Why I Don't Like Answering the Question 'What Did You Do Today?'

“What did you do today?”

Survived. I survived.

“Um… well, not much, really.”

I hate this question with a burning passion. I feel like people, even someone as well meaning as my boyfriend, expect some sort of productive or interesting response. When, really, I can’t even begin to tell them what I went through today. Even on my good days, it can be hell.

Today I spent most of my time with my nose stuck between the pages of a bipolar II self- help book. You can’t just say that to someone casually. There’s a stigma around self-help books society has painted as “pathetic.” Truth is, it’s not pathetic. It’s actually really brave to look at yourself and say, something needs to change.

What else did I do today? I painted a little bit. It helps me relax when my mind is too much. I cleaned my patio and I wrote a blog post. It’s about 3 p.m. so I have plans to clean the rest of my apartment, but knowing me, the kitchen will be done and nothing else touched. Oh, I did yoga today and I’ve taken my dog on a couple walks as well so, there’s that.

I do the same thing pretty much every day. I don’t currently have a job as I am unreliable in my current state of mental health. Right now, I’m in recovery, I’m my “normal” self. But with bipolar II disorder, who the hell knows how long this’ll last? I could fall into a depressive episode tonight or tomorrow and be completely useless. Can I just work from home already? So on days when it’s too much, I don’t have to cry to my boss asking for the day off? If only.

Truth is, I did a lot today. I’m worn out. I’m alive. I’ve had very mild depression today, but enough to keep me from being able to clean. It’s been hard to keep myself going. The fight is bad enough without any added expectations. I still have to go to the pharmacy today. It’s not even a five minute drive and I still can’t see how it’ll be possible for me to do it alone.

So, today when my boyfriend asks me what I did, just after he tells me about his day at work, I’ll be honest. I’ll tell him I survived. I’ll tell him about the self-help book and the cleaning. I’ll tell him how hard it was to tackle going to the pharmacy. The only way he’ll understand is if I’m honest with him. Instead of another, “Oh, not much.”

Take each day as it comes. Handle only the moments you are given. It doesn’t matter if all you can do is lay in bed. Do what you can to make sure you survive today. The world needs you. Someone needs you. You need you.

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