The Mighty Logo

The Don't Ask (How I Am), Don't Tell Policy of Mental Illness

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

“How are you?”

This is the question people ask but don’t really want to know.

Responses should only be short and upbeat.

“I am good!”

“How are you?”

That question is supposed to be met with a much deeper expression than a surface-level response has to offer.

I’m fed up putting on a fake smile and saying I’m “good” or “OK” or “just fine.” 

But at the same time, I don’t want to burden people with how I really feel.

For me this means constantly living in a state of anxiety, fighting waves of stress.

Swimming with a current of lies is exhausting and suffocating.

Alas, I want to be high on a mountain listening to the echoes of truth that tell the world…

I am not good! Help me! I’m drowning! I am dead inside! I am empty of feeling! Show me pain! I am a monster! I’m hopeless!

It is OK to not be OK.

Reach out.

Tell the grueling truth.

Help yourself.

Accept yourself.

Love yourself and all your unique quirks.

If you or someone you know needs help, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

The Crisis Text Line is looking for volunteers! If you’re interesting in becoming a Crisis Counselor, you can learn more information here.

Originally published: June 24, 2016
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home