic disorder and bipolar with psychosis. And most days I don’t know how I feel.

If you ask me at 9 a.m., I might feel sad and depressed. At 1 p.m., I might feel content. At 6 p.m., I might feel agitated. At 2 a.m., I might feel extremely anxious. Between all that, I have probably laughed, and I’ve probably had a panic attack.

I don’t know how I feel.

Friends usually do not understand that, especially after so many years have passed. They seem to think I should have figured it out. I seem to think I should have figured it out by now.

I have had therapists and psychologists who have seemed puzzled when they ask how I feel and I say I don’t know. They have questioned my answer. I’m puzzled by them. In the five minutes I’ve been sitting in their office, I have felt so many different emotions, and my racing thoughts have given me what seems to be a million different thoughts. I really don’t know what I’m feeling.

But it’s different now. I started seeing a new therapist this year. And when she asks me how I’m doing, I can say I don’t know. She’ll smile at me and say that’s fair enough. She knows so much is going on in my head, I don’t have just one answer. I can feel happy, sad, anxious, irritable, hopeless and hopeful all at the same time. And that is OK.

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

Image via Thinkstock Images

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

Related to Mental Health

three friends sitting on a dock overlooking a lake and mountains

What I'd Like to Hear Instead of 'You'll Be Fine' When I Ask for Help With My Mental Health

I’m not a fan of the phrases ”You’ll get there” or “You’ll be fine.” It’s hard enough to muster up what little courage I have to say, “OK, I can’t do this on my own,” and then go to someone who I think will understand, and it frustrates me when all they can say is, “You’ll [...]
a woman sitting against a wall

When You’re the Stranger in the House at Thanksgiving Dinner

Imagine standing in a room, filled with joy, laughter and chatter, and all you feel is an overwhelming loneliness engulf you. Imagine looking out at the people you love and having tears well up in your eyes. I stood in the corner of the room, slicing pie and keeping my hands busy, playing and petting [...]
shadow of a woman

10 Things People Should Know Now That I'm Back From Mental Health Treatment

I recently went into treatment for suicidal ideation, some “eating issues” and for some mood related issues. When I got out of rehab and was actually able to come home, I was diagnosed with an eating disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder and a lot more. However, just because I was totally recovery-focused and [...]
a sketch of a group of people hugging a shark

5 Relatable Instagram Accounts to Follow If You Have a Mental Illness

Dealing with mental illness every day is difficult, but seeing other people going through the same thing makes me feel better, especially when illustrated in humorous ways. Here are five Instagram accounts I follow where comic writers and artists illustrate daily struggles with mental illness. 1. @rubyetc_ This illustrator from London manages to illustrate familiar [...]