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13 Things I Actually Mean When I Say 'I'm Fine'

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I survive every day with chronic pain, depression and embarrassing side effects from polycystic ovarian syndrome. I am continuing to survive after years of no relief. My go-to answer when people ask how I’m doing is “I’m fine.” Those few words can hold many different definitions all at the same time. Here are some of my favorites.

1. The pain is bad, but I can’t find the words to describe it — “I’m fine.”

2. The pain is so bad I don’t want you to know about it — “I’m fine.”

3. I’m literally doing OK  — “I’m fine.”

4. There are no words to describe my emotions — “I’m fine.”

5. I’m happy and I know it — “I’m fine.”

6. Whatever is going on, I’m too embarrassed to say — “I’m fine.”

7. I’m sick and tired of not having a solution — “I’m fine.”

8. I’m falling asleep while at work — “I’m fine.”

9. When my co-workers sincerely ask how I’m doing and I don’t want to appear weak — “I’m fine.”

10. When my family asks how I’m doing and I have no idea where to start — “I’m fine.”

11. When my sweet, 80-year-old grandma asks how I’m doing and I can’t lie, but I don’t want to make her concerned — “I’m fine.”

12. When my boyfriend holds me in an amazing, embracing hug, but it hurts to be touched — “I’m fine.”

13. When my boss asks me to work additional hours to cover someone, but it’s already been a long, painful week — “I’m fine.”

No matter how many definitions there can be for “I’m fine,” I’m still glad people ask. “I’m fine” has become my mantra. That no matter how hard or painful it gets, I have survived this long and “I’m fine.” It can give my family a sense of reassurance, which makes me feel better knowing my family doesn’t have to worry but can still support me when I’m fine.

Image via Thinkstock.

A version of this post originally appeared on Always Searching for Answers.

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Originally published: November 22, 2016
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