Updated: Jan 13, 2020
“How are you doing?”
Seems like a logical, forthcoming question.
Easy enough to answer, For most people, it is. For the mentally ill it’s a choice, a tough one at that,
You can reach deep inside to work up the courage to lie through your teeth. “I’m doing just fine!” And in desperation you quickly ask how they are to which they will reply that they are well and begin to tell you why they are fine or the “except for” (dreaded),. This is the story of their sister getting bit by a dog or their husband getting laid off, or the passing of their grandmother.
We try very hard not to show our eyes glazing over or going blank. It’s not that we don’t care, but we don’t, Not right now, we are taking everything step by step, trying anything to get better. Hearing your woes are inconsequential to what we are going through.
For us nothing really matters, pain is ever present, and time moves in a “turtlish” way.
For us bedtime is the goal, “if I can just make it to bedtime,,,”
We live on medications with all sorts if side effects that we’ve learned to tolerate. Our memory is bad, we forget your name, we dread you seeing us so fat, we hope we won’t break down during the interaction. We will rush it with another lie, Because somewhere in our head we are drooling in a corner, or imagining how we can kill ourselves, or we are at the mercy of our memories, all those dreaded things that got us here,
We have talk therapy that helps, but it feels like each session draws another horrible challenge like “tell your mother why you don’t talk to your brother” or “go volunteer”. So many more than that, Things that are supposed to help you get better.
So the alternative is to be truthful when asked, “How are you doing?”
“I feel pretty shitty today, been riding a wave of memories that won’t leave me alone.”
“I feel numb”
“I feel petrified talking to you”
Not really a viable choice, if you ask me anyways. Although I would love to do it one day, just vomit the whole thing out, I wonder if it would be a pathway to freedom? Maybe.
Right now you’ll just have to take the answer “I’m ok, how are you?”