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I Wish My Loved Ones Would Ask Me, ‘How Are You Really Doing?’

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The question, “How am I doing?” is often hard for me to answer as a person with multiple chronic illnesses. I struggle with being honest when I’m asked this question, and I usually tend to reply with just a surface answer to avoid judgment or pity.

Unfortunately, I often tend to just answer this question with “I’m alive so I guess I am OK.” I fear people may not be able to handle the truth, or I don’t want my loved ones to feel bad knowing I’m in so much pain. I don’t think people would know what to say if I really told them how I was feeling.

I would love nothing more than to have a friend or a loved one to just hold my hand and say, “No, how are you really doing,” after I blurt out my usual answer. We tend to hold all of these feelings to ourselves, but in reality, we would love nothing more than to have a real heart-to-heart conversation with a friend to release the emotions that come along with how we’re really feeling.

There seems to be such a lack of empathy in the world that it can make it scary to have these real conversations with even friends and family. There is a big difference between empathy and pity, and trust me when I say the last thing we are seeking is pity. Empathy comes in the way of being able to understand how we’re feeling without placing judgment. This is what we are striving for — someone to be an empathic listening ear and to just be there for comfort.

Sometimes a friend or loved one may not know what to say and that’s OK. No words are needed. Just to be a listening ear and to care enough to ask how we’re truly doing is perfect enough! These types of conversations can not only do wonders for your mental well-being, but it also brings a deeper connection between you and your loved one or friends.

These conversations — as hard as they may be — also help bring awareness to our diseases by letting people into our lives. 

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

Originally published: August 9, 2016
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