We all know there are tricky questions in life. They are usually asked by kids because let’s face it, they have no filter! Then there are the people who actually ask you what you earn, maybe that’s normal for some people, but in Australia that’s a rude question. Then we have the everyday polite questions that anyone and everyone ask’s, like “how are you?” Mostly we just answer ‘good’, I mean the local barista has about 20 coffees to make besides yours and doesn’t actually want to know the in’s and out’s of whether you are ok! Well unless maybe you fancy one another. It is the polite thing to do, it is part of chit chat, we ask it as we pass someone in the hallway, or run into someone we kind of know at the gym, grocery store, or at school drop off.
Usually when we ask it is just out of habit. It is the socially acceptable thing to do, it is polite. Occasionally though someone is really asking ‘How Are You?” They actually want to know! They have called you up to specifically ask, or have organised to get together with you because they are really interested in how you are feeling.
Now please know that I think this is great, this is the right thing to do, friends should ask, and I love them for loving me enough to ask, so please if you are worried about a friend, sibling, child, co-worker, ASK and let them know you really want to be sure that they are ok, that you truly do care! This is just me purely expressing my own issue right now, so know this does not reflect anyone else’s thoughts.
My problem with the question is I don’t know how I am! I am actually finding this the most difficult question to answer right now. My feelings and thoughts, and my up’s and down’s seem to change with the wind, I can wake up ok, and then cry in the shower and feel like a complete wreck. I can sail through the day, and the want to hide in my room from the world and I don’t even know why. I can drive my kids to activities, and even get a coffee with a friend and then the next day I am so afraid to leave the house, and scared of running into someone because they might ask me ‘how I am‘. I can’t seem to commit to any plans because I am not sure on the day I will be OK to cope, yet I am scared to say no to people because I don’t want them to take it personally. One day I can be out and about and finally feeling like I am getting on top of my mental illness and the next day I can not answer the phone.
I love that I have people who care about me, I am truly so blessed, but I am afraid of letting them, (and myself) down, or God forbid offending them! I just can not seem to predict how I will cope each day, or what each morning will bring, and when people ask me ‘how I am‘, I just don’t know what to say! I feel so confused by my feelings and behaviours, and this anxiety, and I am such a mixture of things right now. I am OK, but I am also not OK at all, I am strong, a fighter, but I am also falling apart and putting myself back together each day. I am a mess, I want to cry, I want to hide, but I keep fighting and showing up as much as I can. I am a work in progress and in many ways I guess that can be said for all of us.
I don’t want to sound selfish, I know, truly I do, how lucky I am that I have people who ask me, I just wish I knew how to answer. I mostly still politely say ‘I’m good“, truth is I am not good, but I am working on it. So until I get there please understand if I don’t pick up the phone, or if I can’t commit to going somewhere. If you know someone suffering anxiety, please keep checking in on them, trust me, we need that, we appreciate it more than you know, but we are also a little afraid right now, and a little fragile. Don’t give up on us though.
Thank you for listening, and reading this today, and also for the lovely messages, support and encouragement you have shown me recently, every message and comment is read and does not go unnoticed. I truly appreciate you all! Love, Mac xx
If you are struggling with your emotions, behaviour, mental health, or feeling like you are not coping please seek professional advice, and find at least one person you can trust to talk honestly and openly with. If you are a friend, or carer of someone who is struggling remember to look after yourself also, there are many great websites like beyond blue that can offer advice.