10 Honest Text Responses to 'How Are You?' From Someone With Invisible Illness
Every time I am asked, no matter the medium, ‘How are you?’ I freeze. I start running through the list of qualifying questions in my head to decide how honest I should be in my reply. Straight up? White lie? Semi-truthful?
How close am I to this person? Are they having a good day? Are they asking just to be nice? Do they really want to know? Do they know about my mental illnesses? How much do they know of my chronic pain? Have they responded well in the past to my disclosures of pain? The list of questions can be endless.
When struggling with a variety of invisible illnesses and mental health issues, the simple question gets blown to extreme proportions. The question poses endless possibilities; I could answer more honestly and vulnerably and enhance my relationship with them, or, I could fib and keep myself and my feelings at arm’s length.
Often if the question is over text, I sit staring at my phone for minutes trying to figure out my answer. Almost always, I cave. I respond with, “I’m fine, how about you?” or “Not bad, you?” making sure to quickly turn the conversation to them.
However, each time that question is asked, it’s an opportunity to do things differently. It’s an opportunity to be more transparent, more honest. It’s an opportunity to be closer to those around you, an opportunity to raise awareness for your disability, disease, diagnosis, etc. It’s an opportunity to get support that you may need.
Here are 10 real texts I could have sent during the last week:
Honest, straight to the point. The precise opposite of how I typically answer. Why not respond truthfully, then ask for the support you need?
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