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When You Really Don't Know How You're Feeling

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I really don’t know how I am feeling.

It’s a hard concept to understand. Not knowing how you really feel. Not knowing what emotion you are experiencing or have recently felt.

I know it is really difficult to understand, but it’s true. I really don’t know how I am feeling. There are often times when family members or friends want to know how I am, but I will honestly not know. It is at times like these when I reach for the safety blanket of “I’m fine thanks.” It’s easier than trying desperately to explain you have no idea how you are feeling. You’re in limbo. Not good not bad. Not happy not sad!

I really don’t know how I am feeling.

I have on occasion attempted to reveal this mixed-up feeling to people who have asked and I am usually met with blank stares or nervous laughs. The exception being those close friends of mine who also struggle with mental health issues. They understand instantly.

I guess that brings me to now. Right now, when I really have no idea how I am feeling, I keep telling everyone I am OK. However, if I’m honest, I’m not really sure I am. I’m not feeling “bad” — I know that much — but I’m not convinced I’m “good” either.

I’m feeling worried, anxious, panicky and a little stressed. Overthinking takes over most of my days and nights. Left to my own devices, I am daydreaming of the past, the future and stressing over every mistake or silly thing I have ever said or done. I’m finding it extremely difficult to concentrate or get the motivation to do anything.

Does this mean I am heading back down again? Down to the darkest depths I cannot be rescued from? Does it mean this was all a cruel trick and I am not actually getting better and never will?

Or does it simply mean I am going through a tough period of my illness? Is it something that will pass if I remain strong and fight my very hardest?

I really don’t know how I am feeling.

I expect the latter is the correct answer but it’s still extremely hard. This constant voice is telling me this is all a cruel trick and I am never really going to get better.

As I said before, it’s so so difficult to describe to people – even the most understanding of family members and friends. I suppose it may seem like I am lying. And I suppose in one way I am, but unless you live this I don’t think you will ever really understand how awful it feels.

For those of you who ask a friend or family member and receive the answer of “I’m OK” “I’m fine” or “I’m just tired,” I encourage you to dig a little deeper. This answer may not reflect the whole story. Ask them if they are sure they’re really OK. Let them know they can be honest with you and please know you don’t have to fix them. Just listening and trying your hardest to understand will mean the world to that person struggling.

For me, this is open post to let you know if you are having confused feelings, it’s OK. You are not alone. I have them too. I’m having them right now. But I am determined to keep talking and spreading awareness so there will be a time when we no longer have to be scared of the reaction of others when we are open and honest about our mixed-up, confusing feelings.

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Thinkstock photo via Archv.

Originally published: February 22, 2017
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