Ask me how I am.
Ask me in a way that genuinely makes me feel like you want me to answer truthfully. I know you probably won’t. I know it’s not because you don’t care about me. It isn’t because you don’t worry about me sometimes. But if you’re honest with yourself, it’s because you probably don’t really want to deal with it.
If you do ask me how I am, you may be hopeful you’ll receive the, “I’m fine, how are you?” standard stiff-upper-lip response because you don’t want to know that this morning, I sobbed in my car on the way to work. You don’t want to know I’m angry because of the experiences I have had in the last few months in an abusive relationship that I’m struggling to process. You don’t want to know I’m also ashamed of what happened to me. You don’t want to know I still feel suicidal sometimes. You don’t want to know I had an anxiety attack at work the other day and had to run upstairs to an empty office so I could stifle my sobs, and it took 20 minutes to pull myself together.
I get it, OK? I know it’s really difficult to speak to someone in pain. You have your own stuff going on. You’ve got a million and one things to remember. You’re dealing with your own crap. And I don’t want to add to that, I truly don’t. I understand that sometimes all you can do is deal with your own life. You get blinkered.
But… dealing with depression, anxiety, etc., — that’s hard too. And while I don’t want to burden you, sometimes I do really need to talk. I don’t like reaching out. It makes me feel uncomfortable, and I really don’t want to take up your time with my troubles. But, once in a while, if you can, please ask me how I am. Ask me if I’m coping. Please make me feel as though you genuinely want me to talk to you. And please be prepared for the response not to be “I’m fine.” Because sometimes, I’m not.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.